Last updateMon, 20 Apr 2020 1pm

Just minutes before a massacre at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart on Aug. 3 left 22 people dead, a hate-filled, anti-immigrant manifesto appeared online. In it, the author, whom authorities believe to be the alleged shooter, claims to be defending his country from white American “replacement” and an “invasion” at the U.S. border, as well as from environmental destruction and corporate power.

“Some people will think this statement is hypocritical because of the nearly complete ethnic and cultural destruction brought to the Native Americans by our European ancestors, but this just reinforces my point,” reads the manifesto. “The natives didn't take the invasion of Europeans seriously, and now what’s left is just a shadow of what was.”

For decades now, warped ideas about Indigenous struggles have buoyed conservative rhetoric and white-nationalist fantasies, and have been used to justify racist violence. While members of the far and extreme right claim to share a hollow, disingenuous affinity with Indigenous people, their appropriation of Indigenous victimhood and rights language is providing long-burning fuel for everything from right-wing propaganda on Fox News to extremist manifestos and movements worldwide.

In 2011, for instance, a far-right terrorist in Norway killed eight people in a bombing and another 69 at a youth camp. In his 1,500-page manifesto, the killer argued that the rhetoric of white nationalism was ultimately doomed to fail due to its connections to Hitler. Instead of using language and ideas associated with Nazis, the author chose to exploit an “untapped goldmine” of Indigenous rights language. “We are no more terrorists than Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse or Chief Gall who fought for their people against the imperialist General Armstrong Custer,” reads the manifesto. “Our struggle will be a lot easier if European nationalists use smart and defusing arguments instead of using supremacist arguments which can be efficiently squashed through psychological warfare propaganda or by anti-Nazi policies.” To the author, embracing the language of Indigenous rights and victimhood was a softer, even sympathetic strategy that would embolden efforts to reclaim European land and culture from immigrants.

A few months after the Norway attack, a German far-right anti-immigration propaganda video uploaded to YouTube featured a Green Party politician and a stereotypical “Cherokee” Indian maiden—a foreign exchange student who hopes to become a naturalized German citizen. The politician quickly obliges—a dig at the party's “multicultural ideals”—and the maiden tells a story about the massacre of her people by European immigrants who were allowed to settle the land by traitors in her tribe.

The righteous xenophobia revealed here has plenty of company: In 2014, the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), another far-right German nationalist party, echoed the same sentiment in a meme of Hunkpapa Lakota Chief Sitting Bull, with a caption that warned: “Indians could not stop immigration. Now they live on reservations.”

“Nowadays, you see internet memes and videos on YouTube of people who tell the story of the conquest of North America and who skew historical references,” said Frank Usbeck, curator for the Americas at the State Art Collections in Dresden and former professor of American Studies at the University of Leipzig in Germany. “‘Look at the Native Americans who invited the foreigners as refugees.’”

Usbeck, who has studied the links between Indigenous people and white nationalists for years, began by examining the relationship between German perceptions of Native Americans and the Völkisch Movement’s “blood and soil” ideology, which has roots in the 19th century. “Constructing a national identity among Germans seems to have had strong roots in identifying with Native Americans and also setting oneself aside from many other Europeans,” said Usbeck, adding that this need to belong to the land and to connect with an “Indigenous” identity can be traced to early German nationalist studies of pre-Roman Germanic tribes.

Before and during World War II, Nazi propaganda declared American cultural imperialism was a threat to German culture, noting that it had destroyed the Native American way of life and comparing U.S. bombing campaigns in German cities to American frontier massacres. Usbeck calls this “co-victimization”—an invented affinity with the Native American experience of genocide and cultural loss, rhetorically linked to ideas of German victimhood. The Nazis thereby used Indigenous people to create a myth of survival, of a people fighting heroically for their homeland.

And Indigenous people remain potent symbols of outsider oppression for far-right extremism globally. In 2013, in Greeley, Colo., anonymous citizens bought two billboards that espoused pro-gun propaganda with the image of three armed Native Americans. The text reads: “Turn in your arms. The government will take care of you.”

