The Paiute tribe has something to say to the the armed right wing Bundy-led militia who seized a federal building near Burns, Oregon: Get out.
Approximately 420 members gathered on the Paiute reservation to discuss their concerns about the militia’s presence. According to the Huffington Post, on the doors of the meeting center were signs warning people not to bring firearms inside.
The leader of the Oregon Indian tribe whose ancestral property is being occupied by the armed anti-government group led by Ammon Bundy, says the militants aren’t welcome and need to leave.
The Seattle Post Intelligencer reports:
Burns Paiute Tribal Chair Charlotte Rodrique told reporters Wednesday that the tribe is concerned about damage to cultural artifacts. She says the group is “desecrating one of our sacred sites.”
The activists seized buildings at the remote Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday. Authorities had not yet moved to oust the group of roughly 20 people.
Rodrique said the Paiute people spent winters in the area before settlers, ranchers and trappers arrived.
She says the tribe signed a federal treaty in 1868 and expected the government to honor the agreement to protect their interests though the U.S. Senate never approved it.
“We as a tribe view that this is still our land no matter who’s living on it,” Rodrique said.
“We feel strongly because we have had a good working relationship with the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge,” she said. “We view them as a protector of our cultural rights in that area.”
Watch courtesy of The Oregonian:
She’s not the only one.
“They just need to get the hell out of here,” said Jarvis Kennedy, a member of the tribal council. “They didn’t ask anybody, we don’t want them here…our little kids are sitting at home when they should be in school.”
“I wonder if it was bunch of natives that went out there and overtook that, or any federal land,” Kennedy said. “Would they let us come into town and get supplies and re-up?”
“As a Native, if we were to go out there and fight back like they are, we would have been dead by now,” said Carla Teeman, a social services assistant at the tribe.
“They are desecrating one of our sacred traditional cultural properties,” said Charlotte Rodrique, the tribal chair. “They are endangering our children and the safety of our community.”
We’re trying to keep count here. The townspeople do not want the armed group there. The sheriff doesn’t want them there. The Paiute tribe does not want them there.
There’s only one Republican who has publicly supported the anti-government group.
And that Republican stands alone. The family at the center of the dispute do not want them there either. Schools and businesses have closed due to their presence. The Bureau of Land Management closed, too.
The town is populated with only 2,728 residents and their lives and businesses have been disrupted.
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