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Burns Paiute Tribe might seek to reopen judgment for stolen lands

The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon was carved out of a reservation originally set aside for the ancestors of the Burns Paiute Tribe. Photo from Facebook

Some members of the Burns Paiute Tribe in Oregon want the federal government to take another look at a land claim judgment they received for the taking of 1.78 million acres.

President Ulysses S. Grant created the Malheur Reservation by executive order in 1872. But the government forced the tribe's ancestors to Washington following the Bannock War in 1878.

When the Northern Paiute people finally returned to Oregon, the land was gone. The tribe eventually went to the Indian Claims Commission and 850 members received just $743.20 in 1969 to resolve the taking of the original reservation, The Oregonian reported.

"I figured, maybe this is a good time to raise the issue one last time," tribal member Fred Townsend told the paper, referring to the controversy over the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by anti-government protesters. The refuge was carved out of land promised to the tribe.

The tribe now lives on a much-smaller reservation of about 800 acres and its members own more than 11,000 acres of allotments.

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Burns Paiutes to Ammon Bundy: You're not the victim (The Oregonian 2/7)

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