Ammon Bundy’s 2016 anti-government militia takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge even tried to appeal to Native Americans: “We’re reaching out to the Paiute people, in the sincerest manner that I can,” said Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, a spokesman for Citizens for Constitutional Freedom, in a video posted to YouTube. (Finicum was later killed by law enforcement at a traffic stop during the occupation.) He continued, “Any claims that they (Paiutes) may have upon the lands, let’s begin that dialogue.” But the Burns Paiute Tribe quickly denounced the Malheur militia members for mishandling tribal artifacts and traditional land.

Earlier this year, a video featuring white supremacist Jared Taylor trod the same ground. “The story of the Indians is one of the strongest possible arguments for tight borders. Immigration, or more accurately, the arrival of European pioneers was a disaster for the Indians,” said Taylor. “We took their land, destroyed their way of life and put them on reservations.” The video ends with a final thought: Indians fought for their land, so why can’t whites do the same?

In the early days of U.S. colonization, white settlers waged numerous wars to displace Indigenous people. “This idea of making (colonial) invasion look like self-defense goes all the way back to the Declaration of Independence, where the British colonists, who were declaring independence from the crown, were simply making the argument that they were defending themselves against merciless Indian savages,” said Nick Estes, author and assistant professor in the American Studies Department at the University of New Mexico. “The El Paso shooter was referencing Native people as a heroic defense against invasion, when he himself was waging a kind of a terror campaign against actual Indigenous people who are crossing the border.”

The suspected shooter also allegedly wrote that the destruction of the environment, led by corporate interests, would limit available resources for whites, echoing the manifesto of the shooter who killed 51 at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March 2019, who considered himself an “eco-fascist.” Historian and author Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz says this anti-capitalist environmentalist rhetoric is designed to reach readers beyond already-sympathetic audiences. “He hits on certain tropes that make him somewhat sympathetic to Native Americans, and he talks negatively about corporations controlling everything,” said Dunbar-Ortiz. “It is a very manipulative manifesto by a very rational guy.”

The manipulation of Indigenous struggle and victimhood has been a part of white supremacists’ modus operandi in Europe for decades. Now, white male gunmen in the U.S. are now picking up the mantle.

“Hate groups have co-opted historical U.S. symbols in a weak attempt at tearing down any progress we’ve made toward including people of all races, creeds and backgrounds as true Americans,” said Keegan Hankes, senior analyst at the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit that tracks hate groups and far-right extremism in the U.S.

The El Paso shooter’s manifesto is the most recent anti-immigrant, hate-filled document to actually culminate in enormous violence. But since the shooting, the Guardian reports that police have thwarted seven similar plots by far-right extremists with racist ideologies.

“The idea of a parallel people aggressively taking land, taking whole swaths of territories—Mexicans coming in don’t have any power to do any of that,” said Dunbar-Ortiz. “It’s really obscene that he really is framing things that are completely different.”

It’s unlikely that the El Paso shooting will be the last white supremacist attack in the name of an imaginary immigrant invasion, nor the final use of Indigenous victimhood in a hate-filled manifesto.

Kalen Goodluck is an editorial fellow at High Country News, where this piece first appeared. Email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Published in Community Voices

At the heart of age-old disagreements about who should own and manage public lands in Western states—the federal government, states, or local communities—is one key document: the U.S. Constitution.

Supporters of transferring federal lands to state or local control, including the armed occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, often cite the Constitution, along with original statehood documents, to justify their cause. Here are three of their main arguments, and what mainstream legal scholars have to say about them.

Enclave Clause

In a Fox News interview two days after the Malheur occupation began in early January, a reporter asked ringleader Ammon Bundy, “How is what you're doing not lawlessness?” He replied: “I think that we have to go to the supreme law of the land to answer that question. And that is that the federal government does not have authority to come down into the states and to control its land and resources. That is for the people to do, and that is clearly stated in Article 1, (Section) 8, (Clause) 17 of the Constitution.”

