AP/Reuters
The Dann Sisters; Cliven Bundy

How Did I Miss That? Militia: God Gave Land to Settlers, Not Shoshone

Steve Russell
4/18/14

This piece was modified on 4/23/14. Ian Zabarte, Western Shoshone, indicates that Cliven Bundy's ranch is in Southern Paiute territory, not Western Shoshone, as previously stated.

Big news that went on all week was the confrontation between the federal government and the “militia movement” over the removal of cattle belonging to Mormon “pioneer” Cliven Bundy from federal land. Bundy has not paid his grazing fees for 20 years. Why? His ancestors settled those lands in the 19th century. “Time immemorial,” my Cousin Ray Sixkiller pointed out, “means different things to different people.”

The 68-year-old Bundy recognizes no federal authority in the matter. If he owed grazing fees, he claimed they would be owed to the state of Nevada, which entered the United States on Halloween, 1864. Because the Civil War was going on, the Nevada Constitution contained a “paramount allegiance clause,” which is seriously inconvenient for anybody claiming, as Bundy does, a right to ignore the feds.

The year before Nevada was admitted, the US signed the Treaty of Ruby Valley, which recognized the Western Shoshone as owners of large portions of their original territory. In 1979, the Indian Claims Commission awarded the Shoshone $26 million in compensation for land lost to “settler encroachment” while the federal government looked the other way. Those encroaching settlers would be who Cliven Bundy cites today as originators of his right to graze his cattle.

The Shoshone refused the money. They had not agreed to sell the land. They did not agree that the land should be used for nuclear testing. Carrie and Mary Dann were Shoshone elders who stood up to the abuse. Mary walked on at age 82, in 2005. The 81-year-old Carrie was last arrested in 2007, protesting against the use of Shoshone land for nuclear weapons research.

The Dann Sisters grazed their cattle on land the Bureau of Land Management claimed since 1973, refusing to pay grazing fees based on the Treaty of Ruby Valley, Article VI of the US Constitution, and a report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States that found the US to be cheating the Shoshone.

In 1992 and again in 2002, armed BLM posses rounded up the Dann Sisters’ cattle and sold them for grazing fees. The New York Times reported in 2002 that the Dann Sisters had been fined $3 million for “trespass.”

When a BLM posse came to round up Cliven Bundy’s cattle, armed “patriots” rode to the rescue. The BLM got about 400 head of Bundy’s cattle and Bundy got about as many supporters, many of them armed, from as far away as Montana. The Washington Post reported on April 10 that a sign at the entrance to the protest camp read “MILITA SIGHN IN.” Cousin Ray said he hoped their shooting was no better than their spelling.

Protestor Richard Mack, a former Arizona Sheriff, told a Fox News camera that the plan was “to put all the women up at the front. If they are going to start shooting, it’s going to be women that are going to be televised all across the world getting shot by these rogue federal officers.”

On April 12, the BLM postponed the circus, giving Bundy’s cattle back and leaving Cousin Ray to wonder where all these lovers of law and liberty were when the women up front were Carrie and Mary Dann?

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that Randy Gray, 27, is the first of four men to be sentenced for selling counterfeit guitars to pawnshops nationwide. The fakes were represented as Martins, Gibsons, and Guilds—“90 percent Martins,” according to a federal prosecutor. Cousin Ray was horrified. “Fake guitars? Is nothing sacred?”

The good news is that the brilliant satirist Stephen Colbert has been tapped to replace David Letterman. The bad news is that Colbert will appear as himself rather than in character as the right wing blowhard. Military Times reported that the Colbert pick was endorsed by retired Gen. David Petraeus because of Colbert’s service entertaining the troops in Iraq. “Or it might have been,” Cousin Ray speculated, “because Colbert never made fun of Petraeus’s inability to keep his affair secret.”

