Burns Paiute Tribe: Malheur Occupation May Disturb Artifacts

January 20, 2016 | By Garrett Montgomery More

A Burns Paiute Tribe and Malheur militants court battle is brewing as the Tribal Chairperson has asked the government to take action if any of the 4000 artifacts, maps, and samples kept in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge go missing or get damaged.

Burns Paiute Tribe Malheur

The Burns Paiute Tribe and the Malheur militants could be facing off in court soon. For several weeks now, a group of men and women being led by Ryan Bundy and Ammon Bundy under the name of Malheur militants have been occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Burns, Oregon.

The so-called Malheur militants/anti-government militia are an armed group of protesters angry over federal land policy, which they hope to get back to farmers and ranchers in the area. Lawmakers and police in Oregon have been avoiding any confrontation with the Malheur militants hoping they will get tired and leave the refuge on their own – thus far it is not happening.

This week, the leaders of the Burns Paiute Tribe, who are tired of having the land occupied by a group of Caucasian people, asked that legal actions be taken against them. In a letter to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Director Robyn Thorson, Tribal Chairperson Charlotte Rodrique also asked for greater protection for cultural resources that are stored at the refuge.

According to the letter, there are more than 4000 artifacts and maps to other prehistoric sites, which could fall into the hands of looters. The tribe is also requesting an inventory of archaeological resources at the refuge headquarters.

Rodrique said that she feels helpless knowing that her ancestors’ possessions and remains are now in the hands of the armed group fighting with the Obama administration for the land. In the letter to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regional, the tribe leader said:

“Armed protestors don’t belong here.They continue to desecrate one of our most important sacred sites.They should be held accountable. All I want is that our past be respected, that things don’t go by the wayside, that they’re not destroyed by cattle.”

The Burns Paiute Tribe are a federally-recognized Indian tribe, who inhabit southeast Oregon, southern Idaho, northern California, and Nevada with its headquarters in Burns, Oregon. The Burns Paiute Tribe’s ancestors signed a treaty with the federal government in 1868 where the Government guaranteed “it would protect the safety and property of the Northern Paiute people. The Government also committed to inflict punishment for any crime or injury [that] is perpetrated by any white man upon the Indians aforesaid … according to the Laws of the United States and the State of Oregon.”

Earlier this week, the Burns Paiute Tribal Council passed a resolution designating the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge as a “Traditional Cultural Property” under the National Historic Preservation Act. This is the first step towards greater cultural resources protection under the National Historic Preservation Act.

Meanwhile, Ryan Bundy, who claimed that God asked him to fight for the land, said that while he has seen and touched the artifacts, he has no interest in them. He told media outlets that they are willing to turn the objects to the tribe, but not the land. Bundy stated:

“We also recognize that the Native Americans had the claim to the land, but they lost that claim. There are things to learn from cultures of the past, but the current culture is the most important.”

What are your thoughts on the looming court battle?


Category: News

Comments (36)

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  1. Michael MacPherson says:

    What the problem is is really simple, politicians that run the government take huge amounts of money from gun manufacturers and the NRA,because we have legalized corruption in this country where government business is done through bribes and payoffs. The government and law enforcement are racists and are giving special treatment to these people. The occupiers have caused massive monetary damage to land paid for by the taxpayer’s and there will be damages at the wildlife refuge as well, and the government is just going to take millions of dollars from the taxpayer’s to replace anything that is broken and clean up the other damages. These people will walk away without paying for their damages and most likely with little or no jail time. This is the double standard government we have. The government has opened the door to any white armed psychotic sociopaths who want to do the same thing and this is not going to end well.

    • FukTheLeft says:

      And here we have a deluded welfare dependent piece of trash who appears to be living in a bubble. “Whitey so evil! Wah, wah!” Lol. You must be mentally slow. Speaking of causing millions in damages without suffering prison time, let’s look at Ferguson. Oh but they’re black, so they’re victims and their actions aren’t their responsibility. Wait, double standards you say? You’re an idiot and a hypocrite. That’s no surprise, you’re a Leftist. You’re literally incapable of critical thought. “Racists! Wah, wah, wah!” Lol. Worthless piece of societal trash…

      • justin julien says:

        No lefty here. I want them all to pay with regards to criminal protests activity. They need to be dealt with harshly and swiftly. Those folks would be walking out of there on foot within a week, arrested, disarmed and charged for their criminal acts. Same goes with the rioters in Ferguson, Chicago etc…..
        Some point to Waco as an example of why we shouldn’t take a hardline. I say since Waco we haven’t had one since because of the hard line we took there. Those folks at Waco were whackos and so are these dressup wannabe cowboys. Time to drop the hammer on them.

