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Washoe tribal chairman asks officials to silence Minden siren

Kurt Hildebrand / khildebrand@recordcourier.com
The chairman of the Washoe Tribe is asking that a siren that sounds twice a day in Minden be silenced.
Kurt Hildebrand / Record Courier

The Washoe Tribe is seeking to silence the Minden siren, citing it as a symbol of the town’s sundowner past.

In a letter to Douglas County and the Town of Minden, Tribal Chairman Serrell Smokey asked that the county remove the siren.

“This is an issue that seems to have been long forgotten,” he said. “As the current leader of the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California, it is my duty to continue to search for solutions to issues that affect my people.”

Smokey said the request was an attempt to resolve “years of underlying racism and historical trauma in our town.”

Smokey said he’s asking for more than just the silencing of the siren.

“My request is that we all recognize this piece of history in the area which we all love so much,” he said. “History should be recognized not buried. If we choose not to remember this history, we are bound to repeat it.”

Smokey said the tribe’s elders recounted that not leaving town when the siren went off would result in Washoe being beaten.

Retired East Fork Fire Chief and Minden Town Board member Bill Driscoll argued against shutting off the siren in a social media post he submitted to The Record-Courier on Monday.

“To me the sound of the Minden Siren is a proud tribute to the hundreds of volunteer firefighters that have served Douglas County over the years,” he said. “The siren, like many others that existed around the county, served as a means of notifying our volunteer firefighters to leave their place of work to respond to an emergency in the community.”

The siren sounds daily at noon and 6 p.m.


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