As the Bundy “militia” continues their armed standoff against the government over some absurd appeal to “land rights” and the privatization of federal wildlife reserves (so that they can be sold for mining, drilling, and timber rights to multinational corporations and subsequently pillaged of all their pristine wonder), one group is watching with increasing confusion – the Paiute tribe, who had lived and hunted on the disputed land for countless years before the arrival of white men.
“I just think they’re a bunch of glory hounds,” said tribe chairwoman Charlotte Rodrique to Reuters. ‘Look at us, look at what we’re doing.’ I don’t give much credence to their cause. “There was never an agreement that we were giving up this land. We were dragged out of here.”
The tribe lives on a reservation not far from the rancher’s makeshift fort. They are not empathetic to the ranchers’ grievances, having actually lost their land and having been sent to a reservation some 137 years ago. “I’m, like, hold on a minute, if you want to get technical about it … the land belongs to the Paiute here” said Selena Sam, a tribe councilmember.
The tribe has their own issues with the federal government, which has apparently been getting “very bureacratic” about allowing the tribe to hunt, trap, and fish in the refuge, but is determined to take the high road in resolving their issues: “They’re like ‘Let’s grab some guns.’ We have a different approach.”
It is gratifying to see those with legitimate grievances against the Bureau of Land Management behaving with such civility and sophistication, while the heavily armed “militia” has amounted to not much more than heavily armed petty criminals who refuse to obey the law of the land or accept the fact that they cannot just take what they want simply because they have guns.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.