Newspaper Archive of
Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
April 3, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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April 3, 1997

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18qTFdNdi,!Ap'ri1,3, 1997abrump Valley C, azette, on the street... g  Tq the Mc Veigh trial last? And does all the media coverage have an adverse effect on it? Salt Lake City Nanaimo, BC Pahrump Alaska Temecula, CA 482-301 6 No to Abuse 751 -111 8 Tonopah 24 Hr. Crisis Line Pahrump Nevada- then and now Cultural and Historical Legacy of Cave Rock by Phillip 1. Earl Nevada Historical Society n Thursday, March 20, the staff of the Nevada Historical Society will be hosting a public lecture on "The Cultural Legacy of Cave Rock" by Dr. Warren d'Azevedo, professor emeritus of anthropology, University of Nevada, Rent. This program is being staged in conjunction with the current exhibition in the ChangingGallery of the Society's Museum, 1650 North Virginia Street, and Rent. "The People: A History of the Native Americans of Nevada Through Photogra- phy." The lecture begins at 7 p.m. and is free to the public. For fur- ther information, call the Nevada Historical Society at (702) 688- 1191. The cultural legacy of Cave Rock, a scenic feature located on the east shore of Lake Tahoe, is a current issue since officials of the U.S. Forest Service closed the formation to rock climbing a few weeks ago in deference to the cultural and religious sensi- bilities of the Washoe Tribe, for whom this pyramid-shaped out- crop is a sacred site. Rock climb- ers, organized through The Ac- cess Fund, believe they have the right to make recreational use of Cave Rock since it is public property and are planning legal action. Known in Washoe as "Wadapush De'ek," (Standing Rock) Cave Rock was one of the first features noted by Euro-American explorers in the 1840's/From the Washoes, according to Euro-American folklore, they learned 0fthe ancient enemies of lake basin peoples once imprisoned in a cave there who died in a rising flood. Cave Rock, in Washoe mythology, is also believed to be inhabited by the Metsunge, "waterbabies," the guardians of all the streams, rivers and lakes of western Nevada whose wrath could bring on disease, death and natural disasters. Persons of special powers adopted the Metsunge as their guardian spirits, however, and visited the site from time to time to commune with them. Euro-Americans, never particularly respectful of native traditions, have always found Cave Rock to be something of a communications and transporta- tion impediment. In December 1862, the Nevada Territorial Leg- islature authorized the construc- tion of the Lake Bigler Toll Road which involved a 100-foot trestle bridge set upon hand-hewn gran- ite buttresses taking wagon traffic around the western edge of Cave Rock. Shortly after the turn of the century, automobilists began to use this route between California and Nevada and plans were for- mulated for the first tunnel, a bore twenty-six feet wide, eighteen feet, six inches high and 164 feet in length. Nevada Construction Company of Fallon got the con- tract and the first auto traffic passed through on September 19, 1931. Twenty-five years later, July 1956, work on a second tunnel began. The new thoroughfare oPened on October 16, 1957. Members of the Washoe Tribe had serious misgivings about this desecration of Cave Rock, but were powerless to oppose the construction of the tunnels. Today, in an era of greater sensitivity to minority concerns, the Washoes hope to permanently protect this sacred symbol of their cultural heritage from further harm and misuse. If the fate of Cave Rock is an issue which interests you, join us on Thursday.