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Burns Paiute Tribe Denounces Malheur Occupation

Manuel Valdes

The Burns Paiute Tribe Wednesday denounced the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife headquarters.

Tribal council members said the militants are desecrating sacred traditional property and need to leave. The wildlife refuge is within the Paiute tribes’ ancestral territory in Southeast Oregon.

Tribal chair Charlotte Rodrique says she's offended by armed occupiers saying they want to return the land to its rightful owners.

RODRIQUE: "You know, who are the rightful owners? It just really rubs me the wrong way that we have a bunch of misinformed people in here making statements going on national TV making statements that have no foundation— they're not the original owners."

She says the tribe has a positive relationship with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and considers the refuge managers partners in helping protect the tribe's cultural artifacts.

Copyright 2016 OPB

Amanda Peacher is an Arthur F. Burns fellow reporting and producing in Berlin in 2013. Amanda is from Portland, Oregon, where she works as the public insight journalist for Oregon Public Broadcasting. She produces radio and online stories, data visualizations, multimedia projects, and facilitates community engagement opportunities for OPB's newsroom.