Freedom Discussions

The Cliven Bundy Standoff: Wounded Knee Revisited?

Buffalo Hunt

We took away their country and their means of support, broke up their
mode of living, their habits of life, introduced disease and decay among them,
and it was for this and against this they made war. Could anyone expect less?
General Philip Sheridan, who presided over the expropriation of the Plains Indians, in the 1878 Annual Report of the General of the U.S. Army

In 1993, the same federal Leviathan State that unilaterally “modified” binding treaty agreements with Indian tribes and bands decided to “modify” the terms of the Bundy family’s grazing permit. 

This was done in the service of a doctrine even more insidious than Manifest Destiny: A new religion in which all human property rights – including, some adherents insist, the right to live itself – are to be sacrificed on the altar of “biocentrism.” The central tenet of that religion is that “Human beings are not inherently superior to other living things.”

In his book War on the West, William Pendley of the Mountain States Legal
observes that “the enormous might of the federal government
has always meant that the life of the West was in the hands of strangers living
thousands of miles away. Like the weather that can sweep down upon Westerners
and change their lives in an instant, the federal government has always loomed
as a distant threat.” 

During Babbitt’s tenure at the Department of the Interior, the federal eco-jihad specifically targeted “the most enduring symbol of the American West – the cowboy – seeking to price and regulate the rancher off federal grazing lands and out of business, destroying the economy of rural areas.” One of the first initiatives
undertaken by Secretary Babbitt in pursuit of his vision of a “New West” was to seek a 230 percent increase in grazing fees charged to ranchers on federally administered lands. Although the proposed fee increase was thwarted by a Senate filibuster, the effort to destroy the ranching industry continued.

After the fee increase was proposed, an Interior Department memo surfaced which revealed that Babbitt wanted “to use price increases as a straw man to draw attention from management issues.” While ranchers fought the grazing fee increase, Babbitt and company created “Range Reform ’94,” a cluster of proposed
federal land use and environmental regulations which Pendley describes as
“A Thousand and One Ways to Get Ranchers off Federal Land.”

During the late 1990s – a period in which Babbitt, appropriately, was mired in a scandal involving decades of federal fraud, embezzlement, and graft in the Indian Trust Fund System — ranchers rallied to hold off the federal assault. But like the Plains Indians, the ranchers were facing an implacable enemy unburdened with respect for the law and blessed with access to limitless resources. 

Of the 52 ranchers in his section of Nevada, Cliven Bundy is the only one who has refused to go back to the reservation. So the heirs to Sherman and Sheridan have mobilized an army to protect hired thieves who have come to steal the Bundy family’s cattle with the ultimate purpose of driving him from the land. 

Fifteen years after the Corinne Indian Scare, the final flickers of Indian
resistance were extinguished by Leviathan in the bloody snows of Wounded Knee
Our rulers clearly intend to use the standoff in Clark County to suffocate remaining
resistance to the western states land grab. The only matter left unresolved is
the question of how much violence they are willing to employ to accomplish that

Dum spiro, pugno! 


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