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Tribe condemns refuge occupation

‘Get the hell out of here’

After welcoming media members to a press conference on Wednesday, Jan. 6, Burns Paiute Tribal Chair Charlotte Roderique stated the Burns Paiute Tribe does not condone the armed protest at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

“Armed protesters don’t belong here,” Roderique said. “By their actions, they are desecrating one of our sacred traditional cultural properties. They are endangering our children, and the safety of our community, and they need to leave.”

Roderique stated the Burns Paiute Tribe are federally-recognized tribe, whose ancestral territory includes the area managed as the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, and added the tribe has not ceded any of its rights in the area.

Roderique explained the Burns Paiute Tribe signed a treaty with the federal government in 1868, but the treaty was never ratified by Congress. Both parties however, acted in reliance on the treaty, and the U.S. government guaranteed it would protect the safety and property of the Northern Paiute people.

Burns Paiute Tribal Chair Charlotte Roderique said that armed protesters don’t belong on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, and they’re desecrating one of the tribe’s sacred traditional cultural properties. (Photo by RANDY PARKS)
Burns Paiute Tribal Chair Charlotte Roderique said that armed protesters don’t belong on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, and they’re desecrating one of the tribe’s sacred traditional cultural properties. (Photo by RANDY PARKS)

“The protesters have no claim to this land,” Roderique said. “It belongs to the Native people who live here.”

Roderique said the Burns Paiute Tribe has a good working relationship with the refuge management, and they look at them as the protector of cultural sites in that area.

“For them (the protesters) to say they’re going to give it back to the rightful owners, I had to laugh” Roderique said. “I figured I better write an acceptance letter for when they give it back to us.”

Roderique stated she and other tribal members don’t feel oppressed by the government, and she wouldn’t dignify the group at the refuge by meeting with them.

Roderique said the people at the refuge are outsiders who don’t understand the community. She said they have called for the government to relinquish management of public lands, yet ranchers in the area receive drought and grazing subsidies, as well as other money from the government.

Tribal Council Member Jarvis Kennedy was blunt in his opinion of the situation.

“They just need to get the hell out of here. We didn’t ask them here. We don’t want them here. We, as Harney County residents, don’t need some clown to come in here and stand up for us,” Kennedy said.“They say they don’t want to bother the community, but you know what? Our little kids are sitting at home right now when they should be at school.”

When asked if she was happy with law enforcement’s response to the situation, Roderique answered, “Yes, so far.”

Randy Parks
Editor Randy was born in Iowa, and spent most of his life growing up in the Hawkeye State. After a few years in college, he settled in Idaho for a decade, skiing, golfing, and working at Sun Valley Resort. He married in 1985, completed broadcast school, and moved to Harney County in 1989 to work for KZZR. After 16 years of on-air work, he left the radio station and went to work for the Burns Times-Herald.

4 thoughts on “Tribe condemns refuge occupation

  1. Charlotte Roderique: May the force be with you woman! I am one of many friends of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge who have visited and been enriched by the wonderful experience of re-connecting with nature in such a natural setting and welcoming environment. I have been impressed by how naturalists, ranchers, bird lovers, teachers, school children, the Paiute Tribe, and yes, people who are entrusted to care and manage this precious environment, can all get along and peacefully co-exist. I am appalled and mortified that these cowboy yahoos can just move in and occupy Malheur with no apparent consequence. My heart is broken to see refuge workers being followed, harassed and threatened with the community living in divisiveness and fear. My question is this: If these militants aren’t welcome there, and everyone wants them to leave, why are they still there?? From what I have seen there hasn’t been any response from law enforcement. Charlotte, no one has a better right than you to express your anger and frustration on behalf of you tribe, and I stand with you: “They just need to get the hell out of there”!
    Jane Cox
    Central Point, OR

  2. FBI’s Bretzing Won’t Admit And Announce His Responsibility To Arrest Law Breaker Ammon Bundy And His Armed Gang Of Thieves And Terrorists.

