“Militia” Take Over Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

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The short summary is: in an effort to draw attention to a ridiculous arrest of a father and son pair of Oregon Ranchers (“Dwight Lincoln Hammond, Jr., 73, and his son, Steven Dwight Hammond, 46,) who are scheduled to begin five year prison sentences (turning themselves in tomorrow January 4th 2016), three brothers from the Cliven Bundy family and approximately 100/150 (and growing) armed militia (former U.S. service members) have taken control of Malheur Wildlife Refuge Headquarters in the wildlife reserve. They are prepared to stay there indefinitely.
Full Story About What’s Going on In Oregon – “Militia” Take Over Malheur National Wildlife Refuge In Protest to Hammond Family Persecution…

HISTORY: (aa) The Harney Basin (were the Hammond ranch is established) was settled in the 1870’s. The valley was settled by multiple ranchers and was known to have run over 300,000 head of cattle. These ranchers developed a state of the art irrigated system to water the meadows, and it soon became a favorite stopping place for migrating birds on their annual trek north.

(ab) In 1908 President Theodor Roosevelt, in a political scheme, create an “Indian reservation” around the Malheur, Mud & Harney Lakes and declared it “as a preserve and breeding ground for native birds”. Later this “Indian reservation” (without Indians) became the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

(a) In 1964 the Hammonds purchased their ranch in the Harney Basin. The purchase included approximately 6000 acres of private property, 4 grazing rights on public land, a small ranch house and 3 water rights. The ranch is around 53 miles South of Burns, Oregon.

(a1) By the 1970’s nearly all the ranches adjacent to the Blitzen Valley were purchased by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and added to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge covers over 187,000 acres and stretches over 45 miles long and 37 miles wide. The expansion of the refuge grew and surrounds to the Hammond’s ranch. Being approached many times by the FWS, the Hammonds refused to sell. Other ranchers also choose not to sell.

(a2) During the 1970’s the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), in conjunction with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), took a different approach to get the ranchers to sell. Ranchers were told that, “grazing was detrimental to wildlife and must be reduced”. 32 out of 53 permits were revoked and many ranchers were forced to leave. Grazing fees were raised significantly for those who were allowed to remain. Refuge personnel took over the irrigation system claiming it as their own.
(a3) By 1980 a conflict was well on its way over water allocations on the adjacent privately owned Silvies Plain. The FWS wanted to acquire the ranch lands on the Silvies Plain to add to their already vast holdings. Refuge personnel intentional diverted the water to bypassing the vast meadowlands, directing the water into the rising Malheur Lakes. Within a few short years the surface area of the lakes doubled. Thirty-one ranches on the Silvies plains were flooded. Homes, corrals, barns and graze-land were washed a way and destroyed. The ranchers that once fought to keep the FWS from taking their land, now broke and destroyed, begged the FWS to acquire their useless ranches. In 1989 the waters began to recede and now the once thriving privately owned Silvies pains are a proud part of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge claimed by the FWS.

(a4) By the 1990’s the Hammonds were one of the very few ranchers that still owned private property adjacent to the refuge. Susie Hammond in an effort to make sense of what was going on began compiling fact about the refuge. In a hidden public record she found a study that was done by the FWS in 1975. The study showed that the “no use” policies of the FWS on the refuge were causing the wildlife to leave the refuge and move to private property. The study showed that the private property adjacent to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge produced 4 times more ducks and geese than the refuge did. It also showed that the migrating birds were 13 times more likely to land on private property than on the refuge. When Susie brought this to the attention of the FWS and refuge personnel, her and her family became the subjects of a long train of abuses and corruptions.

(b) In the early 1990’s the Hammonds filed on a livestock water source and obtained a deed for the water right from the State of Oregon. When the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) found out that the Hammonds obtained new water rights near the Malhuer Wildlife Refuge, they were agitated and became belligerent and vindictive towards the Hammonds. The US Fish and Wildlife Service challenged the Hammonds right to the water in an Oregon State Circuit Court. The court found that the Hammonds legally obtained rights to the water in accordance to State law and therefore the use of the water belongs to the Hammonds.*

(c) In August 1994 the BLM & FWS illegally began building a fence around the Hammonds water source. Owning the water rights and knowing that their cattle relied on that water source daily the Hammonds tried to stop the building of the fence. The BLM & FWS called the Harney County Sheriff department and had Dwight Hammond (Father) arrested and charged with “disturbing and interfering with” federal officials or federal contractors (two counts, each a felony). He spent one night in the Deschutes County Jail in Bend, and a second night behind bars in Portland before he was hauled before a federal magistrate and released without bail. A hearing on the charges was postponed and the federal judge never set another date.

(d) The FWS also began restricting access to upper pieces of the Hammond’s private property. In order to get to the upper part of the Hammond’s ranch they had to go on a road that went through the Malhuer Wildlife Refuge. The FWS began barricading the road and threatening the Hammonds if they drove through it. The Hammonds removed the barricades and gates and continued to use their right of access. The road was proven later to be owned by the County of Harney. This further enraged the BLM & FWS.

(e) Shortly after the road & water disputes, the BLM & FWS arbitrarily revoked the Hammond’s upper grazing permit without any given cause, court proceeding or court ruling. As a traditional “fence out state” Oregon requires no obligation on the part of an owner to keep his or her livestock within a fence or to maintain control over the movement of the livestock. The Hammonds intended to still use their private property for grazing. However, they were informed that a federal judge ruled, in a federal court, that the federal government did not have to observe the Oregon fence out law. “Those laws are for the people, not for them”.

(f) The Hammonds were forced to either build and maintain miles of fences or be restricted from the use of their private property. Cutting their ranch in almost half, they could not afford to fence the land, so the cattle were removed.

(g) The Hammonds experienced many years of financial hardship due to the ranch being diminished. The Hammonds had to sale their ranch and home in order to purchase another property that had enough grass to feed their cattle. This property included two grazing rights on public land. Those were also arbitrarily revoked later.

(h) The owner of the Hammond’s original ranch passed away from a heart attack and the Hammonds made a trade for the ranch back.

(i) In the early fall of 2001, Steven Hammond (Son) called the fire department, informing them that he was going to be performing a routine prescribed burn on their ranch. Later that day he started a prescribed fire on their private property. The fire went onto public land and burned 127 acres of grass. The Hammonds put the fire out themselves. There was no communication about the burn from the federal government to the Hammonds at that time. Prescribed fires are a common method that Native Americans and ranchers have used in the area to increase the health & productivity of the land for many centuries.

(j) In 2006 a massive lightning storm started multiple fires that joined together inflaming the countryside. To prevent the fire from destroying their winter range and possibly their home, Steven Hammond (Son) started a backfire on their private property. The backfire was successful in putting out the lightning fires that had covered thousands of acres within a short period of time. The backfire saved much of the range and vegetation needed to feed the cattle through the winter. Steven’s mother, Susan Hammond said: “The backfire worked perfectly, it put out the fire, saved the range and possibly our home”.

(j1) The next day federal agents went to the Harney County Sheriff’s office and filled a police report making accusation against Dwight and Steven Hammond for starting the backfire. A few days after the backfire a Range-Con from the Burns District BLM office asked Steven if he would meet him in town (Frenchglen) for coffee. Steven accepted. When leaving he was arrested by the Harney County Sheriff Dave Glerup and BLM Ranger Orr. Sheriff Glerup then ordered him to go to the ranch and bring back his father. Both Dwight and Steven were booked and on multiple Oregon State charges. The Harney County District Attorney reviewed the accusation, evidence and charges, and determined that the accusations against Dwight & Steven Hammond did not warrant prosecution and dropped all the charges.

