By Red Power Media, Staff
Bundy’s militiamen are rummaging through Native American artifacts
The Burns Paiute tribe has worried for 3 weeks about the safety of more than 4,000 tribal artifacts housed the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.
Now a video uploaded to Facebook on Wednesday, shows Ammon Bundy’s militiamen standing in what appears to be a storage area of a building at the refuge. According to Carbonated.tv, the men, led by Arizona rancher Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, accuse the Bureau of Land Management of mishandling Native American artifacts – while, ironically, rummaging through shelves unauthorized and unsupervised.
- 4,000 Artifacts Stored At Oregon Refuge Held By Armed Group
- Burns Paiute Tribe Worried About Oregon Wildlife Refuge Artifacts
Gawker reports, earlier this week, Burns Paiute tribal chairperson Charlotte Roderique expressed concern over how the militia was handling the tribe’s history. “We are really worried about the status of the artifacts down there,” Roderique told the Indian Country Today Media Network.
“I understand they took a bulldozer and built a line around the refuge headquarters,” Roderique told ICTMN “You can’t go and bulldoze things. I don’t know what these people are doing if they are doing things to just get a rise or to be martyr—all they are doing is making enemies out of the people they professed to support.”
Last week, the tribe delivered a letter to the U.S. Attorney and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service demanding prosecution “if the occupiers disturb, damage, remove, alter, or deface any archaeological resource on the refuge property.”
The tribe is demanding federal action under both the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 and a “protection against bad men” provision in the treaty the tribe signed with the United States in 1868.
Under ARPA, a federal law authorizing law enforcement and penalties in the defense of archeological sites on public land, removing artifacts is a felony offense and offenders can be fined or imprisoned for up to 5 years.
Oregon’s governor has expressed frustration with federal authorities’ handling of the continuing occupation and said it’s time to end it.
Federal, state and local law enforcement officers have been sent to the remote area but so far have avoided doing anything that might provoke a confrontation.
Finicum told Oregon Public Broadcasting on Wednesday they have no plans to leave. “We are very strong, very firm, this facility will not go back to the federal government, ever.”