Washingtonia filifera palm tree Moapa ancient native W. filifera palms in Nevada Washingtonia palm without petioles


Nevada's only Wild Palm Groves
may be targets for removal!
No One acknowledging Paiute Testimony
confirming Traditional Palm uses!

11 Quick - Facts

#1) -"The American Western Fan Palm" ( proper name: Washingtonia filifera ) grows wild in a Warm-winter micro-climate of Southern Nevada called "Moapa".

#2) - Speculation that Spaniards may have imported these palms is unsupported and illogical since Spaniards never settled the area.

#3) - An early white man: Mendis Cooper came to Moapa in 1893 (from Mesa Arizona)and planted 9 palms in a straight line in Overton where they still stand to this day. These are 45 miles south of the largest Palm Oasis at Warm Springs. Cooper has been officially credited with importing These palms to the area simply because it was incorrectly presumed Palms were extant in Mesa in 1893 as they are today.

However, Four Researchers from the U of AZ have shown that palms did not exist in or around Mesa or Phoenix UNTIL several years AFTER COOPER had already died (1903) and at least 13 years AFTER he had left Mesa. Cooper could NOT have obtained his palms in Mesa or Phoenix! Ample information exists however which suggests he obtained his after his arrival in Moapa.
(PLEASE NOTE: This does NOT mean W. filifera are NOT NATIVE TO Phoenix surrounding area. In fact they ARE since the location (Type Locality) where the palm was originally discovered by science was Just north of Phoenix. We refer here to plantings by early settlers in street plantings of Phoenix and Mesa. There are KNOWN areas (riparian DESERT areas) where this palm exists naturally around Phoenix, South, North, East and West of the area.)

#4) - Corroborating this, 4 Local Moapa Tribal elders have signed statements describing how their grandparents used these palms traditionally until such practices died in the early 1920's. The cessation of this tradition coincides with reports of massive removals of Palms in Moapa Warm Springs in the mid 1920's when workers restructured water channels of the upper Muddy at Warm Springs for flood control.

The Moapa people possess deep bedrock mortars handed down through generations used specifically for soaking & grinding palm fruit just as their linguistic cousins, the Cahuilla of Palm Springs California had done for centuries.

#5) - Moapa state: The "Palms have ALWAYS existed in Moapa, according to our grandparents" in the early 1900's. Their grandparents were contemporaries of Cooper, however Cooper did not live near Moapa, rather he lived in Overton, 40 miles distant. Their Grandparents did not mislead them regarding the most prominent plants of what they considered their most sacred areas!

#6) - Agencies relying on the Cooper anecdote and no other substantiating data now consider removing the Palms from Natural area springs. They have so far not appeared to be willing discuss this or to include or consider Moapa testimony regarding the Palms. They are however, ready to prematurely permanently condemn the Palms based on the unsupportable idea that they were introduced to the area by Whites.

#7) - No scientific evidence supports the claim that Mendis Cooper introduced this species to the local flora. No current research includes detailed riparian comparisons with plants in recognized native Palm groves. None considers or includes Moapa testimony. None rigorously compares climate data between Moapa and officially "native" groves in colder zones. None have noted that other native groves are just as distant from Castle Creek AZ, (The type locality of the species...) as are the nearest officially recognized native groves - from Moapa. Groves numbering from a single palm, to numerous Palms dot the Colorado rivers path at flood protected warm springs and in close proximity to Petroglyphs all the way from within Lake Mead boundaries to Officially recognized Native groves, effectively connecting all the groves to other groves by distances not exceeding 35 or 40 miles.

#8) - Interestingly Cooper NEVER CLAIMED he brought the palms from Phoenix area. This speculation came about by late comers who assumed that the palms were imported from Phoenix because these palms are ubiquitous in Phoenix proper today! Although this palm was plentiful in natural springs of Arizona, Nevada and California with heaviest concentrations well north of the Mexican border it was NOT planted as a rule by early settlers who preferred cottonwood trees.

#9) - Officially the palm is considered native less than 150 miles away in other isolated pockets. One reason for this is that it is likely a "relict" species which has been limited to warm springs habitat during the drying of the environment over the last 18,000 years. If it was more widespread at one time ( as fossils suggest,) it was reduced to pockets of isolated stands as the climate dried. Some have challenged these fossil leaf remains as being the remains of Sabal palms. However Sabalinae are costapalmate palms and these fossil remains are palmate, just as Washingtonia are. Furthermore, Washingtonii are the only existing native palms in the Southwest U.S.

- All known Aboriginal groups using this palm are RELATED to the Moapas linguistically.

#10) - Are Agencies planning to remove these palms basing their actions on ignorance? You be the judge. Obtainable Native American Testimony has been IGNORED for over 100 years in favor of a local white anecdote!

#11) - ALL PALM GROVES IN NEVADA ARE CURRENTLY THREATENED by MAN. Numbering between 2,000 and 3,000 PALMS, they easily represent 10 percent of the ENTIRE REMAINING WILD Desert Fan Palm population! This is NOT a palm from Mexico - although a close -almost identical genetic variant- called: robusta (taller, thinner and more sensitive to frost) is found exclusively naturally in Mexico -not the USA. The clear original location of this genus however and the most ancient locus is well into North American Western deserts covering areas from Oregon to Canada and Wyoming down to Arizona. This is a true Desert Native plant which exists naturally and anciently in Desert Riparian areas of the North American West.

They have already BULLDOZED or CUT hundreds of Palms and Hundreds more are slated for removal SOON.

This message is urgent because first hand knowledge of the Native Moapa people will be lost forever with the last of those Elders who still have first hand memories of Palm Uses! One of those Four who gave testimony has now passed over to the spirit world this year as well as At least one aged White settler who corroborated this testimony. These testimonies must be acknowledged now while there is still time! All remaining first hand memories could be lost in the blink of an eye! We can't let this happen!


You may use the E-mail Link below to voice your opinion:

[you may also cut and paste the letter typed in RED below if you wish.]

To E-Mail Fish and Wildlife to VOICE your opinion to GO ahead or NOT, Click Here

IF YOU OBJECT, You may Cut and Paste the following objection into your e-mail:

I would like to make my voice heard regarding the removal of Palms at Moapa Warm Springs and other locations in Clark county.

I object to the use of Taxpayer dollars to remove Washingtonia filifera Palms from the area of Warm Springs Dace Habitat in the name of public safety or Dace habitat restoration. We request that the research regarding this matter be thoroughly re-visited and re-documented with full attention given to the alternate findings which have been uncovered and long held by long time area residents including the Native American Moapa and others. We insist that a full review of the matter include the alternate information which has so FAR been over-looked or dismissed. We demand a full public accounting and that those removing palms be held responsible for proving their actions are 100% warranted with regards to the impact on the areas history and cultural legacy. We insist that the Fish and WildLife and Nevada Fish and Game and Lake Mead National Recreation area discontinue it's campaign to dismiss these possibilities by deliberately publicly referring to this this palm as a Non-native nuisance and by Listing this Palm as an introduction without verifiable proof, substantial evidence or scientifically sound and unbiased basis for doing so. We insist that agencies involved err on the side of Caution with an eye to history and cultural importance of this area and to seriously consider the possibility that this Palm IS in fact, the natural habitat for the Dace.
Sincerely: - your name -

Links to all the Reports:
Specific Articles about Moapas Palms:

Rebuttals to Articles regarding W. filifera:

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