The Paiute tribe is really getting fed up with the militia occupying federal land in Oregon. The latest straw came Wednesday when an occupier posted a video showing him rummaging through Paiute artifacts and documents. LaVoy Finicum apparently had good intentions. "We want to make sure these things are returned to their rightful owner … so we're reaching out to the Paiute people in the sincerest manner," he said, inviting leaders to pick up the relics he said were "rotting" in cardboard boxes, per Mashable. "Let's make sure that we take care of the heritage of the Native American people." However, Paiute leaders—who say they have a positive relationship with refuge officials—argue the militia is trying to seize land that's part of their ancestral territory, per the Guardian.
"I feel disrespected that they're even out there. It's like me going through their drawers at their house," says Jarvis Kennedy, the tribal council's sergeant-at-arms. "How would they feel if I drove over their grave and went through their heirlooms?" he adds. Though he fears some artifacts will be stolen, Kennedy gave no indication that he would go pick them up. "All the stuff they are doing out there, it's like a crime scene," he says. "Once this is done, we'll see what's missing." Last week, the tribe asked federal agencies to prosecute occupiers who "disturb, damage, remove, alter, or deface any archaeological resource on the refuge property," per Indian Country Today Media Network. (Read more Oregon stories.)