Ladonna Bravebull Allard: When I began to look into the Bundy’s standoff at the Malheur Refuge, I became angry. That place is a locus of ancestral heritage of the Burns Paiute Tribe, which the Bundys knowingly desecrated. They reportedly dug latrines through recognized cultural sites. As a tribal historic preservation officer, my heart broke when I heard they allegedly rifled through some 4,000 cultural items that had been kept in the museum. Some of the sacred objects they destroyed were hundreds of years old.
The Bundys did not reclaim that land. It was never theirs. It is Paiute land.
From the beginning, we at Standing Rock gathered in a spirit of prayer and non-violent resistance to the destruction of our homeland and culture. We came together with our ceremonies, songs and drums. Weapons are not allowed into our camps. The Bundys’ occupation began with threats and guns. It was violent from the outset, and the people they pretended to represent did not even condone it.
Last week we saw how justice works in this country: armed ranchers are treated with compassion and their charges are dropped, while indigenous people are physically attacked and charged with trespassing on our own ancestral lands. More here.