This story was originally published by High Country News and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
“Is it green energy if it’s impacting cultural traditional sites?”
Yakama Nation Tribal Councilman Jeremy Takala sounded weary. For five years, tribal leaders and staff have been fighting a renewable energy development that could permanently destroy tribal cultural property. “This area, it’s irreplaceable.”
The privately owned land, outside Goldendale, Washington, is called Pushpum, or “mother of roots,” a first foods seed bank. The Yakama people have treaty-protected gathering rights there. One wind turbine-studded ridge, Juniper Point, is the proposed site of a pumped hydro storage facility. But to build it, Boston-based Rye Development would have to carve up Pushpum — and the Yakama Nation lacks a realistic way to stop it.
Back in October 2008, unbeknownst to Takala, Scott Tillman, CEO of Golden Northwest Alum... Read more