Western Shoshone activists.
(image by Photo: Chris Sewall/Western Shoshone Defense Project)
Wow, I am always puzzled at how lucky some people are as apposed to others. Presently, a lot of media fanfare and armed militia have come to the aid of rancher "Cliven Bundy." It seems that they have helped him win the day. Or, so it would seem at least for now.
Currently, his brothers in arms have successfully stopped the confiscation of his cattle by U.S. Federal Agents and the Bureau of land Management (BLM) authorities. Heck, he even got his cattle returned to him after they had him dead to rights grazing cattle for 20 years on land he did not own. Amazing! That's what I call one lucky SOB! Although, my intuition tells me the FED will soon get their money in full.
Call me Curious George. Now that Bundy got his cattle back, will the Koch Brothers quietly come to his aid and pay his fines for him? Or, perhaps some other filthy rich fat cat such as Sheldon Adelson? Will they both gallop in on their white horses with cash registers in their saddlebags? If so, expect a lot of future political posturing to be exploited out of this ordeal. Stay tuned for that GOP goodie. Hmmm, I would sure love to be a fly on the wall at the Bundy ranch when this all plays out.
Imagine that! A Federal hotplate was in the "on" position (with white rancher frog in pot) slowly simmering in the courts for 20 years. Then suddenly -- for no apparent reason -- Federal boots appeared on the ground in Nevada going after poor Mr. Bundy for repeatedly refusing to pay the Department of Interior money he owes to the tune of one million dollars for grazing his cattle on public land.
And, although I admit, I'm no fan of the BLM or the FED; something doesn't fit. To me, this whole Bundy affair seems more like a square peg being forced into a round hole for reasons not yet known. It almost seems staged... I do not know. Regardless, I feel a real sense of injustice when I compare the Bundy ordeal to a much worse incident that occurred 11 years ago to an honorable Western Shoshone family who fought a much worse battle and lost much, much more.
Mary Dann and her sister, Carrie were Western Shoshone ranchers, cultural and spiritual rights and land rights activists. They persuaded the UN to order the US to halt all actions against Western Shoshone land, a mandate that has mostly been ignored.
(image by Photo from Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources.)
Indeed, such was the case with Western Shoshone Tribal members Carrie and Mary Dann. I admit, this is personal for me. I say this because my parents knew the Dunn family. And my father, Anthony Guarisco, was especially close to Clifford Dunn and many other Native Americans when he organized protest events at the Nevada Test Site (NTS) back in 1991.
Unfortunately, the Danns did not have the devil's luck, like Mr. Bundy. Nope, they had no merry band of gun toting militia to help them out. Nor did they have any politicians in their pocket on their side of the isle. Sadly, just like most other honorable Native American citizens throughout history trying to live their lives in peace on their ancestral land, they got screwed without a kiss.
And just why is that? How do some frogs beat the slow boiling pot scenario more than others? Is a white rancher frog somehow more heat resistant than those of color? Truth or consequence -- is this some weird "pot" high that reeks of unfairness? What gives?
FYI, back in 1973, and in direct violation of the Ruby Valley Treaty of 1863, U.S. Government goons relentlessly ordered the Dann sisters off their land near Crescent Valley, Nevada -- not far from where the Bundy ranch is located. Boldly, the brave Native American sisters stood their ground and, in 1979 (at a time when bucko corporate money filled bureaucratic pockets wanting to exploit the land for mining, etc.), the U.S. Government attempted to buy them-off, offering pennies on the dollar to abandon their claim to their sacred land. In fairness of Native American customs, it was even put to a vote. And the verdict was crystal clear. Over 80% of the Western Shoshone refused to take the deal. Furthermore, the Western Shoshone rightfully demanded the treaty of 1863 be upheld and honored; and it was upheld by the United Nations and to this day, the United States (in direct violation) refuses to acknowledge it.
It begs many questions: Since when did Shoshone land become property of the U.S. Government in violation of the U.N.?
Why does the Government continue to falsely claim ownership of this ancestral Native American land, when it is not theirs?
What gives the U.S. Government the right to charge anyone anything when they do not own it?
This and many more questions need to be answered.
Perhaps this is a good time to note that Mr. Bundy said he believes the Federal Government does not own the land his cows have grazed on. I agree. He also asserts this land belongs to the State of Nevada. Well, since the U.N. agrees this land belongs to the Western Shoshone, perhaps rancher Bundy should pay his rent to the legal owner where his cows go moo -- to the "Western Shoshone."
Also, Mr. Bundy's son declared "this is how the west was won." Well, let's set the record straight here and now: I think most of us with half a brain already know the west was conquered by blood thirsty animals that brutally killed Indians and stole their land. And, it's also worth noting they enslaved many others with their barbaric human trafficking.
As I said before, the Dann sisters were NOT nearly as lucky as Mr. Bundy. In 2003, Federal agents conducted a series of raids on the Dann ranch. They came in full force with helicopters, ATVs, and men on horseback and these brutes confiscated/stole over 500 horses and many, many cattle without any legal authority to do so.
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