(k) In 2011, 5 years after the police report was taken, the U.S. Attorney Office accused Dwight and Steven Hammond of completely different charges, they accused them of being “Terrorist” under the Federal Antiterrorism Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. This act carries a minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum sentence of death. Dwight & Steven’s mug shots were all over the news the next week posing them as “Arsonists”. Susan Hammond (Wife & Mother) said: “I would walk down the street or go in a store, people I had known for years would take extreme measures to avoid me”.

(l) Shortly after the sentencing, Capital Press ran a story about the Hammonds. A person who identified as Greg Allum posted three comments on the article, calling the ranchers “clowns” who endangered firefighters and other people in the area while burning valuable rangeland. Greg Allum, a retired BLM heavy equipment operator, soon called Capital Press to complain that he had not made those comments and request that they be taken down from the website. Capital Press removed the comments. A search of the Internet Protocol address associated with the comments revealed it is owned by the BLM’s office in Denver, Colorado. Allum said, he is friends with the Hammonds and was alerted to the comments by neighbors who knew he wouldn’t have written them. “I feel bad for them. They lost a lot and they’re going to lose more,” Allum said of the ranchers. “They’re not terrorists. There’s this hatred in the BLM for them, and I don’t get it,” The retired BLM employee said. Jody Weil, deputy state director for communications at BLM’s Oregon office, indicated to reporters that if one of their agents falsified the comments, they would keep it private and not inform the public.

(m) In September 2006, Dwight & Susan Hammond’s home was raided. The agents informed the Hammonds that they were looking for evidence that would connect them to the fires. The Hammonds later found out that a boot print and a tire tracks were found near one of the many fires. No matching boots or tires were found in the Hammonds home or on their property. Susan Hammond (Wife) later said; ” I have never felt so violated in my life. We are ranchers not criminals”. Steven Hammond openly maintains his testimony that he started the backfire to save the winter grass from being destroyed and that the backfire ended up working so well it put out the fire entirely altogether.

(n) During the trial proceedings, Federal Court Judge Michael Hogan did not allow time for certain testimonies and evidence into the trail that would exonerate the Hammonds. Federal prosecuting attorney, Frank Papagni, was given full access for 6 days. He had ample time to use any evidence or testimony that strengthened the demonization of the Hammonds. The Hammonds attorney was only allowed 1 day. Much of the facts about the fires, land and why the Hammonds acted the way they did was not allowed into the proceedings and was not heard by the jury. For example, Judge Hogan did not allow time for the jury to hear or review certified scientific findings that the fires improved the health and productivity of the land. Or, that the Hammonds had been subject to vindictive behavior by multiple federal agencies for years.

(o) Federal attorneys, Frank Papagni, hunted down a witness that was not mentally capable to be a credible witness. Dusty Hammond (grandson and nephew) testified that Steven told him to start a fire. He was 13 at the time and 24 when he testified (11 years later). At 24 Dusty had been suffering with mental problems for many years. He had estranged his family including his mother. Judge Hogan noted that Dusty’s memories as a 13-year-old boy were not clear or credible. He allowed the prosecution to continually use Dusty’s testimony anyway. When speaking to the Hammonds about this testimony, they understood that Dusty was manipulated and expressed nothing but love for their troubled grandson.

(p) Judge Michael Hogan & Frank Papagni tampered with the jury many times throughout the proceedings, including during the selection process. Hogan & Papagni only allowed people on the jury who did not understand the customs and culture of the ranchers or how the land is used and cared for in the Diamond Valley. All of the jurors had to drive back and forth to Pendleton everyday. Some drove more than two hours each way. By day 8 they were exhausted and expressed desires to be home.

On the final day, Judge Hogan kept pushing them to make a verdict. Several times during deliberation, Judge Hogan pushed them to make a decision. Judge Hogan also would not allow the jury to hear what punishment could be imposed upon an individual that has convicted as a terrorist under the 1996 act. The jury, not understanding the customs and cultures of the area, influenced by the prosecutors for 6 straight days, very exhausted, pushed for a verdict by the judge, unaware of the ramification of convicting someone as a terrorist, made a verdict and went home.

