Siren Run: Silencing the Sundown Siren

By Marty G Meeden 

Folks from Nevada and California gathered together in Minden Park, NV over Memorial Day weekend for the Siren Run to show unity and continued spirit to silence one of the last sundown sirens in the US.

A sundown siren was used in communities across the US to give people of color (primarily African Americans) an evening warning to get out of the town limits before sunset or face repercussions like arrest, verbal abuse, possible physical assaults and other extreme measures. The Minden siren was used to get the Washoe Indians, the original inhabitants of the Carson Valley, out of town. The Washoe would become refugees in their own homeland!

The 2023 SIren Run was the third annual event to bring awareness of the original intent of the siren.The event also consisted of a run from Genoa to the upslopes of the Sierra Nevada. As of press time NV Senate Bill 391 is sitting on the governor’s desk for his signature. If he signs it, a loophole in the 2021 legislation that was meant to silence the siren will be closed and the Town of Minden (Douglas County) will face a $40,000 fine for each infraction.

Photos: Marty Meeden

Optional Run and Fundraiser for Washoe Youth

The event was followed by an optional trail run/hike and a fundraiser for Washoe youth, which we are still accepting donations for.

If you weren’t able to attend but are interested in helping us with fundraising for The Washoe Cultural and Outdoor Expedition Program and the Dresslerville Red Bear Youth Council of the Washoe Tribe, you can donate here.

Donations are tax deductible and 100% of the money raised will go to these Washoe youth programs.

Photos: Misty Stevens

Learn more about the history of the Minden Siren

Click below to listen to The Sum of Us podcast on the efforts to silence one of our country’s last sundown sirens.

In 1921, the small town of Minden, Nevada began sounding a “sundown siren” that warned Indigenous people to leave the city limits or face violent consequences. Over a hundred years later, the alarm still blares daily. Why? It depends on who you ask. In a town full of historic markers, there’s nothing about the Indigenous history; local officials now say the siren is a tribute to first responders. Marty Meeden, a descendent of the local Washoe Tribe, had fought to end this traumatic daily reminder to no avail—until he met a pair of unlikely allies: a passionate white bicyclist and a teenage all-star runner. Together, they are working to silence the sundown siren forever, and show how remembering our history can help us all heal.

Click below to listen. 

Read past articles about the Minden Siren published by Adventure Sports Journal here.