Speaking of right wing blowhards, Rush Limbaugh accused that when CBS picked Colbert it, “declared war on the heartland of America.” If so, it’s an interesting choice, since CBS has the older white male demographic that is the Republican base sewed up. They get their entertainment from CBS and their news from Fox. Cousin Ray pointed out that kids get their entertainment from Fox and their news from The Comedy Channel.

A more violent right wing blowhard, and former Grand Dragon of the KKK, set out to kill some Jews at a Jewish community center in a suburb of Kansas City. Between that and a Jewish retirement home, the Aryan superman managed to kill one child and two elders—two Methodists and a Catholic—before being hauled off in a police car shouting “Heil Hitler!”

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Colleen Lloyd
Colleen Lloyd
Submitted by Colleen Lloyd on
How did you miss that? Um maybe because you weren't there and don't know the Bundys like us. You're also conveniently and snidely invalidating the people who were brave enough to risk getting shot to protect their rights and families and the rights of everyone by putting "quotes" around them and conveniently leaving out major points about that treaty and other issues which make Clivens' stand valid. I have spoken directly face to face there with these people including Clivens' son Ammon who was tazed 4 times for helping his aunt who has cancer who was thrown to the ground for nothing. The issue of jurisdiction is what this is about, and of the continuing pattern of the hypocrisy of the US government for failing to pay the Shoshone what THEY owe them for the Ruby valley treaty while terrorizing and extorting money out of people for land the Shoshone rightfully insist they have NO jurisdiction and claim on. We are natives and we support the people who stand for their rights no matter what color. The treaty allowed the Bundy family and specifically ranchers to settle there and it specifies that they Shoshone will be paid with CATTLE. It is not the Bundys who violated the treaty and are breaking the law. it is the US government. I have brought this issue up and am continuing to bring it up with the PATRIOTS there, many of whom are veterans. It is pretty cowardly and disingenuous to dishonor their service and belittle them when you don't even know them, ENNIT?

Colleen Lloyd
Colleen Lloyd
Submitted by Colleen Lloyd on
Not only that, but it's kind of snarky to, out of all the important issues here, pick on one person who misspelled a sign as if that represents anything really relevant to this whole historic struggle against the encroachment and constant manipulation by the federal government of the media and political resources like HARRY REID for their corporate commercial interests, the same reason they have kicked natives of our land for 500 years and the same reason their own documents stated was the intent behind removing the Bundys and their free range cattle. If you want I can go over your spelling with a fine-toothed comb as well, being an Associate Editor of a Las Vegas paper, as if that is a top priority. The people who risked being shot at the scene have stated that the statements by Mack were misconstrued, as is typical in the media, to give the impression that these women are puppets. The women there stated that, like native women, they are strong and stand beside their men and it was their own talk of being brave and defying the feds with guns pointed at them threatening to shoot them while they were peaceful that was the whole point here. That they are fearless women willing to stand at the front to protect their cattle who were being needlessly killed and tortured being run to death by the BLM during calving season as the calves were separated from their mothers. This battle has been going on for years as the commercial entities Harry Reid apparently has ties to along with his conflict-of-interest ties with his relatives in agencies such as BLM have sought to remove the Bundys from the land they want to exploit. Are the Shoshone going to see a dime of the grazing fees or the profits? HAHAHA NOT. You made the point that the ranchers need to be there standing with the natives like the Danns, too. Yes, that is my point I am making in posting and reading the treaty there at the Bundys, to encourage natives and whites to realize as Russell Means did, that it is all people the US government exterminate and run off like cattle on anything they want and that they have no jurisdiction as they are thieves, so we must support each other and stand together like Tecumseh enabled people to, or they will do it without backing down like they did here. Why don't you interview the people personally instead of just taking your information from other media?

Colleen Lloyd
Colleen Lloyd
Submitted by Colleen Lloyd on
There were typos but I couldn't go back and edit, as I am actually THERE getting the real story and not real worried about who spells something right while they are being threatened with being SHOT.