    Special Agent in Charge of the Oregon FBI, Gregory T. Bretzing is following his colleague, Special Agent in Charge of the Nevada FBI, Larua A. Bucheit , down a very, very dangerous path. Bucheit abandoned her responsibility to arrest armed, white, Mormon, male Cliven Bundy for failure to pay one million dollars in federal grazing fees. Would her “equal justice under the law” behavior have been different if her target was an unarmed, dark skinned woman who was a Muslim or an atheist? Her cowardice in the line of duty inspired Cliven Bundy’s sons to lead an armed invasion to capture the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Bretzing, a Mormon himself, has refused for almost two weeks of occupation to publicly take personal responsibility as the primary law enforcement decision maker or take any action to do his duty to expel and arrest the armed, white, Mormon, male Bundy brothers and their coconspirators.

    The audacious Ammon Bundy is so confident that Bretzing is afraid to arrest him that he is planning a town hall meeting to present his exit plan in Burns, Oregon on Friday January 15th at 7 PM. Bretzing has indicated that he will NOT announce NOR admit that he has any intention of arresting Ammon Bundy on Friday night or any time in the future. This is a very dangerous game.

    If Bretzing allows Bundy and his gang to come armed to a public gathering in Burns, where the anger of local residents rises every day, then the chances of collateral damage to innocent bystanders during any confrontation is very high.

    If Bretzing allows Bundy and his gang to come to a public gathering in Burns and does not arrest them on sight then whatever credibility and respect he and the FBI had to that moment, which wasn’t very much, will be gone.

    It’s time for Special Agent in Charge of the Oregon FBI, Gregory T. Bretzing to put up or shut up.

    If and when the Bundy bunch leaves the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Bretzing must arrest them.

    If the Bundy’s illegal occupying force does not leave the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to travel to Burns on Friday January 15th for a 7 PM public event then Bretzing must do the following on Friday January 15th at 7 PM:
    1. Order the power to be cut off to the office and visitor center of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
    2. Order a block on all electronic communication in and around the office and visitor center of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
    3. Order the closing of access in to and out of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

    In the event that Special Agent in Charge of the Oregon FBI, Gregory T. Bretzing takes none of these actions by 7 PM on January 15th it will constitute a clear abdication of his responsibility to enforce the laws of the land. His inaction and dereliction of duty would be a disgrace to his badge and the Oregon FBI. His superiors should dismiss him immediately.

    The necessary resolution of the armed takeover of federal property by dislodging the criminal occupants and arresting them becomes the burden of the governor of the state of Oregon, Kate Brown. It is then incumbent upon governor Brown to bring the resources under her command, namely, the state police and the Oregon National Guard, to take immediate action. Governor Brown must not allow Oregon to become an attractant and showcase in which criminals and terrorists may freely perform without fear of any consequences. Governor Brown must not allow Oregon to grow a reputation as a haven for hoodlums and outlaws.

    The consequences of armed robbery on private or public property in Oregon and America can be prison or death. Our political, judicial and law enforcement establishments have the legitimate, legal, moral authority, indeed, a duty, to protect persons and property from those who brandish weapons to steal what belongs to others. 

    The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge belongs to me and every other American. We want it back. NOW.

    Ammon Bundy and his belligerent bandits are both common criminals and domestic terrorists and must be treated accordingly.

    Richard Ellmyer
    Portland, Oregon
    Oregonian. American. Voter.
    Co-owner of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and all other property owned by the state of Oregon and the federal government of the United States of America.
    Author, The Ellmyer Report, a political report, analysis and commentary distributed to more the a quarter of a million reader/voters in Oregon as well as the local, state and national Press.

  3. They are not bandits. The government is the bandit. Always has been. Stopping whining and let the rest of the cats out of the bag about Harney County. The corruption goes much much deeper than what you are finding out now about its internal government. If you condone the constitutional violations committed against the Hammonds, then you Sir, need to do your homework.

  4. Seems like we have a lot of special interests as many people work at the refuge and for the BLM in Harney County.. The BLM and federal government are great if you are getting handout and anyone who fears that the free stuff might end could very well say “get the hell out”..

    In reality ranchers everywhere are suffering under the thugs that are the BLM.. Native american ranchers in Nevada have been driven off their historical lands, fined, had cows seized etc. When does it stop?

    A government that does not follow the constitution does not represent me.. They act more like armed thugs and rule by intimidation and force.. Hard to tell who the good guys are in these situations.!

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