Environment | National

Armed group willing to turn over artifacts to Burns Paiute Tribe

Burns Paiute Tribe Charlotte Rodrique speaks at a press conference on January 6, 2016. Photo from Facebook

A leader of the armed takeover at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon is willing to turn over artifacts at the site to the Burns Paiute Tribe, the Associated Press reported.

About 4,000 artifacts are housed at the refuge, the AP said. Many are connected to the Paiute people, whose ancestors lived there and were promised the land by a treaty that was never ratified.

"If the Native Americans want those, then we'd be delighted to give them to them," Ammon Bundy told the AP.

Tribal members still consider the refuge to be a part of their territory. They have asked Bundy and his follower to leave, citing concerns about sacred sites.

"Today, the Burns Paiute has a good relationship with the federal employees who work there: They have been a protector of our artifacts and history, which include petroglyphs and many natural resources that are culturally relevant to our needs," Chairwoman Charlotte Rodrique wrote in The New York Times earlier this month.

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4,000 artifacts stored at Oregon refuge held by armed group (AP 1/14)

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