Some 200 Indigenous people and supporters recently marched to the home of John Nady, a millionaire who is desecrating Rattlesnake Island, the spiritual center of the Elem community of Southeastern Pomo.
John Nady, who invented the wireless microphones used by many A-list musicians, purchased the island eight years ago for a reported $2.5 million. Since then, Nady has been pushing to build two so-called “sustainable vacation homes” on the island.
Located a few hundred feet offshore from the Elem Indian Colony, on the eastern side of Clear Lake, California, Rattlesnake Island has been a center of Pomo traditional life for at least 6,000 years. It is the site of burial grounds, ceremonial grounds and an historic village site. It’s also home to many different plants, birds and animals that continue to be utilized by the Pomo.
However, since 1877, the island has been handled as private property; the result of a supposed ‘clerical error’ that excluded it from Elem trust lands. From that point on, the deed to Rattlesnake Island changed hands several times before finally landing in Nady’s pocket.
Things started looking up in 2010, when the Lake County Planning Commission unanimously rejected Nady’s building plan, concluding that it would have a significant environmental impact on the island. The commission formally requested that an Environmental Impact Report be carried out, focusing on cultural and archeological resources in the area, before construction proceeds.
However, the Commission reversed its decision earlier this year in a controversial 3-2 vote granting Nady permission to build both homes without an Environmental Impact Report. Nady began construction work on one of the homes in late November.
During last weeks demonstration, the protesters took part in several group march and rally chants, sending a clear message that John Nady needs to stop what he’s doing and leave Rattlesnake Island alone.
To learn more about the struggle to protect Rattlesnake Island, visit https://www.facebook.com/ProtectRattlesnakeIsland
What You Can Do To Help
1. Please consider a donation to help cover costs of legal measures to STOP construction and development on Rattlesnake Island. This would really help! Checks can be made out to: Friends of Rattlesnake Island and sent to P.O. Box 1185, Lakeport, CA 95453.
2. Send a letter to the Lake County Board of Supervisors expressing your objection to the decision to permit grading and construction without full EIR. Click here to send to the Lake County Board of Supervisors.
3. File a Complaint with the County of Lake. Click here for a sample letter.
4. Visit and “like” the Protect Rattlesnake Island page on Facebook.
Indigenous Peoples are putting their bodies on the line and it's our responsibility to make sure you know why. That takes time, expertise and resources - and we're up against a constant tide of misinformation and distorted coverage. By supporting IC you're empowering the kind of journalism we need, at the moment we need it most.