That article, also known as the Enclave Clause, grants the federal government the following power:

“To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings…”

Scholars I spoke with for this story said it was unclear how Bundy would interpret the Enclave Clause to mean the federal government shouldn’t control public land. Perhaps he interprets the phrase regarding consent of state legislatures to imply that states can decline federal management. But either way, constitutional scholars say Bundy’s interpretation is flat-out wrong. The Supreme Court has consistently interpreted the Enclave Clause not as curtailing federal control of public land, but protecting it. There is a bargaining process between the feds and states to obtain exclusive jurisdiction over an area of public land.

“(The clause) essentially makes (a particular federally owned) land area an enclave, by giving it a different set of rules for jurisdiction,” says Deb Donahue, a professor of public lands law at the University of Wyoming. She says it has been applied beyond the “ten miles square” area it originally set aside for Washington, D.C.’s creation. When it comes to the West, Donahue says the reference to “needful buildings” has been extended to recreation areas and national parks. For instance, Yellowstone National Park acquired enclave status using that clause.

Legal scholars say Ammon Bundy is not only misinterpreting the Enclave Clause, but also overlooking the Constitution’s Property Clause, which further undermines his argument. The Property Clause, outlined in Article 4, Section 3, Clause 2, states the following:

“The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.”

Although challenged periodically in court, federal application of the Property Clause has been consistently supported in a chain of legal precedent that extends back to 1840. “In an unbroken line of cases, the Supreme Court has upheld federal management of public federal lands under the Property Clause,” says Michael Blumm, a law professor at Oregon’s Lewis and Clark College who specializes in public lands.

Tenth Amendment

Land transfer advocates have also often used the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution in their arguments. The Amendment reads:

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

In a recent entry on his blog, Cliven Bundy—Ammon’s father who was embroiled in another high-profile armed standoff with the government in 2014—writes that, “In the 10th Amendment, only a very few powers are given by the people to the federal government. All other powers and rights are reserved to the states respectively or to the people.”

But once again, constitutional scholars say that land-transfer arguments involving the 10th Amendment ignore the Property Clause, which specifically gives the federal government the ability to manage land use.

“We have 175 years of consistent interpretation of the Property Clause and then we have the Bundys. Which is more persuasive?” asks Blumm.

David Hayes, the former deputy secretary at the Department of the Interior in the Clinton and Obama administrations and a current law lecturer at Stanford University, also points to the Property Clause. “The Tenth Amendment doesn’t come into play, because the Constitution explicitly grants power to the Congress to regulate public lands under the Property Clause,” Hayes says.

Enabling acts

Bundy supporters and others who believe that federal land should be transferred to state or local control, have also cited agreements called “enabling acts” as evidence of federal overreach. Those acts outlined conditions under which new states were to be admitted to the union, and included agreements concerning public land.

In a 2012 op-ed, the land transfer movement’s most prominent voice, Utah assemblyman Ken Ivory, wrote that the federal government violated an enabling act promise “to ‘extinguish its title’ to the public lands.” In Utah’s enabling act, reference to extinguishing titles appears here:

“The people inhabiting said proposed State do agree and declare that they forever disclaim all right and title to the unappropriated public lands lying within the boundaries thereof ... and that until the title thereto shall have been extinguished by the United States, the same shall be and remain subject to the disposition of the United States...”

Most public-lands scholars say that state enabling acts actually justify federal land management policies, rather than limit them.

According to Blumm, enabling acts were a product of bargaining between the federal government and territories, prior to statehood. “They would agree on the conveyance of various federal lands to the states for various purposes, mostly having to do with schools, or roads, or state office buildings,” says Blumm. “In all those statehood acts, the states promised they’d leave federal lands alone…. They wouldn’t interfere with federal management.”

Overall, legal experts say the Constitutional rhetoric coming out of the Oregon occupation and the land transfer movement is deeply flawed.

“I think it’s fair to say they speak in generalities about very selective parts of the Constitution,” Donahue says of the Oregon occupiers. “They’re just not accurately representing what the Constitution says and how courts, including the Supreme Court, have construed it for over 200 years now.”

Following the arrest of Bundy and other militants, the matter will be addressed in court. “I think that Bundy got what he wanted: He wanted to get before a judge and make an argument,” says Blumm. “Unfortunately (for him), we live in a world of precedent.”

