Oregon Indian tribe leader says occupying militia is not welcome

BURNS, Ore. -- A leader of the Oregon Indian tribe whose ancestral property is being occupied by an armed group opposed to federal land policy said Wednesday that the group is not welcome and needs to leave.

See Full Article

"The protesters have no right to this land. It belongs to the native people who live here," Charlotte Rodrique told reporters at the tribe's cultural centre.

Rodrique, who is tribal chair for the Burns Paiute, said the tribe is concerned cultural artifacts could be damaged and accused the group of "desecrating one of our sacred sites."

"Armed protesters don't belong here," she said.

The group seized buildings at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon's high desert country on Saturday. Authorities had not yet moved to remove the group of roughly 20 people.

Rodrique said the area was a wintering ground for the Paiute people prior to the coming of settlers, ranchers and trappers. She said the tribe signed a treaty in 1868 with the federal government, and though the U.S. Senate never approved it, she expected the government to honour the agreement to protect their interests.

The group occupying a remote national wildlife preserve in Oregon has said repeatedly that local people should control federal lands.

Leader Ammon Bundy told reporters Tuesday that the group would leave when there was a plan in place to turn over federal lands to locals -- a common refrain in a decades-long fight over public lands in the West.

"It is our goal to get the logger back to logging, the rancher back to ranching," said the son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who was involved in a high-profile 2014 standoff with the government over grazing rights.

Rodrique said she "had to laugh" at that statement, because she knew Bundy wasn't talking about giving the land back to the tribe.

"We have no sympathy for those who are trying to take the land from its rightful owners," she said.

Arizona rancher LaVoy Finicum, one of the group members, said Tuesday evening that he believes federal officials have issued warrants for the arrest of five group members -- including himself and Ammon Bundy -- but Finicum offered no details.

The FBI in Portland referred calls to the Harney County Joint Information Center, which said in a statement that it had no information on arrests or arrest warrants and that authorities were "still working on a peaceful resolution."

Bundy said group members would take a defensive position anticipating a possible raid. Late Tuesday, they moved a large plow vehicle to block the refuge's driveway.

The younger Bundy's anti-government group is critical of federal land stewardship. But environmentalists and others say U.S. officials should keep control for the broadest possible benefit to business, recreation and the environment.

Randy Eardley, a Bureau of Land Management spokesman, said the group's call for land ownership transfer didn't make sense.

"It is frustrating when I hear the demand that we return the land to the people, because it is in the people's hand -- the people own it," Eardley said. "Everybody in the United States owns that land. ... We manage it the best we can for its owners, the people, and whether it's for recreating, for grazing, for energy and mineral development."

The federal government controls about half of all land in the West, which would make the wholesale transfer of ownership extremely difficult and expensive.

For example, it owns 53 per cent of Oregon, 85 per cent of Nevada and 66 per cent of Utah, according to the Congressional Research Service. Taking over federal public lands in Idaho could cost the state $111 million a year, according to a University of Idaho study.

Bundy said the group felt it had the support of the local community. But the county sheriff has told the group to go home, and many locals don't want them around, fearing they may bring trouble. A community meeting was scheduled for later Wednesday.

The group calling itself Citizens for constitutional Freedom said it wants an inquiry into whether the government is forcing ranchers off their land after Dwight Hammond and his son, Steven, reported back to prison Monday.

The Hammonds, who have distanced themselves from the group, were convicted of arson three years ago and served no more than a year. A judge later ruled that the terms fell short of minimum sentences requiring them to serve about four more years.

Such land disputes date back decades in the West. In the 1970s, Nevada and other states pushed for local control in what was known as the Sagebrush Rebellion. Supporters wanted more land for cattle grazing, mining and timber harvesting.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Oakland warehouse missing from fire-inspection records: firefighter

    World News CTV News
    SAN FRANCISCO -- The illegally occupied Oakland warehouse where dozens of partygoers perished in a blaze does not appear in a database fire inspectors use to schedule inspections and may never have been checked for fire hazards, a firefighter with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press. Source
  • Large crowds to celebrate South Korean president's impeachment

    World News CTV News
    SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of -- Large crowds are expected to gather in South Korea's capital to celebrate the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye over an explosive corruption scandal that saw millions protest in previous weeks. Source
  • Rudy Giuliani removes himself from State Department consideration

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani formally withdrew from consideration for a post in President-elect Donald Trump's administration Friday, putting an end to his ill-fated bid to lead the State Department. Trump is now seriously considering Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson for the post. Source
  • Kevin O'Leary may announce intentions on Tory leadership run Monday: Sources

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Kevin O'Leary is expected to announce his intentions on his bid for the federal Conservative leadership on Monday, sources confirm. The 62-year-old businessman-turned-reality-star is expected to tell Conservative members of parliament during a meeting he's hosting over the lunch hour. Source
  • 'I made a mistake': Victim of 1982 attack that killed mom says the wrong man is in prison

    World News Toronto Sun
    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A woman assaulted as a girl during a 1982 sexual attack that killed her mother says she was coerced into identifying the wrong man as the assailant and is asking Missouri’s governor to free that person who has spent 34 years in prison for the crimes. Source
  • Montreal Hudson's Bay store fined $765K for pollutants in St. Lawrence River

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL -- The Bay store in downtown Montreal was fined $765,000 for illegally releasing pollutants into the St. Lawrence River, the Public Prosecution Service of Canada said Friday. But Nathalie Houle of the federal government's public prosecution office was unable to confirm a Montreal La Presse report the fine was imposed after roughly 146 kilograms of PCBs from old transformers on the building's roof leaked into a drain and into the river. Source
  • Trump shut companies tied to Saudi Arabia days after election

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Corporate registrations in Delaware show that President-elect Donald Trump shut down some of his companies in the days after the election, including four companies that appeared connected to a possible Saudi Arabia business venture. Source
  • Official: Refrigerator ruled out as source of Oakland fire

    World News CTV News
    OAKLAND, Calif. -- A refrigerator was ruled out as the cause of a fire at a warehouse in Oakland that killed 36 people, but investigators were still looking at electrical systems as possible ignition sources, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said Friday. Source
  • Florida man shoots ex-wife 4 times in chest at karaoke bar: Cops

    World News Toronto Sun
    Police in Florida say a man shot his ex-wife four times during an argument at an Orlando karaoke bar early Friday morning. Tu Quoc Ho, 43, was arrested and charged with attempted second-degree murder with a firearm, aggravated battery with a firearm, tampering with evidence and domestic violence battery, Orlando News 6 reports. Source
  • Giuliani won't be in cabinet as Trump makes campaign-style stops

    World News CBC News
    Appearing jovial and relaxed, Donald Trump plunged back into election politics Friday, a full month after he won the presidency, enthusiastically prodding Louisiana Republicans to turn out for Saturday's Senate runoff election and protect the party's 52-48 margin in Washington. Source