    • justin julien says:

      This protest isn’t about gun rights. These folks have every right to keep their guns until they are arrested and charged with crimes. It is their Second Amendment right.

    • justin julien says:

      This protest isn’t about gun rights. These folks have every right to keep their guns until they are arrested and charged with crimes. It is their Second Amendment right.

    • Don B says:

      Mr. MacPhereson, I’m not at all sure how your convoluted thinking or reasoning got you to this ” gun rights” item but it has no bearing at all what so ever to this current situation. NONE.

      I see no connection , between the Bundys and the act of domestic terrorism they have committed and your discussion of gun rights. As both a hunter and a veteran, and a responsible gun owner, it is situations like this one, that cause me to tell you the same thing I’ve said out loud to many people. With all of what has happened in the past ten years, and the mass killings, I can no longer see any reasonable debate for the 2 amendment in this country regarding the “right to keep and bear arms”. Semi-auto and fully automatic weapons have but one place to be or at: a war zone. Period. Thus, all of those types of weapons including those which can be modified should be banned. Just what exactly are you going to hunt with a automatic weapon? People? the you need to be in the military doing that job.

      good day to you sir.

  2. chey says:

    Why are the artifacts at a federal facility instead of a Paiute facility? This smacks of kissing Greet White Father’s butt. Again.

    • justin julien says:

      Last I heard the Paiute were American citizens so why shouldn’t they be held in a federal facility just like many other non Indian relics of the past are? Please respond. I can hardly wait to hear it.

      • Don B says:

        The artifacts are held there on that refuge nearest the point of discovery. what you and others fail to realize is this: Should Bundy and his lot hand off any part of what they have found, they’ll be found in violation of several things and some carry more Federal prison time than I care to think about. all you have to do is go to ebay or any one of a number of sources similar to that and you’ll see , directly , the cost that is associated with those same kinds of artifacts. The higher costs to us all is that once they are looted and sold off, we loose a key part or parts of history that we’re still un-covering. But according to Bundy, he doesn’t seem to think that the native American artifacts’ are that important. He’s about to find out how wrong he is. and then some.

  3. willyeundersand says:

    What i never understood is how some native american Indians and Irish both were oppressed by the gov and british empire and as im part Indian and Irish myself i realize what it means to the founders of the country and before this nation was a whole that freedom was and still is the most important part of any american life but should matter more to the Irish and Indian considering the abuse at the hands of the english empire to expand into the americas to rule like they did in the u.k why would you favor the gov why would you join sides with a gov that wanted your people to be moved from your land into a place where they saw fit for you to live and to my irish brothers why would you side with a gov that wanted you to fight and die for them for crumbs or even nothing at all the gov wanted to eradicate you both do you understand plz join the right side this time stand with your heads high and be proud to be a american if we as americans fought in the past for our rights than what has changed will you give up more of your right because the gov wants more land ?

  4. Lazaro Valdes says:

    Ryan and Ammon Bundy and the Malheur militants are terrorists and need to be dealt with as such. Rich white ranchers have been getting away with using Federal lands to graze their cattle without paying the required fees getting richer at the expense of the American people. Now these terrorist yahoos want to desecrate tribal lands, they are no better than ISIL.

    • Carlene Orr says:

      I don’t really understand the problem. Due these people owe for grazing rights? If so pay up just like on your taxes. If they are a true business then they get to deduct it on there taxes at the end of the year. Were they legally given this area to graze there cattle on? Is this tribal land if so why is the tribe not getting the grazing money? So many ? with no answers.

    • FukTheLeft says:

      The only terrorist I see is you. You need to be killed. You’re pathetic Leftist trash that advocates for the government killing those you disagree with. You need to murdered. You’re worthless to humanity, you dependent, no-good, lowly piece of societal trash. You’re a coward who’d never speak this way in person.

  5. Charles says:

    I personally feel sorry for your People . But this CORRUPT GOVERNMENT could care less about your People . This Government is made up of MURDERING TRASH…They act like their some kind of GOD or some other CROCK OF SHIT…But in all reality, their no better than common CRIMINALS..If I had a say,,they would all be gone and we would change the way this Country is run…To the right way…Not the Criminal way…

    • Don B says:

      Well I’m sure glad that you’re not part of my nation. If you don’t mind ranting to someone who cares what you show or think with your hate and your lack of smarts I’d certainly appreciate it. Thank you.