This article originally appeared in High Country News

Published in Features

Ammon and Ryan Bundy, sons of scofflaw Nevada rancher Clive Bundy, appear to have made an ambitious New Year’s resolution: Force the federal government, which has managed more than half of the American West’s lands for the past century, to relinquish them, at gun point if necessary, to the locals.

On Jan. 2, the Bundy brothers and a group of a few dozen or so militiamen and their sympathizers took over the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon and declared it a safe haven for well-armed“patriots” who oppose federal land management.

The group is demanding that the federal government release local rancher Dwight Hammond and his son, Steve, who reported to federal prison on Jan. 4 to finish serving time for intentionally setting fires in 2001 and 2006, burning up thousands of acres of public lands. They also want the government to hand over the 1.7 million-acre Malheur National Forest. According to OregonLive, Ryan Bundy said, “Many would be willing to fight—and die, if necessary—to defend what they see as constitutionally protected rights for states, counties and individuals to manage local lands.”

This latest action, like the Bundy affair of 2014, is little more than the recycling of old gripes from a small cadre of ranchers and miners. Their main complaint: They don’t want to play by the rules that tens of thousands of other public-land ranchers and miners abide by every day, mostly involving minimal fees for the right to use federal lands owned by the public. Cliven Bundy started refusing to pay grazing fees in 1993, and the Hammonds began their “rebellion” against the feds in the early 1990s when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service built a fence to keep their cattle from trespassing on the (now-occupied) Malheur refuge.

Though the militia folks attracted to the Bundy and Hammond tales of woe may not know it, the Sagebrush Rebellion is really a century-long pout over the end of the open and unregulated frontier. Its modern incarnations begin in the 1960s and 1970s, when Congress passed a slew of national environmental laws, including the Endangered Species Act, the Wilderness Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, and federal agencies reluctantly began to implement them. By the early 1980s, disgruntled ranchers, who largely ran local and state politics, formed the “wise use” movement. Backed by opportunistic mining and logging companies, they pushed against environmental regulation and for increased resource extraction. For a while, they found a sympathetic audience in the Reagan administration, but their dream of wresting the public lands from the feds gained no national traction.

The rebellion flared again in the 1990s, when President Bill Clinton and Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt tried to increase grazing and mining fees, brokered a spotted owl plan that ended the Pacific Northwest’s logging spree, and protected tens of millions of acres from development through executive orders. The “rebels,” led by ranchers from New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Nevada, pushed back with a “county supremacy” movement. Dozens of Western county commissions approved cookie-cutter ordinances declaring that the federal government had no authority within their borders, and they enlisted lawyers who thought they could, on constitutional grounds, “take back” the federal lands. The courts repeatedly rejected their arguments.

Now the rural West is going through yet another wave of rebellion, sparked by the anxieties of a recession-scrambled, increasingly multicultural world, one that has left places like eastern Oregon grasping for a future. The rhetoric the Bundys are serving up this week sounds mighty enticing yet all-too-familiar.

In a video posted on OregonLive, Ammon Bundy says the refuge takeover, which could last “several years,” aims to get “loggers back to logging, ranchers back to ranching and miners back to mining. At one time (Harney County, Oregon) was the wealthiest county in the state; today it is one of the poorest,” he says. “We’re going to be reversing this in just a few years by freeing up these lands and resources … by getting them back to where they belong.”

A new and noble New Year’s resolution? No. Just a worn-out fantasy that should be rejected by anyone who understands that the public lands are an irreplaceable national asset and that the West has moved on.

Paul Larmer is a contributor to Writers on the Range, an opinion service of High Country News, where this piece first appeared. He is executive director and publisher of High Country News, which has covered the American West for 45 years.

Published in Community Voices

Since Jan. 2, a crew of self-proclaimed militiamen have occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon. The occupation is a reaction to the sentencing for arson of Dwight and Steve Hammond, local ranchers who have become symbols of the Sagebrush Rebellion over the last two decades. But the action goes far beyond just one family’s fight with the federal government: It’s an escalation of an insurgency sparked by the Bundy Ranch standoff in 2014.

