Burns Paiute Tries To End Free Passage of Occupiers
The Burns Paiute Tribe has stepped up their requests for the Federal government to stop the occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. Calling Ammon Bundy, and the group identifying themselves as the Citizens For Constitutional Freedom, “armed militants,” they have asked the Justice Department to prevent the group from freely moving around the county.
In a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch and FBI Director James Comey, Tribal Chair Charlotte Roderique called on the U.S. Government to secure the headquarters property and to prosecute the occupiers.
“Law enforcement continues to allow the armed militants to come and go from the Refuge as they please,” wrote Chair Roderique “Allowing the militants free passage to and from the Refuge must stop.”
Expressing grave concerns over their tribal artifacts, Tribal representatives requested prosecutors seek criminal penalties for anyone that steals or harms tribal cultural resources. However, they do not specify if those requests include consequences for the damage and lack of care by the Bureau of Land Management, in whose care the artifacts remained for numerous years.
Roughly 4,000 artifacts were found to be stored in cardboard boxes and placed in damp, cold basements. Left on shelves and covered in rodent droppings, Redoubt News saw the poor condition in which the artifacts were kept. It is of concern that no one appears to have checked on these cultural treasures in several years. Some of the boxes were dated from the 1980’s and gave every appearance of neglect for decades.
The Burns Paiute Tribe’s ancestors signed a treaty with the Federal Government in 1868. Under the terms of the treaty, the government guaranteed it would protect the safety and property of the Northern Paiute people. However, the treaty was never ratified by Congress. Regardless of how the Burns Paiute Tribe see it, they do not actually have a treaty with the Federal Government.
Bundy and his group have reached out to the Burns Paiute Tribe on multiple occasions in an effort to reunite the Tribe with their artifacts. Each time has received a rebuke from Tribal Chair Charlotte Roderique.