  6. Lucy Sommer says:

    The white governments of the US have a long, long history of screwing the American Indian for just about everything they have. They should leave The Burns Paiute Tribe and their artifacts alone!

    • Don B says:

      Just so you’re aware Ms. Sommers, I direct your attention to the following:American Antiquities Act of 1906
      16 USC 431-433


      Up until about 10 days ago , most people in the U.S. weren’t even aware of the Paiute nation. I’ve been aware of them for some time. And that area isn’t the only one they were in.

      Does Elko Nevada bring anything to mind to you?

      The BLM and the US fish and Wildlife Service have a particularly great working relationship with the Paiute nation as well as several others.

      Those agencies in and amongst others have been mandated , by law, to carry out preservation of all archeological sites and artifacts. Not just a few but ALL. Having worked with both agencies in this one aspect, they do a pretty damned good job at it.

  7. shannon gudgell says:

    If they can declare a federal park a native american hertiage land then as a citizen of the united states i declare the state of kentucky one large peice of land belonging to the gudgell family and demand it back

  8. Whittney says:

    After reading these posts, racism and bigotry are alive and well in this country.

    • Don B says:

      Not to mention a fundamental lack of knowledge as to how the justice system, let alone any other, actually do work in this nation. We’re not perfect and we don’t claim to be. But, I can’t think of anywhere else that has what we do. Can you?

      The lack of intelligence and the abyss of ignorance in this nation as to what happens in various regions is appalling.

      Certainly am glad that my tax payer dollars were not wasted on some peoples attempt at post secondary education.

  9. ray dougherty says:

    Some people need tostudy the history as this was not part of the land given to this group by the government at the time of the treaty. Of course I doubt facts matter to these people as this is about kissing the government’s ass. It is really annoying when Indians lump all white people together too. Such racism and all that does is divide people and create anger. It also does nothing to help the indigenous descendants as it makes us white people who had nothing to do with what happened in history dislike and have anger towards those directing such anger and hatred at us. I too am Irish and know our history well and our ancestors were taken as slaves and children stolen from families and sent on ships where some died and later enslaved. Who should I hate then….the ancestors of the slavemasters are the indigenous who direct hate and anger towards me today? Seems to me many of these indigenous people are tools of someone else and increasingly those who wish to enslave all of us through socialism and communism.

    • Rhonda says:

      well said sir.

    • Bri S. says:

      Sorry Ray but the basis of you rant is flawed. When using the term “white man” at the time of the treaty meant Europeans. All other races were not considered as man and that is why the treaty was using the term “white man”. As time progresses the understanding of the meaning must come in play. Thus if this treaty were to be written in present time instead of 1860’s the term “white man” instead would be “non-tribal member” or something to that effect. Thus by using the term “white man” she is being legally correct in her word use so that if the statement were to be held up in a court of law she would have factual proof that the treaty does say “white man”. It feels like you took the meaning literally because white men are at the Refuge.

  10. Kate says:

    Hi, reading about your U.S. Rep Walden, it seems as though he has a vested interest in not having the land returned to the federal government. Good or bad? Who does he have intimate contact with in the group of ruffians who have attempted to move onto Malheur and who claim it for themselves?

    This is from wiki from “Legislation sponsored”, needs further research: “Hermiston Reversionary Interest Release Act (H.R. 3366; 113th Congress) – a bill that would release the interest of the United States in some land currently being used for the Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Oregon.[15] This would enable the Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center to relocate without the land it is currently on being returned to the federal government.[16]”

    There must be a loophole in there somewhere that they are attempting to take advantage of.

  11. wilson dormevil says:

    The government duty is to protect all of us.”American” That is why we became Americans a mixed blend of people, .I want to suggest to the tribe to release to the government some of the land they are not capable of using or developing to help other Americans in needs instead of looking for war ,That is 21st century we need all the resources .You are not in India You are fully American ,Do your best to cooperate with your fellow “Americans” Remember The occupiers are fellow” Americans” too.

    • Bri S. says:

      Um . . . . You really need to learn your American history. Fist off they are not from India. The reason’s why Native Americans were also called Indians is because when Christopher Columbus arrived in the Bahamas he thought he had sailed around the world and reached India, thus the term Indians. Second off the Native American Tribes that are registered with the U.S. Federal Government own their land as sovereign nations within the United States. If you have ever traveled to or through one during daylight savings you’ll notice that the time on your mobile device changes because Tribes do not follow daylight savings. Lastly It is very ignorant and rude of you to suggest that the tribes give up more of their land when the rest of the American populous has already taken so much of their land without just compensation. Have you ever heard of the Trail of Tears? Or of any of the other injustices that have occurred to the Native Americans from old world immigrants? In some cases one could say that their treatment was worse than that of the Africans brought to the Americas for slavery. As for your war bit, where the hell did you come up with that?

