On Jan. 5, Ammon Bundy, the leader of the armed militia that is occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, said that God gave land to man, not the government (video below).
Bundy called “The Liberty Roundtable” radio program to justify his group's occupation per the Bible, according to RightWingWatch.org:
We read in Genesis where God gives the earth to man. He did not give it to government. He gave it to man to care and to cultivate, and that means to take care of it and to use it. And that is necessary and that is what the Lord has done.
And so we have a situation here where the government is saying, "No, it's ours. And with your money we're going to buying it, and keep pushing and taking it. And with regulations that we make we're going to ruin you so you have to sell it."
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And then the people never gave them that authority in the first place, and so we had to make a very solemn decision here and say, "Look, here this is where we're at. We know we cannot allow what happened to the Hammonds to happen to other people. we understand that. We can't let this case to become a precedent, so we know we have to do something, no matter what, or it's going to be our children and our homes and all of that."
Charlotte Rodriquez, leader of the Burns Paiute tribe, held a press conference on Jan. 6 to deliver a stinging rebuke to the militia members, whom she called "protesters," notes The Associated Press.
"The protesters have no right to this land," Rodriquez said. "It belongs to the native people who live here."
Rodriquez added that she "had to laugh" at Bundy's demand that the federal government give the refuge over to the locals because she knew the Nevada rancher wasn't referring to her tribe. The Burns Paiute Reservation is just north of Burns, Oregon. Although the reservation is separate from the wildlife refuge that Bundy's militia is occupying, the tribe still considers it part of their ancestral land.
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Rodriquez added that the militia members are "desecrating one of our sacred sites."
Meanwhile, Dwight Hammond and his son, Steven Hammond, whom Bundy says his group is fighting for, reported to prison on Jan. 4 to serve their jail sentences for arson convictions three years ago.