A Tale of Two Standoffs
On a cold January afternoon in eastern Oregon, Ammon Bundy smiled from beneath his brown cowboy hat at a young, bespectacled reporter before explaining why he and his men had seized a federal building while armed with rifles. “The people need to be in control of their own land and not… have a people… three thousand miles away dictating how their own land works,” Bundy said. He was of course referring to the federal government, which controls and manages up to 80 percent of the land and natural resources in some Western states.
Bundy’s occupation stands in stark contrast to the one unfolding in North Dakota at this very moment.
There, hundreds of Lakota activists and their allies have blocked the path of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which, if built, would cross the Missouri River just miles above the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. The pipeline jeopardizes not only the residents’ drinking water, but the water upon which millions of Midwesterners rely. Organizers insist that new protesters enter the site unarmed.