Malheur Wildlife Refuge Remains Northern Paiute Nation Territory
On January 2, 2016, a group of white ranchers who are part of what has been called “the Sage Brush Rebellion” began an armed occupation of lands designated as “the Malheur Wildlife Refuge,” outside Burns, Oregon. The protestors disagree with the idea that the lands in the area are “federal lands,” and a number of them decided to carry guns in an effort to back their point. Yesterday, twenty five days into the protest, there was an exchange of gunfire some distance from the wildlife refuge.
A spokesperson for the protestors, LaVoy Finicum, was killed and another man was wounded. Although protest leader Ammon Bundy and seven other protestors were arrested, other protestors are maintaining the protest. This article is an effort to put the protest into a little known historical context regarding the Northern Paiute Nation and the legislation by which the U.S. Congress created a territorial government for the Oregon Territory.