Diane Covington
Diane Covington
Submitted by Diane Covington on
http://www.oha.doi.gov/IBLA/Ibladecisions/147IBLA/147IBLA081%20DANN,%20MARY%20AND%20CARRIE%2012-18-1998.pdf

Diane Covington
Diane Covington
Submitted by Diane Covington on
http://cidh.oas.org/Respuestas/USA.11140.htm

CatherineRitlaw's picture
CatherineRitlaw
Submitted by CatherineRitlaw on
Thank you! What happened to the Dann sisters was a disgrace. Bundy, on the other hand, is a criminal & a thief.

CatherineRitlaw's picture
CatherineRitlaw
Submitted by CatherineRitlaw on
Thank you. What happened to the Dann sisters was a disgrace, Bundy, on the other hand, is a criminal & a thief.

Denise Joy
Denise Joy
Submitted by Denise Joy on
It makes me crazy how many whites forget that we're NOT the first people on this continent. Makes me crazier how many honestly feel "to the victor go the spoils". Theft is theft. We're supposed to teach our children to NOT bully, and not put up with that crap, so why is it still okay for the native peoples of this great land to be given scraps? And some folks continue to whine that the natives have been given too much! Hah!

rockymissouri's picture
rockymissouri
Submitted by rockymissouri on
WONDERFUL...!! Bundy should call his clowns 'hatriots'...because that is what they are...

James Mason
James Mason
Submitted by James Mason on
God did not give the land to anyone to own, that is a white eye law made in order to run the natives off. WE have been here long before you, what the hell makes you so special that you say you can own land, how narrow minded, retarded can you even say this. you need to move to Europe or some other Continent.

Jimmie Meehan
Jimmie Meehan
Submitted by Jimmie Meehan on
Back in 1992 people were soundly a sleep and still "trusted" their government....and their was no internet communication like today...which is why now the government NOW is desperate to control the communication and to disarm the people

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
Why is it no surprise that supporters of the White, Rich are so verbose and hypocritical? The one thing that Conservatives have right is: Blessed are the rich, for they shall inherit the earth."

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
BTW, I'm a patriot and a disabled, veteran. That never got me ANYTHING in this country - didn't help the WWII Code Talkers much when the government wanted their land in the 70s. Why is it that "patriot" and "veteran" only mean something if you're White?

Colleen Lloyd
Colleen Lloyd
Submitted by Colleen Lloyd on
Why is it no surprise that the supporters of the BLM and US government are so hypocritical NOT verbose, since they can only parrot out a couple of lines they were indoctrinated into without questioning, like "The Bundys owe taxes just like everyone else" and "They are criminals and thieves" instead of thinking for themselves and standing against a government that has never had any jurisdiction or ownership claim to the Shoshone land? How many of the people here and other places who are passing judgment on these hard-working, decent ranchers without ever meeting them have paid the native tribes or given them back the land they are sitting on there living off of? How many have actually stood by natives putting their lives on the line for any of the indigenous peoples' causes? All they do is slander people who have been friends with the Dann sisters and natives for decades and are legitimately there, having offered to pay the state of Nevada fees instead of the federal government who do not have a right to collect rent on land they never paid for, and the only hatred is coming from you, so look in the mirror! It looks like someone has an agenda to divide Indian Country instead of uniting us in the common struggle we have with the Bundys against a history of land theft and terrorism against peaceful people. They did not kick the Shoshone off their land -- the US government wanted the gold to finance the war and did it. Now they want the land for profit again and are slaughtering cows and unlawfully threatening and harassing people for it -- same story, different color.

