Essential Reading on the Incidents at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge
[Editors’ note: We’ve been following the ongoing incident at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge closely this week. To help us make sense of it, we turned to our friend Leisl Carr Childers. Ranchers, public lands, and a deep sense of history all reside close to her heart and she has brought a great deal of compassion and care to our understanding of the issues at hand. We asked her to compile a list of valuable resources, which we’ve shared here. Leisl Carr Childers is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Northern Iowa. Her book, The Size of the Risk: Histories of Multiple Use in the Great Basin grapples with the evolution of public lands management in the American West.]
For the past week, I have been fascinated by the events unfolding at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon where several members of the Bundy family, along with a number of armed individuals, have seized federal property and are refusing to leave. They mean to stay and leverage the federal government, variously represented in this case by the Bureau of Land Management, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, into a set of demands that are hard to understand.
In an attempt to get a grip on the situation, a number of news organizations have tapped journalists, other ranchers, and scholars to help clarify the situation. Below is a list of articles that I have found particularly intriguing and useful. This is not a complete list. My intent here is to capture early conversation and the moment in which a number of thoughtful individuals and organizations weighed in to provide some clarity to the situation. The question is not what is happening in Oregon, but how we are to understand these events. How we choose to view them will determine what we do next.
UNFOLDING EARLY EVENTS:
January 2, 2016
- Les Zaitz, “Militia Takes Over Malheur National Wildlife Refuge,” The Oregonian/OregonLive.com — Collected coverage by The Oregonian/OregonLive.com: Oregon Standoff
- Amelia Templeton, Kimberley Freda, and John Sepulvado, “Militiamen In Burns, Oregon, Break Into Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Building,” OPB News — Collected coverage by OPB News: An Armed Occupation in Eastern Oregon
January 3, 2016
- Emily Shapiro and Neal Karlinsky, “Militia, Along With Family of Cliven Bundy, Take Over Federal Land at National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon,” ABC News
- Associated Press, “Oregon Ranchers Reject Cliven Bundy Family Occupation,” CBS News
- Steve Russell, “Bundy Militia Musters Again Over Paiute Land,” Indian Country Today
- Cassandra Vinograd, Elisha Fieldstadt, et. al., “Ammon Bundy, Rancher’s Rights Protesters Occupy Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon,” NBC News
- Tim Dickinson, “WTF is Happening in the Oregon Militia Standoff, Explained,” Rolling Stone
- Daniel Politi, “Militia Occupies Federal Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, Vows to Stay “For Years,” Slate — Collected coverage by Slate: Oregon Standoff
- Carissa Wolf, Peter Holley and Wesley Lowery, “Armed Men, Led by Bundy Brothers, Take Over Federal Building in Rural Oregon,” Washington Post
January 4, 2016
- “Full Story About What’s Going on in Oregon,” Bundy Ranch Blog — Collected coverage by Bundy Ranch Blog: Home
- Ashley Fantz, Joe Sutton and Holly Yan, “Armed Group’s Leader in Federal Building: ‘We will be here as long as it takes’,” CNN News
- “Church Responds to Inquiries Regarding Oregon Armed Occupation,” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
- “Armed Protesters in Oregon Land Fight Give Demands as Ranchers Head to Prison, Fox News
- Katie Herzog, “Here’s What You Need to Know about the Crazy Ranchers’ Standoff in Oregon,” Grist
- Tay Wiles, “Malheur Occupation Explained,” High Country News
- Martin Kaste, “Armed Protesters Occupy Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Center In Oregon,” NPR News
- Chauncey DeVega, “They’d Be Killed if They Were Black: The Racial Double Standard at the Heart of the New Bundy Family Standoff,” Salon
- Levi Rickert, “While Feds are Noticeably Quiet on Oregon Occupation by Anti-Government Group, Interior Secretary Jewell Addresses it in Memo,” Native News Online.net
January 5, 2016
- Zoe Carpenter, “Inside the Bundy Brothers’ Armed Occupation,” The Nation
- Martin Kaste, “Why There’s No Sign Of Law Enforcement At Site Of Oregon Takeover,” NPR News
- Merritt Kennedy, “Native American Tribe Says Armed Occupiers are Desecrating Sacred Land,” NPR News
January 6, 2016
- Kirk Johnson, “Paiute Indians Assert Legacy on Occupied Wildlife Refuge Land,” New York Times
January 7, 2016
- Elizabeth Shogren, “Former BLM Chief: Bundys’ Pursuing an Agenda’ on Public Land,” High Country News
- Jonathan Allen and Jim Urquhart, “Pizza, Rifles, and Tension: A Night Inside the Oregon Protest,” Yahoo News
January 4, 2016
- “Forty Years of Sagebrush Rebellion,” High Country News — The organization’s collection, which reaches deep into the late 1970s, of pieces they have published on the unrest over public lands issues in the American West.