  12. Juan Valdez says:

    In Brookfield Connecticut they should have had a petition to preserve the woods around Elbow Hill Road as well as around the road where Nimer’s is. The only thing I wake up to every day is people living in our woods where they don’t belong and everyone in Brookfield and New Milford is ok with destroying woods for power and profit like making more highways to waste tax payers money. Woods in New Milford and Brookfield Ct should have been preserved not destroyed to make more highways and build more houses that Brookfield didn’t need. Elbow Hill Road didn’t need another road like Kelley Road.

  13. Papa Smoke says:

    Of great interest to me is the fact that this “native group” has waited so long to complain. If they REALLY were concerned and upset about sacred grounds being desecrated, I suspect they would have said something a long time ago. The rhetoric plays into the agenda of our corrupt government so I am guessing the “tribe” is being paid off and manipulated.

    • justin julien says:

      I suspect they have said something. Take a look at some of the court rulings in the past 40 yrs. and you will see that the Indians have gone to court and won major legal victories as a result. Many have to do with the preservation of their native grounds, artifacts, burial sites, fishing and hunting rights to name a few. Right now they have a legal and valid claim that giving control of these lands to ranchers or other private interests will in fact cause desecration of their sacred grounds. These ranchers could learn a thing or two about civilized behavior from these Indians by taking their claims to court instead of resorting to criminal hooliganism.

    • Don B says:

      Papa are you from or in and around this area of Burns Oregon?

      If not then be so kind as to formulate some kind of reasonable debate issue as with that post, you’re lack of knowledge as to what the tribe is and what they are about is apparently lacking.

  14. tiki toko says:

    Anxiety has become a commodity . Outrage sets its value . Oh , sorry , I’ve nothing to give . I would not support your war anyway . Ooo , itsa cold out here … but I am content with an Indian fire . It only needs little sticks .

  15. Ted says:

    unfortunatly for this native American he and his band are addicted to the federal gooberment teats and he is not able to be a free man. I should like to see these native Americans suit up and go stand with others who wish to be free, it could end the stand off tomorrow if they could stand together today. “men should be able to live together without butchering one another” Josie Wales

    • justin julien says:

      Oh, and why should they do that Ted? What do you think that would do for them in supporting a bunch dressup wannabe cowboys and soldiers who ultimately got their land by driving them off 130 yrs. ago? You think after this little dust up is over these phoney cowpokes are going to share anything with the Indians for their trouble? I think not as history has shown repeatedly that any help Indians have given to white settlers have been repaid with scorn and further dislocation and enslavement of their people. The Indians are on the right side of this fight for once. They are standing with the people and not the individuals trying to take what never was theirs, what they tried to destroy in the past, and what they will destroy if they get their way. I find it humorous that you claim the Indians are on the govt. teat when if fact in the very beginning these ranchers through their ancestors got their beginnings handed to them free of charge by the govt. and through the years allowed virtually free use of the land even though market values of leases were many time higher. If anyone has been on the govt. teat it is these guys. In fact this Finicum character represents that in the starkest fashion. Maybe it is time to take back the ranch land and give it back to the Indians.

    • Don B says:

      Ted, they have suited up and stood with us. For quite some time. To Wit: code speakers, and other Native Americans have served in the US Marines as well as every branch of the military. The obvious dis-like of the ground on which you are now parked upon is sadly, deplorable. If you’re not happy here , then would you mind exiting my land? there are hundreds of thousands waiting to come here to do what WE have always done. Provide for a better life then what they had. You’re not even aware of the many First Nation based industries that are out there. Until sir, your lack of in depth thought is seriously ignorant.

  16. Bri S. says:

    As of the latest news involving the arresting of the 9 leaders of the militia I hope that the Paiute Tribe’s fears are not an actuality. Also that they will be able to verify the safety of their artifacts and that their cultural sites are undisturbed when the rest of the militia hopefully leaves soon. If there is any harm done to those artifacts (including missing) or cultural sites I hope that the militia people responsible are prosecuted to the full extent of the law. I imagine that this crime would be equivalent to the remains of King Tut being stolen from the British Museum for the Paiute Tribe.

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