Peter d'Errico: Armed White men invade tribal territory in Oregon

Bald eagles at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. Photo by Steve Shunk / Facebook

Retired professor Peter d'Errico explores how history is repeating itself with an armed takeover at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, a federal facility that was originally promised to the ancestors of the Burns Paiute Tribe:
Armed white men seizing the headquarters of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon on January 2, 2016, were repeating a history longer than anyone has yet noted.

The occupation of Malheur connects to the 15th century Papal Bulls sanctioning "Christian Discovery." An historical line from Christian Discovery runs through colonial invasion of the New World, continues across the continent in the name of United States Manifest Destiny, and culminates in the seizure of all Indian lands as "public lands" (subject to "reservations" held in "trust" for the displaced Indians).

The Malheur invaders say they want to put control of public lands in the hands of ranchers and local governments. They call these lands "ours." But the Malheur occupation echoes earlier invasions of the same lands, whereby the original inhabitants—the Northern Paiute—were displaced.

The Burns Paiute Reservation—about 13,000 acres—constitutes the last vestige of Indian control of the region. Their ancestral lands included over 52 thousand square miles—more than 33 million acres.

Get the Story:
Peter d'Errico: Malheur: Armed Invasion of Indian Lands (Indian Country Today 1/8)

More Opinions:
Editorial: Ironies come into focus in standoff (The Corvallis Gazette Times 1/8)
Ken Runningcrane-Real: Response is different against whites (The Corvallis Gazette Times 1/7)
Erika Bsumek: Oregon standoff mirrors westward expansion (Al Jazeera America 1/7)
Will Doolittle: When an illegitimate claim reveals a legitimate one (The Glen Falls Post-Star 1/7)

Related Stories:
House Democrats call for armed group to leave refuge in Oregon (1/7)
Charlotte Rodrique: Land rightfully belongs to Burns Paiute Tribe (1/7)
Burns Paiute Tribe tells armed group to leave ancestral territory (1/7)
Burns Paiute Tribe not happy with armed group on ancestral land (1/6)
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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