Paiute leaderwants armed group to leave
burns, ore. » The leader of an American Indian tribe that regards an Oregon nature preserve as sacred issued a rebuke Wednesday to the armed menwho are occupying the property, saying they are not welcome at the snowy bird sanctuary and must leave.
The Burns Paiute tribe was the latest group to speak out against the men, who have taken several buildings at the preserve to protest policies governing the use of federal land in the West.
“The protesters have no right to this land. It belongs to the native people who live here,” tribal leader Charlotte Rodrique said.
She spoke at a news conference at the tribe’s cultural center, about a half- hour drive fromMalheurNationalWildlife Refuge, which is being occupied by some 20 men led by Ammon Bundy, whose father Cliven was at the center of a standoff in Nevada with federal officials in 2014 over use of public lands.
Ammon Bundy is demanding that the refuge be handed over to locals.
Rodrique said she “had to laugh” at the demand, because she knew Bundy was not talking about giving the land to the tribe.
The 13,700- acre Burns Paiute Reservation is north of the remote town of Burns in Oregon sagebrush country.
The reservation is separate from the wildlife refuge, but tribal members consider it part of their ancestral land.