Nevada Day parade protest
October 25, 2002
The planned Washoe protest at the Nevada Day Parade today will be peaceful, organizers say, although security has been beefed up.
“We are not planning to riot or hurt anybody,” said Steve Wyatt, who heads the Affiliated Obsidian Nation (AON), a faction of the Carson Valley Washoe Tribe.
“The paranoia is extremely high, but we chose the parade so we have a forum.
“We are people, too. And speaking out on the reservation has gotten us nowhere.”
The theme of the 64th annual parade is “Nevada is Indian Territory.” Tribal leaders from the Washoe, Northern and Southern Paiute and Shoshone were asked to serve as grand marshals.
The AON asked the Nevada Day Parade Committee to reconsider its decision to have Brian Wallace, chairman of the Washoe Tribal Council, represent them. Wallace has been accused of mismanagement of tribal funds. He was recently elected for his fourth term as chairman, but there have been at least four letters of complaint filed with the tribe because of suspected election fraud.
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The AON asked the Carson City Council to review the matter, as well as the Lyon County Commissioners, but they refused. Carson City Mayor Ray Masayko said the AON can exercise its First Amendment rights D as long as it doesn’t interfere with the parade.
“We would not review any action,” he said. “The committee has a long history of success. It is their event and they know what they are doing.”
Virginia Nuvum, president of the Nevada Day Parade committee, said she is just hoping for good weather and a lot of good activities. She said the local sheriff’s department is planning to increase security and she trusts they will handle any disturbances to the parade.
Executive Director Sherrada James of the Nevada Indian Commission said they don’t get involved with tribal politics.
“We try to build a better relationship between tribes and local governments,” she said. Protestors “are just not adding to that outcome.”
Wyatt said he not is not sure how many people plan to protest due to fear of being ostracized on the reservation.
“There is an element of risk,” he said. “But we put our welfare in the hands of fate.”