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.


Latest Canada & World News

  • Parkland teens keep gun-control grown-ups at arm's length

    World News CTV News
    Before the shooting had even stopped, teenagers hiding at their Florida high school were talking about gun control. Within days, they had launched a crusade against gun violence -- one that will result in a nationwide series of protests Saturday. Source
  • Koreas to hold high-level talks next week to set up summit

    World News CTV News
    SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of -- The rival Koreas have agreed to hold high-level talks next week to prepare for an April summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Source
  • Trump order would ban most transgender troops from serving

    World News CTV News
    PALM BEACH, Fla. -- U.S. President Donald Trump released an order Friday night banning most transgender troops from serving in the military except under "limited circumstances," following up on his calls last year to ban transgender individuals from serving. Source
  • FBI seeks motive for fiery van crash at California air base

    World News CTV News
    ROSEVILLE, Calif. -- A 51-year-old man drove a flaming minivan loaded with propane tanks and gasoline cans through the main gate of a major Northern California Air Force base, authorities said Friday, but said the driver had no known links to terrorism. Source
  • Teen injured in Maryland school shooting dies

    World News CBC News
    A 16-year-old girl critically shot on Tuesday by a fellow student at a Maryland high school has died, authorities said. The girl, Jaelynn Willey, died late Thursday surrounded by her family, the St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office said in a statement on Friday. Source
  • Calgary has run out of room to store all that snow

    Canada News CBC News
    After one of the snowiest winters Calgary in recent years, its finally happened. The city has literally run out of places to put the snow. The director of Calgary Roads, Troy McLeod, said there's pretty much no room left at the city's three snow dumps. Source
  • Dozens line up to adopt animals abandoned at Edmonton pet store

    Canada News CBC News
    Animal lovers in Edmonton lined up for hours Friday at the Edmonton Humane Society for a chance to adopt a pet from nearly 500 cats, dogs, fish, reptiles and even spiders. "We're a family that loves dogs so we thought we'd help them out," said John Grady, who with his son Jackson met the dog that will become the latest member of their family. Source
  • McGill bans bottled water from vending machines on campus

    Canada News CTV News
    Students at McGill University soon won’t be able to buy bottled water from vending machines as the university rolls out a campus-wide ban. The step, which falls in line with World Water Day, will eliminate the sale of about 85,000 water bottles each year. Source
  • No charges after Ohio deputy shoots news photographer, mistaking camera for gun

    World News CTV News
    SPRINGFIELD, Ohio -- Investigators say no charges will be filed against an Ohio sheriff's deputy who shot a news photographer setting up to photograph a traffic stop. Clark County Deputy Jacob Shaw said he mistook photographer Andrew Grimm's camera for a gun when he shot him twice, once in the side and once in the shoulder, last year in New Carlisle, about 60 miles (97 kilometres) west of Columbus. Source
  • Alberta premier calls B.C. complaints about high gas prices environmental hypocrisy

    Canada News CBC News
    Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says if British Columbia wants to keep gasoline prices low it should stop opposing the Kinder Morgan oil pipeline expansion. B.C. Premier John Horgan said Thursday he would like to see the federal government step in to deal with high gas prices. Source