Armed Anti-Government Protesters Take over Federal Land in Oregon Once Occupied by the Paiute

Oregon Public Broadcasting photo

Oregon Public Broadcasting photo

Published January 3, 2016

BURNS, OREGON — A group of armed anti-government militia members took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters on Saturday afternoon, January 3, 2016, in a remote area in eastern Oregon in Harney County, which is about five hours outside of Portland, Oregon.

The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is located on acreage that was set aside for the several Paiute tribes that covered 1,778,560 acres of reservation land, which included Castle Rock, Strawberry Butte, the Silvies River, Malheur Lake and the North and South Forks of the Malheur River within its boundaries.

The Burns Paiute Tribe is located some 35 miles north of the wildlife refuge.

One of the members of the militia group is Ammon Bundy, who is the son of Nevada rancher, Cliven Bundy, who led a month-long standoff with the Bureau of Land Management in Nevada in 2014.

“The main reason we’re here is because we need a place to stand,” said Ammon Bundy to Oregon Public Broadcasting. “We stand in defense. And when the time is right we will begin to defend the people of Harney County in using the land and the resources.”

The protesters, who are all Caucasian, call themselves patriots. Others are calling them terrorists.

Overnight people on social media have expressed the dismay of that more force has not been used to remove the protesters. Several commented if the protesters were African American or Muslim, they would have already been removed and likely have been killed.

Bundy asked other militia to join them on his Facebook page.

Given yesterday was part of New Year holiday weekend, there were no federal employees working when the wildlife refuge was occupied by the militia members.

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