As of January 7, it has been more than five days since a group of armed militants, led by Nevada rancher Ammon Bundy, sieged the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Burns, Ore. The militia members are demanding that this federal land return to the local government because they believe that the local ranchers are the rightful property owners.
But there is another group that is technically the rightful owners of that land.
That group is the Burns Paiute Tribe.
Members of the Burns Paiute Tribe, a federally recognized tribe of Northern Paiute Native Americans in Oregon, spoke out about the siege in Oregon at a press conference on Wednesday.
"You know, who are the rightful owners?" said Charlotte Rodrique, chairwoman of the Burns Paiute Tribe. "We were here first."
She's right. In the 19th century, White settlers occupied the land that the Northern Paiute had inhabited for hundreds of years. The federal government established the Malheur Reservation for the tribe in 1872 and then closed the reservation after the Bannock War of 1878.