It probably wasn’t the tweet most people expected to see out of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge where a group of armed men have been holed up since Saturday. The leader of an armed group occupying a national wildlife refuge to protest federal land management policies said he and his followers are not ready to leave even though the sheriff and many locals say the group has overstayed its welcome. “I didn’t come to argue”, Ward said, and Bundy replied neither had he.
Bundy has told reporters they will leave when there’s a plan in place to turn over federal lands to locals. Neither protesters nor authorities have said how many people are involved in the occupation. Rodrique says that the protesters are desecrating sacred land and endangering the community. The group, led by Ammon Bundy, declined Sheriff David Ward’s request during a meeting Thursday, but the sheriff planned to talk with the group again Friday.
The council represents the Burns Paiute Indian tribe, which traces its ancestry to Native peoples occupying the land that is now the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge as long as 15,000 years ago. The group’s leader, Ammon Bundy, is the son of an OR rancher who, in 2014, led a standoff after his cattle were seized for failure to pay grazing fees.
“So I think that does show that there’s an inconsistency in the way they police black bodies, and it has everything to do with race”.
Participants came from as far away as Arizona and Michigan.Bundy came to Burns to rally support for two local ranchers who were sentenced to prison on arson charges. “They can take your land and do whatever they want and it’s not right”, said Linda Guillen, 67, a retired nurse living in Winston. The argument is rejected by those who say the US government is better equipped to manage public lands for all those who want to make use of them. A judge ruled in October that their prior terms for the arson – three months for the father and one year for the son – were too short under federal law.
In October, a court decided that the Hammonds hadn’t served enough time, citing that the minimum sentence for their offence should be five years. That treaty was never ratified by the Senate, but both the tribe and the government have acted as if it was, she says, adding that the document guarantees the feds will protect the safety of the Paiute people.
“This is meant to be a peaceful occupation”, Fincum said. An Oregon native tribe has some harsh words for the militia group that has taken over a wildlife refuge. “Dwight and Steven Hammond are being forced to report to prison today for a crime they did not commit”, Ammon Bundy, one of the leaders of the occupation, said Monday during a press conference.
“I’ve got my own frustrations, we’ve got visitors in town that have their frustrations, but there’s appropriate ways to work out our differences”, he said. Ward “is keeping all options open” the statement said.