The Hammond family has been at odds with the Bureau of Land Management since the early ’90s, initially over grazing and water rights, and more recently over arson. The son and father were sentenced in 2012 and served abbreviated sentences—a year and three months, respectively. This October, the Hammonds were resentenced to five years each, with credit for the time they already served.

That aroused the passion of Ammon Bundy, son of Cliven Bundy; the elder Bundy made national news when he sparred with the BLM in 2014. Ammon Bundy has led a social media PR campaign for the Hammonds’ cause, producing a flurry of emotional YouTube videos and blog posts that rally support for the Hammonds and stir hatred for the federal government. In response to his urgent call to action, several hundred people walked in peaceful protest through the town of Burns last Saturday in support of the Oregon ranchers. Some of them were locals, but most were from out of town.

Saturday afternoon following the rally, word got out that Bundy had ratcheted the support movement to a new level: He and a handful of compatriots, including his brother Ryan, as well as Montana militiaman Ryan Payne, announced they were occupying the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, 23 miles south of Burns. They said they would stay there for as long as it took to stop federal overreach, and that they would be willing to fight and die for their cause.

While it at first appeared to be a repeat of the Bundy standoff or the Sugar Pine Mine incident in southern Oregon last spring, many of the individuals and organizations that rallied behind Cliven Bundy didn’t join the occupiers—and, in fact, condemned their actions.

Even before the wildlife refuge occupation began Saturday afternoon, Ammon Bundy was a controversial figure within far-right circles. Stewart Rhodes, founder of the Oath Keepers, the national constitutionalist organization that helped out at Bundy Ranch, called Bundy’s messaging “confusing and contradictory.” Rhodes criticized Bundy for putting out a call to action and incendiary rhetoric, without the full support of the Hammonds. Rhodes wrote: “At the very least, Ammon needs to make it very clear what he is asking people to do, and he needs to make it clear that he is going against the clearly stated intent of the Hammonds.”

News of the occupation blindsided other leaders of the Hammond support movement. “It was like: Wait, what did they do?” says Joseph Rice, head of the Oath Keepers of Josephine County, Ore., site of the Sugar Pine Mine incident.

“You HIJACKED what turned out to be a great and peaceful rally,” BJ Soper, of the Pacific Patriots Network, wrote to Bundy on Facebook. Rice, Soper and other Hammond-supporters have called Bundy “radicalized” and “fringe,” since he went rogue.

Chuck Cushman, a close supporter of the Hammonds and brainchild of the conservative wise-use movement of the ’90s, said of an email from Ammon Bundy: “Nearly all of what Bundy wrote was inaccurate at best. The facts were misstated and nearly all of what he talked about never happened. … Suzie (sic) Hammond (wife of Dwight) … expressed concern that statements were made that were just flat-out wrong.”

Bundy has refused to report how many people are camped at the wildlife refuge, but High Country News photographer Brooke Warren, who was at the site on Saturday night, counted 15 to 20 people. At least two were keeping watch in the federal fire tower. Rumors have circulated that Bundy may have machinations to occupy a nearby BLM building as well.

The dispute between the Hammonds and the federal government dates back decades. HCN reported in 1994 that Dwight Hammond, now 73, had made death threats against managers of the refuge in 1986, ’88 and ’91. He had also allegedly repeatedly violated a special permit that allowed him to move his cows across the refuge only at specific times. Hammond was briefly jailed in 1994 for “disturbing and interfering with” federal officials and then released after two nights in jail. Afterward, nearly 500 ranchers apparently rallied in Burns to support the Hammonds in their ongoing dispute.

The more recent fight is over two fires in 2001 and 2006. According to a family member’s testimony that is central to prosecutors’ arguments, in 2001, Dwight Hammond led family members in setting a blaze that burned 139 acres of public land in order to destroy evidence of an illegal deer hunt. Hammond argued the fire was meant to beat back invasive juniper that interfered with his cattle operation. Hammond lit the 2006 fire as a back-burn to lightning-caused fires, in order to protect his cattle and land. That backfire endangered the lives of BLM firefighters, according to Acting U.S. Attorney Billy Williams. 