- Jon Krakauer, “The Fundamentalist Religious Views That Inspired Ammon Bundy and His Militia to Occupy a Remote Federal Facility in Oregon,” medium.com
- Leisl Carr Childers, “Cliven Bundy Revisited,” BlogWest.org (original article “Understanding Cliven Bundy,” BlogWest.org, April 21, 2014) — For more on the history of the multiple use concept, see The Size of the Risk: Histories of Multiple Use in the Great Basin (University of Oklahoma Press, 2015).
- Jack Jenkins, “The Bundy Family’s Odd Mormon Connection, Explained,” thinkprogress.org
January 5, 2016
- Quoctrung Bui and Margot Sanger-Katz, “Why the Government Owns So Much Land in the West,” New York Times
January 6, 2016
- Jason Heppler, “Federal Policy, Western Lands, and Malheur,” jasonheppler.org and BlogWest.org
- Nancy Langston, “In Oregon, Myth Mixes with Anger,” New York Times — For more on the Malheur Basin, see Where Land and Water Meet: A Western Landscape Transformed (Washington University Press, 2003).
- Erik Loomis, “Sagebrush Rebellion Politics,” Lawyers, Guns & Money Blog
- Betsy Hammond, “Supreme Court Already Ruled that Feds Rightly Own Occupied Refuge,” The Oregonian/OregonLive.com
- Joseph E. Taylor, III, “Western Grievances are Real, But Bundy is the Wrong Guy to Raise Them,” Reuters — For more on the history of resistance to federal land control, see “Resistance to Federal Land Control Didn’t Start or End with Cliven Bundy,” The American Historian, February 2015.
January 7, 2016
- Erika Bsumek, “Oregon Standoff Mirrors Westward Expansion,” Aljazeera America
- Marshall Swearingen, “The BLM has Armed-Up since 1978, but It’s Still Outgunned,” High Country News — For more on violence against federal land managers, see Defuse the West, October 27, 2014 special issue.
- Room for Debate, “Who Should Control the West?,” New York Times
- Louis Warren, “Neither States nor Settlers Wanted Ownership of Much of the Land Out West” — For more on the intersection of federal regulation and local control, see The Hunter’s Game: Poachers and Conservationists in Twentieth-Century America (Yale University Press, 1997).
- Charlotte Rodrique, “Don’t Change the Status Quo — Unless It’s to Return Land to Tribal Control” — For more on the Burns Paiute Tribe, see their website.
- Robert H. Nelson, “Give States Control Over Public Land Out West” — For more on policy of public lands management, see Public Lands and Private Rights: The Failure of Scientific Management (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 1995).
- Deborah Donahue, “Federal Policies Protect the Land” — For more on the issue of livestock on public lands, see The Western Range Revisited: Removing Livestock from Public Lands to Conserve Native Biodiversity (University of Oklahoma Press, 2000).
- Terry L. Anderson, “Federal Land Management Has Been a Disaster” — for more on privatizing public lands, see “How and Why to Privatize Federal Lands,” CATO Institute, December 9, 1999.
- Patricia Nelson Limerick, “Democracy’s Challenge to the Needs of Conservation” — For more on the history of the debate, see “A History of the Public Lands Debate,” Challenging Federal Ownership and Management: Public Lands and Public Benefits, October 11, 1995.
January 8, 2016
- Christopher Ketcham, “The Great Republican Land Heist,” Harper’s Magazine (original article published February 2015)
- Keith Nantz, “I’m an Oregon Rancher. Here’s What You Don’t Understand about the Bundy Standoff,” Washington Post — For more on the Dillon Land and Cattle Company’s operations, see RaeLynn Ricarte, “All in a Day’s Work,” The Dalles Chronicle, May 14, 2014.
- R. McGreggor Cawley, “Behind the Oregon Standoff, You’ll Find Big Questions About Democracy,” New York Times — For more on the political battles over public lands, see Federal Land, Western Anger: The Sagebrush Rebellion and Environmental Politics (University Press of Kansas, 1993).
January 9, 2016
- Alan Feuer, “The Ideological Roots of the Oregon Standoff,” New York Times
January 10, 2016
- Jack Healy and Kirk Johnson, “The Larger, but Quieter Than Bundy, Push to Take Over Federal Land,” New York Times
The Wikipedia Entry — “Militia Occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge” — installed on January 3, 2016 and edited throughout the week.