Sharon Holmes
Sharon Holmes
Submitted by Sharon Holmes on
Let's clear up a few things about the Bundy cattle war. IF anyone had read further thay would have known that a Federal Judge already censured the BLM for their heavy handed tactics in Nevada. Second, i don't know who thinks th Shoshone Indians were traditiional inhabitants of Southern Nevada, but they weren't. The archaic people were Anasazi and Paiute, and before that is was Basketmakers. Shoshone's were primarily in Northern Nevada. Ruby Valley is probably over 500 miles north. And third, as of this morning, there are dead Bundy cattle (some shot) being dug up. That was why BLM showed up with a backhoe and dump truck. i warned that they would start killing cattle on the Nevada side of a three state area with no fences, and they did. This is all about political paybacks that Harry Reid owes the Chinese Corporations. The joint plan for a solar collector field and a solar panel manufacturing plant at Laughlin, Nevada fell through last year. Most of us who know Reid and his history with Coyote Springs and a number of other places in Nevada already smelled a rat on day one. it is all about land and water and the Reids want to get Bundy off the land any way they can. Maybe it is over solar power plants or collector fields, maybe it is over the Nevada Department of Mines maps showing the fracking sites all over his grazing area, or maybe it is just about the water that Harry has promised to the casinos in Las Vegas. That battle has gone on for years. But when some of these Nevada developers go to prison for violations of the campaign finance laws, Harry just donates what he got in the deals to charity. I don't know how you spell corruption, but i spell it Harry Reid. I have great respect for all Native Americans, and other than in Alaska, they certainly got the short end of the stick in the US when it came to settlements. But that is not the issue here. BLM is supposed to use the TGA fees to help the ranchers by improving water sources, not destroying them. instead they have been buying out the TGA permits so the State of Nevada can re-claim the water rights as well as the land. As for the cattle, considering that there are no fences, do we give them GPS units so they know what State they are in before they eat something? Back in the 1800's no one knew whether this area was Nevada, Arizona, or Utah and all three tried to collect taxes. It wasn't until surveyors came to lay out the route a new Salt Lake Highway, (which eventually became Interstate-15) in about 1920, that anyone knew what State they lived in.Whose grass was it before that?

alexjacobs's picture
alexjacobs
Submitted by alexjacobs on
Cliven Bundy's parents bought his ranch in 1948. Bundy did not start grazing on that land until 1954. He is not a settler or a founding father, he's another welfare rancher.

mrizabarte's picture
mrizabarte
Submitted by mrizabarte on
The land at issue in the Bundy matter is Southern Paiute aboriginal territory and is not within the boundaries of the Western Shoshone treaty. I speak as Principal Man for Foreign Affairs, of the Western Shoshone Government. Mr. Bundy may have a case regarding "takings" under the 5th Amendment but that would have to be made in the courts and would be a separate legal matter. While the Western Shoshone Government seeks to demonstrate its foreign sovereign immunity in the US courts as required by current US State Department regulations, this can only be accomplished within the boundaries of the 1863 Treaty of Ruby Valley. For Mr. Bundy to do the same may constitute TREASON against the US. His business is ranching for private profit while socializing the cost by using the "public land" the Paiutes use traditionally. Ask a Paiute and keep the Western Shoshone out of this matter.

nativewomn's picture
nativewomn
Submitted by nativewomn on
Colleen, how did you miss that, when told they would confiscate the cattle for NON PAYMENT OF FEES, he told them he had guns and would use them. Would you go into a knowingly-armed situation without being armed yourself? You're conveniently and snidely invalidating the rights of Native Americans to their land, regardless of tribe, and asserting colonial domination. Bottom line: ranchers pay fees for grazing on 'public land', he has refused to do so for 20 years, they finally decided to take action, and he responded by arming up. Of course the feds are going to come in armed, when warned they will possibly be facing being shot for doing their job. If the Dann Sisters and Raymond Yowell had to be subjected, despite any treaty, what makes Bundy special? Just because you know him?

nativewomn's picture
nativewomn
Submitted by nativewomn on
Oh, and all the stories about the turtle, mining, solar farms, Harry Reid, have all been debunked. The planned facilities are all MILES away from Bundy, as well, so there goes your red herring argument. And the Chinese company people keep parroting? Pulled out last year.
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