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Don’t Call Them Patriots. They’re Terrorists Occupying Sacred Native American Land

Irony lost.

The armed right-wing insurrectionists who have taken over a federal building in Oregon are claiming to protest “tyranny” by the federal government in how the Bureau of Land Management treats ranchers on federal property. This particular group of armed white men seizing land and claiming “oppression” is clearly lacking in knowledge of American history, and what actually defines “tyranny.”

As Indian Country Today Media Network previously reported, the land the occupiers are claiming as “theirs” is actually land that the federal government previously stole from the Northern Paiute tribe. The Paiutes used to own 1.5 million acres of land, but have now been relegated to a reservation amounting to just 750 acres in Burns, Oregon, where the Bundy militia is currently engaged in an armed standoff.

“President U.S. Grant established the Maiheur Indian Reservation for the Northern Paiute in 1872. It is no coincidence that the historical reservation shares a name with the Maiheur National Wildlife Refuge, site of the current armed standoff.”


The above map shows the progression of how much land Native Americans had taken from them by armed white men from the beginning of colonization to the present day. Before 1492, Native Americans enjoyed full use of the land that had been theirs for thousands of years. By the end of the Revolutionary War, whites had stolen land down most of the entire East Coast. By the time the Civil War began, whites had stolen much of the Midwest and the Great Plains. Colonization spread west to California after the Gold Rush.

By the start of the 21st century, most of the Native Americans who had once owned all 50 states were relegated to reservations in areas largely devoid of natural resources and infrastructure conducive to economic prosperity. As a result, these reservations are known for high unemployment rates, pervasive poverty, and lower life expectancy. The United Nations has called on the U.S. government to return stolen land to Native Americans.

The Bundy militia occupying the Maiheur National Wildlife Refuge should seriously reconsider their use of the word “tyranny,” and how the land they’re claiming as theirs rightfully belongs to the indigenous tribes that armed white men illegally stole centuries ago.  If they really want justice, they should dedicate their cause to helping Native Americans have their stolen land returned.

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