Oregon: Northern Paiute Tribe Condemns Wildlife Refuge Occupation

January 07, 2016
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And in Oregon, the Northern Paiute tribe has condemned the ongoing occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by white right-wing militia members. On Saturday, a self-styled right-wing antigovernment militia calling itself the Citizens for Constitutional Freedom took over the wildlife refuge in support of two ranchers sentenced to prison for setting fires that burned federal land. Leaders of the occupation include Ammon and Ryan Bundy, the sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who refused to pay decades’ worth of cattle grazing fees, prompting a standoff with federal rangers in 2014 in Nevada. The militia has called for the wildlife refuge land to be "returned to them." But leaders of the Northern Paiute tribe said that if the land of the wildlife reserve in Oregon should be returned to anyone, it should be returned to the tribe. The tribe has rights to the land under a treaty signed by the U.S. government more than a century ago. On Wednesday, tribal council member Jarvis Kennedy contrasted the federal government’s treatment of the armed militia members with the violent, forced removal of the Northern Paiute more than a century earlier.

Jarvis Kennedy: "My name is Jarvis Kennedy, Burns Paiute tribal councilman. I’ve got a question for the world out there, because all the eyes are on this little tribe here. What if it was a bunch of natives that went out there and overtook that or any federal land? We weren’t removed; we were killed and ran off our land, marched in snow out there hundreds of miles to forts. When they finally let us go, we didn’t have no place to go. Our land was already taken. They gave us 10 acres at the city dump. Think about that."

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