(q) June 22, 2012, Dwight and Steven were found guilty of starting both the 2001 and the 2006 fires by the jury. However, the federal courts convicted them both as “Terrorist” under the 1996 Antiterrorism Act. Judge Hogan sentenced Dwight (Father) to 3 months in prison and Steven (son) to 12 months in federal prison. They were also stipulated to pay $400,000 to the BLM. Hogan overruling the minimum terrorist sentence, commenting that if the full five years were required it would be a violation of the 8th amendment (cruel and unusual punishment). The day of the sentencing Judge Hogan retired as a federal judge. In his honor the staff served chocolate cake in the courtroom.

(r) On January 4,, 2013, Dwight and Steven reported to prison. They fulfilled their sentences, (Dwight 3 months, Steven 12 months). Dwight was released in March 2013 and Steven, January 2014.

(s) Sometime in June 2014, Rhonda Karges, Field Manager for the BLM, and her husband Chad Karges, Refuge Manager for the Malheur Wildlife Refuge (which surrounds the Hammond ranch), along with attorney Frank Papagni exemplifying further vindictive behavior by filing an appeal with the 9th District Federal Court seeking Dwight’s and Steven’s return to federal prison for the entire 5 years.*

(t) In October 2015, the 9th District Court “resentenced” Dwight and Steven, requiring them to return to prison for several more years. Steven (46) has a wife and 3 children. Dwight (74) will leave Susan (74) to be alone after 55 years of marriage. If he survives, he will be 79 when he is released.

(u) During the court preceding the Hammonds were forced to grant the BLM first right of refusal. If the Hammonds ever sold their ranch they would have to sell it to the BLM.

(v) Dwight and Steven are ordered to report to federal prison again on January 4th, 2016 to begin their re-sentencing. Both their wives will have to manage the ranch for several years without them.

To date they have paid $200,000 to the BLM, and the remainder $200,000 must be paid before the end of this year (2015). If the Hammonds cannot pay the fines to the BLM, they will be forced to sell the ranch to the BLM or face further prosecution. (more citations here) http://bundyranch.blogspot.com/2015/11/facts-events-in-hammond-case.html

two ranchers, 73-year-old Dwight Hammond and his 46-year-old son Steven, who in 2001 and 2006 set fires on their own property that spread to public land. In addition to the long-running conflict between ranchers and the federal government over control of land in the West, the case illustrates the practical impossibility of challenging harsh mandatory minimum sentences as violations of the Eighth Amendment’s ban on “cruel and unusual punishments.”

The first fire set by the Hammonds, which Steven Hammond said was intended to eliminate invasive species on their property, ended up consuming 139 acres of federal land. The second fire, which was aimed at protecting the Hammonds’ winter feed from a wildfire sparked by lightning, burned about an acre of public land. Although the Hammonds did not seek the required government permission for either burn, the damage to federal land seems to have been unintentional. In 2012 they were nevertheless convicted under 18 USC 844(f)(1), which prescribes a five-year mandatory minimum sentence for anyone who “maliciously damages or destroys, or attempts to damage or destroy, by means of fire or an explosive,” any federal property.

Viewing that penalty as clearly unjust given the facts of the case, U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan instead imposed a three-month sentence on Dwight Hammond, who was convicted of one count, and two concurrent one-year sentences on Steven Hammond, who was convicted of two counts. Those terms were within the ranges recommended by federal sentencing guidelines that would have applied but for the statutory minimum, which Hogan rejected as inconsistent with the Eighth Amendment. In 2014 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, responding to a government appeal, disagreed with Hogan, saying he had no choice but to impose five-year sentences on both men, since “a minimum sentence mandated by statute is not a suggestion that courts have discretion to disregard.” That is why the Hammonds, who had already completed their original sentences, were ordered back to federal prison

Dwight Hammond was about 22 when he moved to the Diamond Valley, a remote range where cattle baron Pete French once held sway. Hammond and his wife Susan started Hammond Ranches Inc., beginning with about 7,000 acres.

