Law | National

Burns Paiute Tribe not happy with armed group on ancestral land

Dancers at a Burns Paiute Tribe powwow. Photo from Facebook

Leaders of the Burns Paiute Tribe of Oregon are speaking out against an armed group that is occupying a federal refuge near the reservation.

The land in and around the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was originally promised to the tribe by treaty. The federal government took all 1.78 million acres and the reservation now consists of less than 800 acres.

“There was never an agreement that we were giving up this land," Chairwoman Charlotte Rodrique told Reuters. "We were dragged out of here."

Selena Sam, a council member, expressed similar sentiments. A land claim against the government was eventually settled for pennies on the dollar, according to the tribe's website.

“I’m like, hold on a minute: If you want to get technical about it, the land belongs to the Paiute here,” Sam told Reuters of the group's claim that the government does not own the refuge.

The armed group at the refuge consists of about 20 people, according to local media reports. Participants include members of the Bundy family who have participated in other anti-government protests, including one in which ancestral tribal sites in Utah were damaged.

Get the Story:
Oregon native tribe uncomfortable with armed standoff over land rights (Reuters 1/6)
Oregon Tribe: Armed Group 'Desecrating' Their Land (AP 1/6)
Burns Paiute Tribe says armed activists 'desecrating' land (KATU 1/6)
Oregon militants: What you need to know Wednesday morning (The Oregonian 1/6)
Protesters in Oregon Seek to End Policy That Shaped West (The New York Times 1/6)
Life in the Sleepy Oregon County Where Armed Protesters Have Occupied a Wildlife Refuge (The New York Times 1/6)
Ryan Bundy Walks Back Remarks About Ending Occupation (Oregon Public Broadcasting 1/5)
Harney County Sheriff: Armed Occupiers Will Face Charges (Oregon Public Broadcasting 1/5)

An Opinion:
Justin P. McBraye: This Land Is Your Land. Or Is It? (The New York Times 1/5)

Related Stories:
Armed group wants more to join protest on ancestral Paiute land (1/5)
Armed group occupies wildlife refuge near reservation in Oregon (1/4)

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