The leadership of the Burns Paiute Tribe, a Native American tribe that once occupiedthe Malheur National Wildlife refuge, called on the militant protesters to go home on Wednesday.
“They just need to get the hell out of here,” Jarvis Kennedy, a member of the tribal council, said at a press conference, as reported by Oregon Live.
“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,” Kennedy continued, referring to school closures that have resulted from the armed protest.
The Burns Paiute Tribe is a federally recognised tribe that is native to Harney County, Oregon. They have their own language, and archaeological evidence suggests that they’d inhabited Oregon for up to 6,000 years before being pushed out by the US government in the 1870s.
“The protesters have no claim to this land; it belongs to the native peoples who continue to live here,” tribal chairwoman Charlotte Roderique said, as noted by KTVB. “The Malheur refuge is an important place for us. We have no sympathy for those who are trying to take their land from its rightful owners.”
Indeed the Malheur refuge is home to culturally important sites to the Burns Paiute tribe. For their part, the Burns Paiute tribe would rather have the US government preserving their ancient cultural sites than the amred Oregon militants.
“We feel strongly because we have had a good working relationship with the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge,” said Rodrique. “We view them as a protector of our cultural rights in that area.”
The Burns Paiute tribe joins a growing list of people who disapprove of the militant’s occupation of federal property. Earlier this week, the Sheriff of Harney County told the protesters to “Go home.“
Even the Hammonds, the family whose imprisonment the militants claim to be protesting, have expressed that they do not agree with the occupation. The protesters have since cited other reasons for their actions, including state’s rights advocacy and a “mission from God“.
However the protesters show no sign of backing down, despite public outcry. Initially, the group commented that they were prepared to occupy the land for “years and years” and use deadly force against those that would try to remove them.
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