Today, Hammond Ranches owns about 12,000 acres in the Diamond-Frenchglen area. They use this ground to run cattle during the winter. Until two years ago used 26,420 acres of land belonging to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management for summer grazing.
This prosecution will have a chilling effect across the West among ranchers and others who rely on federal allotments and permits. It will harm the positive relationship many ranchers and organizations have worked to forge with the bureau, and the hard work that has been done on the range. It also is hypocritical given BLM’s own harm to the range, which goes without consequence. It is unjust. OFB worked quietly behind the scenes with BLM through the spring and summer. That diligent diplomatic effort was fruitless.
BLM and the U.S. Dept. of Justice prosecuted the Hammonds under charges subject to the 1996 Anti-Terrorism & Effective Death Penalty Act. The government used a kitchen-sink strategy, charging them with 19 counts. They were not found guilty of any charges, except for the two fires, which they admitted setting. For their sentence, both served federal prison time (Steven over a year, Dwight three months), and together they paid over $400,000 in restitution and fines to the federal government. They made mistakes, broke the law, had a fair trial, and paid their debt to society.

The Federal Government Has Been Trying To Push The Hammonds Off Their Land. The federal government owns huge swaths of land in the western United States via the Bureau of Land Management, ranging from 84.5 percent of all territory in Nevada to 53.1 percent of all territory in Oregon. The federal Fish and Wildlife Service has designs on the land owned by the Hammond family, and to that end, they bought up all the land surrounding the Hammonds, and then apparently began choking out the Hammonds’ access to water and grazing rights. Suffice it to say that in plea arrangements regarding arson charges (to be discussed shortly) the Hammonds agreed to give the BLM first right of refusal on a sale of their property. In a plea agreement.

The timeline for the Oregon rancher-arsonistsThe timeline for the Oregon rancher-arsonists developed from court documents, information provided by U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesperson Gerri Badden, and other sources provided by some of our loyal readers.
You will find that on two occasions, in 2001 and 2006, the Hammonds set fires that endangered wildland firefighters,

The timeline for the Oregon rancher-arsonists

The Timeline

1994, August 5 — Dwight and Steven Hammond were arrested.
“Forcibly impede, intimidate and interfere with federal officers engaged in the performance of their official duties” (August 15, felony charges were). reduced to a misdemeanor, “Interfering with Government Employees and Private Parties”

1997, July 16 — the “Interfering” cases were dismissed by the U.S. Attorney’s office.

1999, Oct. 9 — Steven was arrested and convicted for interfering with lawful users of public lands. sentenced to 3 years of probation March 9, 2000

2001, September 30 — Hardie-Hammond Fire.
Steven called the BLM to report that they were going to burn invasive species. The fires burned 139 acres of federal land.
Gerri Badden, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s office, said the motive for setting the fires was to cover up the illegal slaughter of deer

2006, August 21 — A lightning storm hit the Steens Mountain area and ignited several fires, including the Krumbo Butte Fire.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, Hammonds’ motive for setting the fires was to protect their winter feed. Steven ignited the fires during a county wide burn ban and while a “red flag warning” was in effect, without notice or permission and while knowing BLM contract firefighters were in the area.
Steven was arrested for questioning about the suspicious fires August 24

2012, June 21 — After a trial over arson charges, the jury found Dwight and Steven Hammond guilty of the 2001 arson and Steven Hammond of the 2006 arson,

2012, October 30 — Dwight was given 12 months in prison and Steven received 3 months.
The U.S. Attorney appealed the sentences,The Hammonds appealed to the Supreme Court and lost in March, 2015.

2013, January 4 — The Hammonds began serving their prison time. Dwight was released in March, 2013 and Steven in January, 2014.

2014, February 14 — The BLM denied the renewal of the Hammonds’ grazing permit, citing the arson convictions and other issues.

