Stating that the Indigenous Americans have been having a hard time of it essentially since Europeans arrived on the shining shores of the “new world” is simply an understatement so large that we could all fall into this pit of despair and never find our way out. For those of you who want to know more, I will be including numerous links at the end of this article for you to add to your knowledge.
The Burns Paiute Tribe has been in the news recently due to the armed militia taking control of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge under the guise of “taking it back”. When America was settled, land was taken from the original inhabitants, most often through killing and resettlement. This was true of the land where the wildlife refuge now stands. The Burns Paiute Tribe has been granted use rights to this land (since it was theirs to begin with) and considers the land to be sacred. Sacred land is not to be desecrated by bulldozing or by taking ancient artifacts. Yet both these events have occurred by the occupying force. Charlotte Rodrique, spokeswoman for the Tribal Council, along with Birders, town members, including the mayor, and other ranchers have asked the government to remove the armed militia from the fragile refuge. So far their pleas have been ignored.
While occupying the Refuge building, there has been destruction of both the land, and ancient artifacts. According to news reports there are thousands of artifacts as well as over 300 recorded prehistoric sites scattered over the refuge. There are maps depicting where these sites are in the buildings which are being occupied. As many people know, there is a large market for artifacts in the art/history world. Now the militia has unlimited access to one tribes heritage. These artifacts and maps are protected by the 1979 Archeological Resources Protections Act as well as other federal laws. Obviously the tribe is concerned, and have requested that federal charges against the militia be filed. Most disconcerting of all is this quote from Ryan Bundy who is involved with this militia.
“We also recognize that the Native Americans had the claim to the land, but they lost that claim,” Bundy said. “There are things to learn from cultures of the past, but the current culture is the most important.” http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/01/15/1470295/-Ammon-Bundy-Native-Americans-have-lost-their-claim-to-the-Land?detail=email
This all being said, how would you feel if the land that you have allowed the U.S. government to oversee had been taken over by an armed militia that has not only destroyed some of the fragile environment by creating a new access road with bulldozers, but now has access to your sacred artifacts? Please look at the links that I’ve provided below and let me know your thoughts and comments. I will be continuing the discussion on Wednesday.
Information on Treatment of the Indigenous Tribes in the U.S.
Information on the Malheur National Refuge
Information on the Burns Paiute Tribe
Information on the desecration and destruction caused by the Militia