Armed occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge continue to use government equipment inside the complex, and to damage both the delicate ecosystem of the refuge and archaeological sites of critical importance to the Burns Paiute Tribe.
Amanda Peacher (Oregon Public Broadcasting), shared photos of what appeared to be a new road in the refuge and got confirmation that the road is new, and it goes through a vitally important area. The road connects a
bunkhouse with another road. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says these fence posts were newly removed since the occupation and the road now cuts through the previously fenced area. When asked about the construction, the militant claimed that the road was already there, and that militants had only removed snow from the path. It is known that they removed part of a fence to create the short access road. Rocks used to surface the newly constructed road within the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge appears to have been moved from an existing gravel pile in the compound to surface the road.
Holm said that the fence was in place “as a deterrent to keep fire crews from driving across the archaeological site.” One militant told OPB: “It was just a goat trail before,” , “People were slipping and falling.”
Members of the Burns Paiute Tribe are increasingly angry because nothing has been done to get the armed militants out of the refuge and away from their artifacts and the archaeological sites because some of the artifacts date back 6,000 years.
The tribe delivered a letter to federal agencies including the U.S. Attorney and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service demanding prosecution of Ammon Bundy and other armed militants occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. “If the occupiers disturb, damage, remove, alter, or deface any archaeological resource on the refuge property, the tribe is demanding federal action under both the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979″ and a “protection against bad men” provision in the treaty the tribe signed with the United States in 1868.
There are 4,000 artifacts belonging to the tribe in the buildings the militants are holding for three weeks.
One militant, who refused to give his name, again plowed dirt with a refuge bulldozer Wednesday. He wouldn’t say why he was operating the machinery, but in several places, sagebrush and vegetation had been newly removed, leaving wide patches of bare mud within the complex.
A member of the tribal council called Jarvis Kennedy said: “They just need to get the hell out of here.” “They didn’t ask anybody, we don’t want them here…our little kids are sitting at home when they should be in school.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service assistant director of external affairs, Jason Holm, condemned the militants last week for what he called “disgusting, ghoulish behavior.”