2014, December 4 — A civil suit related to the arson brought against the Hammonds by the federal government was settled, with Dwight and Steven agreeing to pay $200,000 each. If they had to sell their property in order to make the payments, under the agreement the government had first right of refusal. However the two payments of $200,000 were received, and there was no sale of property.

2015, October 7 — A federal judge re-sentenced the Hammonds to five years. They were scheduled to return to prison January 4, 2016.

The timeline for the Oregon rancher-arsonists

Petitioners are cattle ranchers who ranched on
10,000 acres of private land, intermixed with tens of
thousands of acres of public land. Both were convicted
of arson in connection with a 2001 fire lit to burn
invasive species on private land that burned 139
acres of public land. Steven Hammond was also
convicted of arson when a “back burn” he lit to protect
private land during a giant wildfire burned an acre of
public land. The fires caused minimal damage and,
arguably, increased the value of the land for grazing.
The district court found no one was endangered by
the fires.
The district court concluded that Congress did
not envision petitioners when, as a part of the Antiterrorism
and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, it
added a mandatory minimum sentence of five years
for damaging property of the United States by means
of fire or an explosive in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§ 844(f)(1). It further concluded that imposition of
such a sentence would violate the Eighth Amendment
because such a sentence was grossly disproportionate
to the offense conduct. App. 17. The Ninth Circuit
rejected the idea that a five-year mandatory minimum
term could ever be unconstitutional. App. 9.

A panel of the Ninth Circuit pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1254(1).

18 U.S.C. § 844(f)(1) states, in relevant part:
Whoever maliciously damages or destroys, or
attempts to damage or destroy, by means of
fire or an explosive, any building, vehicle, or
other personal or real property in whole or in
part owned or possessed by, or leased to, the
United States or any department or agency
thereof, or any institution or organization receiving
Federal financial assistance, shall be
imprisoned for not less than 5 years and not
more than 20 years, fined under this title or
Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11 governs the
making of plea agreements; it is reproduced in full in
the appendix at App. 25.

~Factual Background.
A. Petitioners’ Ranching Operation.
Petitioners come from a long line of cattle ranchers.
Their ranch, Hammond Ranches, Inc.
[HRI], is on Steens Mountain in South Eastern
Oregon. Id. It is a cow-calf operation: each year, it
breeds its own cows with its own bulls, tends to the
birth of the calves in the spring, moves the herd
through numerous private and public pastures over
the course of the spring and summer, and sends the
majority of the calves to market in the fall. Id.
HRI has always operated on a combination of
private and public land. Id. As of 2006, it owned over
10,000 acres of private pasture and had a Bureau of
Land Management [BLM] permit authorizing it to
graze cattle on tens of thousands of acres of public
land. Id. HRI’s Grazing Permit authorized it to pasture about 18 bulls and 374 cow-calf pairs on various allotments on the public land over the course
of the year. Id. As is common in Eastern Oregon,
private land is interspersed with public land and
fences separate the two only in a few places. Id.

On June 17, 2010, the government charged the
Hammonds in a 19-count indictment with conspiracy,
arson and other charges involving numerous range
fires occurring in a 24-year period from August 1982
to August 2006. ER-1273. On May 17, 2012, less than
30 days before trial, the government filed a 9-count
superseding indictment focusing on four separate

~District Court’s Sentences.
The trial court’s advisory guidelines calculations
were undisputed on appeal. The advisory range for
Dwight Hammond was 0 to 6 months imprisonment,
App. 15; the advisory range for Steven Hammond was
8 to 14 months imprisonment, App. 16.

~The trial court concluded that petitioners’ offense
conduct was not that contemplated by Congress when
it added a five-year mandatory minimum sentence to
18 U.S.C. § 844 under the Antiterrorism and Effective
Death Penalty Act of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-132 (1996).
App. 17. Considering the nature of the arson statute,
the purpose of the penalty provision added to that
statute, the nature of the conduct underlying the
petitioners’ convictions, their personal characteristics,
and the advisory guidelines, the trial court indicated
that it would not impose the five-year mandatory
minimum sentence because “to do so under the
Eighth Amendment would result in a sentence which
is grossly disproportionate to the severity of the
offenses here.” App. 17.

