Also, Cliven Bundy? He doesn’t have some kind of ancestral claim to that land.
Bundy, a multi-millionaire farmer who hasn’t paid for grazing rights on public lands for more than 20 years, also stands to garner substantial support from some very wealthy enemies of President Obama. Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group backed by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch (which spent $122 million trying to defeat Obama and other Democrats in 2012), is already instigating a campaign against the Bureau of Land Management on Bundy’s behalf. It began a social media campaign, using the hashtag #BundyBattle, and is taking to the Internet to mock the time and money the bureau has wasted (some $1 million according to its poster) fighting the “little guy.”
Oh please. Multi-millionaires are not the little guy.
Unlike Bundy, who claims his ancestors were homesteaders on his ranch in 1877 and never ceded it to the federal government, the Danns, two Western Shoshone sisters, were not trampling over land set aside for sensitive plants and animals. Nor were they getting rich off the land while, in essence, robbing the taxpayers of grazing fees.
The Danns have lived without running water or electricity their entire lives. Their tribe, the Western Shoshone, have lived in Nevada and parts west since time immemorial. The land was Shoshone land, and the U.S. formally agreed that was the case when it signed the 1863 Treaty of Ruby Valley, which explicitly stated that the Shoshone would never have to give up their land. That is, until the U.S. began encroaching on the land, claiming it for its own without the tribe’s consent or knowledge.
The Danns resisted, and got walloped by the feds; the Shoshone resisted, and got walloped by the feds.
A now-defunct U.S. department, the Indian Claims Court, ruled against the Western Shoshone’s claims that the U.S. had stolen their land on the grounds that the U.S. had already encroached on it for decades. In other words, the Western Shoshone couldn’t reclaim the land because the U.S. had already taken it.
The Shoshone still resisted, so the feds gave them some money for the land, which the Shoshone refused – but when the Danns sued, the Supreme Court ruled against them, because hey, the feds had paid for the land.
Desperate for relief, the Danns finally asked the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination for help to recover the millions of acres of land in Nevada and bordering states that belonged to the Western Shoshone. The U.N. ordered the U.S. to stop its actions against the Western Shoshone, and agreed with all the tribe’s grievances. This victory on paper did nothing; the U.S. government ignored it.
Cliven Bundy’s ancestors were interlopers too.