Blumenauer and Burns Pauites Blast Malheur Mob
It’s been almost week now that an unruly gang of right wing extremists from as far away as Texas grabbed their guns and broke into the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon, threatening to kill anyone who tried to interrupt their illegal takeover.
The reaction to this attempt at a revolt against the American people’s democratic management of public lands has been overwhelmingly negative, and the little militant mob at Malheur has found itself increasingly isolated, becoming the objects of derision for their political extremism and violent intolerance.
Yesterday, Oregon’s Congressman Earl Blumenauer pointed out that the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was created because of the abuses by selfish land grabbers like Ammon Bundy, who tried to rip every last resource of out western lands, regardless of the consequences. “With the odd drama playing out in Oregon where armed thugs have taken over a Federal wildlife facility,” Bluemenauer said, “it is important to reflect on what the wildlife refuge system is all about. If these people had any argument with the President, it was with President Roosevelt, who 108 years ago established the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge as a response to protect natural resources.”
It’s not as if the bungling Bundy brothers have a broad concern for land rights. Rather, their concern is only for people like themselves. When they talk about “The People”, they have no regard for the overall citizenry of the United States, who have elected governments to establish and manage the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge for generations. When the Bundy brothers and their followers talk about “The People”, they are only referring to gun-loving European-American right wingers like themselves.
Referring to this limited perspective of what it means to be an American, Representative Blumenauer observed, “This
mind-set from the 1800s that there were endless, wide-open spaces, where people could do what they wished, when they wished, where they wished, is tinged with regret and tragedy. We took away the land from Native Americans that our government had given to them in solemn treaty, ratified by Congress.”
The Burns Paiute tribe, which lived on the land that is now the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge until ranchers of the likes of Ammon Bundy violently forced them off it, are joining other residents of Burns, Oregon in demanding that the Bundy Brothers militant gang stop their occupation of the refuge.
“The protesters have no right to this land. It belongs to the native people who live here,” says tribal leader Charlotte Rodrique. Jarvis Kennedy, another member of the tribal council, told reporters at a press conference that “We don’t need these guys here. They need to go home and get out of here.” Then, he asked people to consider, “”What if it was a bunch of Natives that went out there and overtook that or any federal lands? What would the outcome be?”
Bill Sallinger writes, “This should be a call to action for all stakeholders to invest deeply in the Malheur effort to fully protect this natural heritage for future generations. Everybody should remember that the Burn-Paiute are the true first people of Malheur. Malheur represents a true opportunity to bring diverse constituencies together, but that opportunity is fragile… The truth is that the occupiers are serving nobody’s interests but their own.”