(The Guardian) -- Sometime in the early summer when the Sacred Stone Camp was just a handful of tents and the Dakota Access machines had not yet come to our side of the Missouri river, I got an email from a woman who said her husband was Cliven Bundy and that she wanted to bring her daughters to stand with us. I knew little of this gun-toting militia, but enough that I told her no, we are a non-violent encampment, you cannot come here.
When I began to look into the Bundy’s standoff at the Malheur Refuge, I became angry. That place is a locus of ancestral heritage of the Burns Paiute Tribe, which the Bundys knowingly desecrated. They reportedly dug latrines through recognized cultural sites. As a tribal historic preservation officer, my heart broke when I heard they allegedly rifled through some 4,000 cultural items that had been kept in the museum. Some of the sacred objects they destroyed were hundreds of years old.
The Bundys did not reclaim that land. It was never theirs. It is Paiute land.
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From the beginning, we at Standing Rock gathered in a spirit of prayer and non-violent resistance to the destruction of our homeland and culture. We came together with our ceremonies, songs and drums. Weapons are not allowed into our camps. The Bundys’ occupation began with threats and guns. It was violent from the outset, and the people they pretended to represent did not even condone it.