Tribal member speaks out against deal over Minden siren

Protesters against the Minden siren engage in a round dance at Minden Park in May.

Protesters against the Minden siren engage in a round dance at Minden Park in May.


An agreement to change the time the Minden siren sounds was criticized late last week.

Washoe Tribal elder Ann James Big Goose said Chairman Serrell Smokey didn’t have the authority to make an agreement with Town Manager JD Frisby to change the time to sound the siren to 5 p.m.

Smokey and Frisby issued a joint statement on June 30 announcing the agreement.

Frisby said the two men had been talking since Smokey sent a letter to the town in August 2020 seeking to have the siren shut down.

Under the agreement Frisby changed the time the siren sounded to 5 p.m. from 6 p.m.

“The 5 p.m. siren will serve to acknowledge the volunteer firefighters and first responders who have been historically dispatched by the town siren,” the statement said. “Deleting the 6 p.m. siren will honor those hurt by archaic sundowner mandates of prior eras.”

Big Goose said Smokey took responsibility for the agreement on Friday and said he was going to take care of it.

She said that members had several questions about it on Friday.

“He has no authority,” she said. “Our tribal constitution says the tribal council is the governing body. The chairman only does what the council wants him to do.”

Big Goose said she opposes having the siren sound in the evening at all.

“Why is that siren so necessary when they know it hurts us?” she said. “Why do they insist on keeping it? Why have a siren to remind us that we’re still considered less than people?”

A new law targeting the siren signed by the governor on June 4 takes effect Oct. 1.


Sign in to comment