Armed militants at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge continue to damage both the delicate ecosystem of the refuge and archeological sites of critical importance to the Burns Paiute Tribe. Amanda Peacher from Oregon Public Broadcasting shared photos of what appeared to be a new road in the refuge and got confirmation that not only is the road new, it goes through a vitally important area:
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service confirmed Thursday that not only is the road built last week by the occupiers new, but it is also within an archaeological site important to the Burns Paiute Tribe.
Members of the Burns Paiute Tribe are increasingly angry nothing has been done to get the armed militants out of the refuge and away from their artifacts and the archeological sites:
On Friday, the tribe delivered a letter to federal agencies including the U.S. Attorney and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service demanding prosecution of Ammon Bundy and other armed militants occupying the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, “If the occupiers disturb, damage, remove, alter, or deface any archaeological resource on the refuge property.
There are approximately 4,000 artifacts belonging to the tribe in the buildings the militants are holding. The occupation is entering its third week.
The tribe is demanding federal action under both theArchaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 and a "protection against bad men” provision in the treaty the tribe signed with the United States in 1868.
Meanwhile, in the video below, LaVoy Finicum and other armed militants show themselves rifling through boxes of artifacts and offering to return them to the Burns Paiute Tribe. Some of the artifacts at the refuge date back 6,000 years. Tribal representatives have repeatedly said they want the militants to leave immediately:
"They just need to get the hell out of here," said Jarvis Kennedy, a member of the tribal council. "They didn't ask anybody, we don't want them here...our little kids are sitting at home when they should be in school."
They also note the relationship with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has evolved over the years:
"We feel strongly because we have had a good working relationship with the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge," she said. "We view them as a protector of our cultural rights in that area."
Watch as the militants open boxes and show off the artifacts, complaining about their storage and offering to return to the tribe who helped archive them at the refuge in the first place: