Burns Paiute Tribe: Armed protesters don’t belong here

Charlotte Rodrique, the Burns Paiute tribal chair, speaking at a press conference, January 6 2016. (KOIN)


BURNS, Ore. (KOIN) — The Burns Paiute Tribe on Wednesday morning held a press conference to call to end the armed standoff at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge.

“Armed protesters don’t belong here,” Charlotte Rodrique, the Burns Paiute Tribal Chair, said during the press conference.

Rodrique says that the protesters are desecrating sacred land and endangering the community. She says the federal government has a responsibility to protect the native people’s land.

“We never gave up our aboriginal rights to the territory, so we as a tribe actually view this as our land, no matter who is living on it,” she said. “We were here first and just want to set the facts straight.”

Rodrique says she would cut power to the protesters and wait it out.

Protesters marched to the Hammond house on Saturday, January 2, 2015. (KOIN)
Protesters marched to the Hammond house on Saturday, January 2, 2015. (KOIN)

Ammon Bundy and a group of armed militia took over the federal building at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on January 2 in protest of the sentencing of two Oregon ranchers for arson of federal land.

Federal law enforcement officials are developing a plan to end the standoff at Malheur Natural Refuge, sources told KOIN 6 News on Tuesday.

The protesters have repeatedly said they intend to stay at the compound indefinitely.

Arizona rancher LaVoy Finicum says that he believes federal officials have issued warrants for the arrest of five group members – including himself and Ammon Bundy – but Finicum offered no details.

The FBI in Portland referred calls to the Harney County Joint Information Center, which said in a statement it had no information on arrests or arrest warrants and that authorities were “still working on a peaceful resolution.”

Bundy said they would take a defensive position anticipating a possible raid. Late Tuesday, the group moved a large plow vehicle to block the refuge’s driveway.

Community response

Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward on Tuesday announced a community meeting will be held at 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Harney County Fairgrounds. The purpose is to “discuss safety concerns and disruptions caused by the behavior of those at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.”

The meeting is open to the public.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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