In 2012, Hammond and his son were sentenced on charges of arson. Last year, Oregon’s federal attorney appealed the original sentence that was below the minimum required under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act. In October, a U.S. district judge sentenced them to finish the five-year minimum prison term, with credit for time they already served.

Shortly thereafter, Ammon Bundy began ramping up his PR campaign, using the Hammond case as a rallying cry for the wider Sagebrush Rebellion—the fight against the feds, with whom his own family had unfinished business.

Among the casualties of Ammon Bundy’s recent campaign are the local communities of Burns and Hines, which have become divided over the Hammond situation and its fallout. Some local businesses have put up “Bundys go home” signs, while others have said they will only do business with Hammond supporters. Protestors on Saturday threw pennies, some violently, at the county sheriff’s office to send the message that Sheriff Dave Ward is a sell-out for not standing with them.

“We are using the wildlife refuge as a place for individuals across the United States to come and assist in helping the people of Harney County claim back their lands and resources,” Bundy said Saturday. Yet, whom he is helping is not entirely clear. In public meetings Friday and Saturday, several locals worried that Bundy and militia members from out of town were concerned more with their own agendas than with the desires of Harney County residents. On a petition to President Obama to pardon the Hammonds, out of 1,700 signatures, only 157 indicate they’re from the county. Yet the petition states: “The residents of Harney County believe that they have served enough time and are asking the president for a commute of sentence for the remainder of the Appeals Court Sentence.”

One local, Shonna McKay, wrote in a blog post: “Does anyone in town really know Ammon or what his real agenda is? Has he come here and stirred things up for our best interest or is this his own personal vendetta? … I have friends and family who live along their marching route (who) are afraid to be home on that day for fear of something happening.”

Hines resident Diane Rapaport says Ammon Bundy and his compatriots have taken the local community “emotionally hostage.”

Since October, government and law enforcement officials in Burns and Hines have received death threats from Hammond supporters. According to a city administrator, as of Jan. 4, two city halls, a courthouse, some county offices and public schools were temporarily closed due to safety concerns over the recent events. Employees at the Burns BLM office are also on leave, for safety reasons, until further notice.

Ammon Bundy’s bravado and apparent disregard for locals’ desires echo the events at Recapture Canyon in Utah in 2014, when his brother, Ryan Bundy, took an ATV protest ride farther than the local organizers seemed to want it to go. County Commissioner Phil Lyman organized the Utah protest and asked participants to stop at the end of a two-track road, and not to proceed onto a more sensitive trail. Ryan Bundy disregarded Lyman’s request and charged onward.

In Burns, Ammon Bundy says he did meet with the Hammonds, who were grateful for his support. However, the ranchers say they did not request the call to action nor the occupation of the wildlife refuge in their names.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife have offered only generic statements about how they are responding to the situation. One employee at the local BLM office, who asked not to be named, told HCN that agency leadership has been as tight-lipped internally as it is in its public statements. The employee also said that the agency has discouraged staffers from attending public meetings about the Hammonds, not for political reasons, but for personnel safety.

Late Monday morning, Ammon Bundy and other occupiers held a press conference at the refuge. They read aloud a redress of grievances addressed to a number of public officials, which stated: “We hold compelling evidence that the U.S. Government abused the federal court system, situating the Hammond family into duress as effort to force the Hammond’s to sell their Steen Mountain property to a federal agency.” The document requested a response from the federal government within five days.

In response to reporters’ questions, Ammon said: “Statements are not good enough. We intend on going to work and assisting the people of Harney in claiming their rights, using their rights as free people. We have a lot of work of beginning to unwind the unconstitutional land transactions that have taken place here. And we have defense mechanisms that allow us to do it while we’re here.”

When a reporter asked whether any Harney County residents were occupying the refuge with him, he said no.

As of Tuesday, Jan. 5, the Federal Bureau of Investigation had reportedly informed Harney County Sheriff David Ward that the wildlife refuge occupiers would face charges. The FBI is leading a criminal case against the group at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife refuge.

Brooke Warren, associate designer for High Country News contributed reporting to this story. Tay Wiles is the online editor for HCN.

Published in Features