western-shoshone

Most of Barrick’s mining operations in northern Nevada exist within what was the traditional territory of the Western Shoshone people.

While ownership of nearly all of this traditional territory now resides with the United States government, Barrick has committed to ensuring that the Western Shoshone tribes and bands that are located near our operations realize long-term benefits from the development of mineral resources on these lands. For this reason, Barrick entered into a “Collaborative Agreement” with a group of Western Shoshone Tribes and Bands.  The Collaborative Agreement is aimed at maintaining regular, ongoing engagement between Barrick and these Western Shoshone communities and sharing a spectrum of benefits derived from Barrick’s operations with this important stakeholder group. 

Collaborative Agreement

The Collaborative Agreement between Barrick and the leaders of four Western Shoshone Tribes (Duckwater, Ely, Yomba and Duck Valley) was signed in 2008. The South Fork and Wells Bands of the Te-Moak Tribe subsequently signed in 2011, the Elko Band signed in 2012, and the Te-Moak Tribe signed in 2013. While the Battle Mountain Band has not yet signed the Agreement, this community is included in virtually all of the Western Shoshone programs that Barrick implements or supports. All of the signatories agreed to an Update of the Agreement, which was finalized in 2014.

The Collaborative Agreement establishes a common vision of long-term engagement and collaboration between Barrick and the eight Western Shoshone communities near Barrick’s Nevada operations. Under the Agreement, Barrick shares benefits with these communities through support of socio-economic development programs that benefit community members. The Agreement does not require signatory tribes and bands to give up their rights to challenge or oppose any of Barrick’s current or proposed mining operations. Additionally, the Collaborative Agreement does not give Barrick any rights to exploration, development or operation of mineral deposits or mines, or access related to these activities. Barrick does not conduct any activities on tribally owned lands in Nevada.

Ongoing Engagement

Barrick maintains a program of frequent engagement with the eight Western Shoshone communities in its area of influence. This includes formal quarterly dialogue meetings hosted by one of the tribes or bands; these are open meetings that include council members and general community members from Western Shoshone communities, and Barrick staff, including senior company management. Barrick Community Relations staff also engage informally with the eight Western Shoshone communities on a frequent basis. This includes attendance at open council meetings to provide updates and discuss concerns or interests, meetings with council leadership, meetings with managers of and beneficiaries of tribal programs that Barrick supports, participation in and attendance at community programs and functions, working with Western Shoshone scholarship recipients and other tribal activities.

Western Shoshone Scholarship Foundation

The Collaborative Agreement established the Western Shoshone Scholarship Foundation, a registered non-profit foundation funded by regular donations derived from Barrick’s Nevada operations. The foundation currently has assets of over $6.4 million and funds higher-education scholarships for a large number of Western Shoshone students who attend universities, colleges and vocational schools throughout the United States. The Foundation has granted nearly $2.8 million for over 1,250 scholarships since it was established and will continue to assist future generations of Western Shoshone achieve their educational goals.

Western Shoshone Cultural Advisory Group (WSCAG)

Under the Collaborative Agreement, Western Shoshone communities and Barrick established a cultural advisory group to provide input on exploration and mining projects and operations. The WSCAG is composed of elders and cultural leaders of the eight Western Shoshone communities and meets bi-monthly. This group also acts as another forum for shared understanding between Barrick management and the Western Shoshone. As part of its work, the WSCAG has developed a Western Shoshone Cultural Awareness Training module and a program to provide this training to Barrick senior management and to Barrick supervisors, superintendents and managers at our mine sites in Nevada.  In 2016, Barrick worked with the WSCAG and Tribal Councils to develop a plan for development of a Western Shoshone Cultural Center in Elko on the property of the Elko Band of the Te-Moak Tribe.  Agreement on this plan was reached with all eight Western Shoshone partner communities, and a Board of Trustees was being formed at year-end. 

Community Development Initiatives

Barrick supports a broad range of community development initiatives benefiting Western Shoshone communities, including programs focused on education, health, family welfare and economic advancement.

Educational programs include summer youth employment programs for tribal youth, computer equipment, library facilities, after-school programs that include tutoring and mentoring, supplementary nutrition, family counseling on educational opportunities, internship programs for scholarship recipients, youth leadership events, and support for educational infrastructure in the communities.

Health initiatives focus on diabetes, nutrition, elder care, sports, exercise and recreation.
Family welfare support has included programs aimed at child welfare, seniors, domestic violence, substance abuse and community healing.

Economic development initiatives include business management mentoring and consulting for tribal businesses, community comprehensive planning, upgrading of tribal infrastructure including tribal buildings, housing, roads, water systems, communications and internet access, and the development of additional infrastructure.

Barrick supports traditional cultural activities undertaken by the eight partner communities, including Pow Wows, Fandangos and other traditional practices.  Cultural support also includes Shoshone language programs within the communities. 

Barrick partnered with the Friends of the British Council in 2014 to bring their internationally recognized Active Citizens program to its Western Shoshone partner communities.  Developed internationally by the British Council, the UK’s cultural relations organization, the program teaches participants leadership and project management skills, empowering them to build trust and understanding and spearhead sustainable development in their communities.  To date, the program has trained 370 members of Barrick’s Western Shoshone partner communities.

Shoshone Youth Language Apprenticeship Program (SYLAP)

Barrick provided the impetus for the establishment, and continues to provide support for the operation, of a ground-breaking program for language revitalization in Western Shoshone communities, known as the Shoshone Youth Language Apprenticeship Program (SYLAP), implemented through the University of Utah’s Shoshone Language Project (http://shoshoniproject.utah.edu/).

This program brings high school–aged youth from Western Shoshone communities to the university every summer for a six-week residency program of language instruction and related cultural activities. In addition, the youth work with university staff to create Shoshone language resources such as children’s books illustrating traditional stories in the Shoshone language, a talking dictionary, a Shoshone language video game, and short videos telling traditional stories in Shoshone. These resources are made available to Western Shoshone communities for their use in community-level language and cultural programs. SYLAP staff also provide teacher training for those teaching Shoshone in the communities.

The SYLAP program was awarded the 2013 William Demmert Cultural Freedom Award by the National Indian Education Association for the accomplishments of the program since its formalization in 2009.  In late 2016 plans were finalized to move the youth language program to Elko to make it more practical for community members to assist with, and contribute to, the program. 

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