~The government appealed from the district
court’s sentences. A panel of the Ninth Circuit rejected
the notion that imposition of a five-year term
of imprisonment would have been unconstitutional:

~After the court received the partial verdict, it
directed the jury to continue deliberating. ER-1267.
During deliberations, the parties agreed to resolve
the case with partial verdicts. ER-1268-70. Their
agreement was oral, not written, and the terms were
placed on the record in open court:
Prosecutor: My understanding is that Dwight
Hammond – Dwight Lincoln Hammond, Junior,
and Steven Hammond have agreed that
they would waive their appeal rights and accept
the verdicts as they’ve been returned
thus far by the jur http://landrights.org/or/Hammond/Hammond-v-United-States-Oregon-Petition-for-Writ-of-Certiorari-Filed-June-17-2013.pdf.



AFTER DECADES of war, encroachment and expansion by settlers, President Ulysses Grant set aside a portion of this land as the Malheur Indian Reservation for the Northern Paiute Tribe on September 12, 1872. The new reservation was for “all the roving and straggling bands in Eastern and Southeastern Oregon, which can be induced to settle there.”

The government’s stated aim was that the reservation would put an end to ongoing conflicts between white settlers and Natives, but predictably, relegating the Northern Paiute to a particular area gave encroaching settlers and corporations greater opportunity to seize the Paiutes’ ancestral lands. Almost immediately following the establishment of the reservation, settlers started clamoring for a modification of the boundaries.

Typically, the U.S. government served as the vehicle by which land was stolen from Natives and later given or sold cheaply to settlers and large corporations.

Writing in Indian Country Today, Steve Russell summarized how the Malheur Indian Reservation was dismantled:

White settlement nibbled at the Malheur Indian Reservation until the Bannock War in 1878, which ended with surrendered Paiutes and Bannocks on the reservation being removed, officially to the Yakama Reservation in Washington Territory. Unofficially, Paiutes had scattered all over the Western States that comprised their aboriginal lands. The Burns Paiute Reservation is the remains of the Malheur Reservation, and the Malheur Wildlife Refuge is an alternative use for the federal land, for those who believe the federal government exists.

The Bannock War was an Indian uprising that forged an alliance between the Paiute, Bannock and Shoshone tribes fighting settlers and the government in the area. Unfortunately, the tribe lost the war, and as Russell explains, the tribes were forced to resettle in Washington state. This month marks the 137th anniversary of the government’s forced march of 500 Paiutes in shackles over 350 miles in knee-deep snow, from the Malheur Indian Reservation to the Yakama Reservation in Washington.

Today, individual members of the Burns Paiute Tribe own more than 13,000 acres of land in Harney County, which is home to the Malheur refuge, though fragmentation of this ownership has hampered efforts to use the land.


~Statutes,acts,ordinances and codes ARE NOT laws, they are legislative “RULES” of a society. Legislative rules of a society are given force through law. Law proceed rules.~Maxim of law: Government can only control what it creates. (The power which is derived cannot be greater than that from which it is derived.) 16Am Jur 2d., Const. Law Sec. 70:
~“No public policy of a state can be allowed to override the positive guarantees of the U.S. Constitution.”
~~Owen v. Independence 100 Vol. Supreme Court Reports. 1398:(1982)Main v. Thiboutot 100 Vol. Supreme Court Reports. 2502:(1982)“The right of action created by statute relating to deprivation under color of law, of a right secured by the constitution and the laws of the United States and comes claims which are based solely on statutory violations of Federal Law and applied to the claim that claimants had been deprived of their rights, in some capacity, to which they were entitled.”
“Officers of the court have no immunity when violating constitutional right, from liability”(When any public servant violates your rights they do so at their own peril.)

Statutes, Acts, Ordinances and Codes ARE NOT LAWS

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