January 27th, 2016
Last night, eight leaders of the armed takeover at Malheur Wildlife Refuge were arrested outside of Burns en route to a meeting in Grant County dedicated to setting up a shadow county government the way they had attempted in Harney County. One of the occupiers was killed during the confrontation with police. The Rural Organizing Project mourns this loss of life, and hopes for a quick and peaceful resolution to the ongoing standoff without further bloodshed.
Despite the FBI making these arrests, the situation in Harney County is far from resolved. Not all militants have left the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. Dozens of militiamen from the Pacific Patriot Network remain in Burns, and paramilitary groups are pouring in from out-of-state. The community is still frightened, many folks choosing to keep their children home from school today to remain in the safety of their homes.
It is clear that the militants are attempting to export their tactics to other counties, championing their “successes” in Harney County, making many in Eastern Oregon consider if their community could be next. In fact, over 30 residents protested last night’s meeting in Grant County to set up a misleadingly named “Committee of Safety”, not wanting their community to be the next site of an armed standoff.
Now more than ever is the time for those of us who oppose these armed actions to raise our collective voices: we do not accept that our political differences should be settled by armed vigilantism and tactics of fear and intimidation; our communities have a rural tradition of collaboration, conversation and resolving disputes without resorting to threats or violence.
Let’s show our solidarity with the people of Harney County and the Burns Paiute Tribe. Armed occupations are not welcome in Burns, in Harney County, or anywhere in Oregon!
Tips for Planning Your Local Day of Action:
Whether it is a group of a few people holding signs or dozens marching down main street, this is rural Oregon’s chance to raise our voices collectively!
Download this flyer and add the information about your local event. Email it far and wide. Be sure to send ROP your event details so we can send it along to fellow ROPers living your county!
Read ROP’s Press Statement for the Day of Action. Download this version to use as press release for your local event.
Remember to take a few pictures and share them on Facebook. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com and we’ll put them on ROP’s Facebook page!
Remember: an easy way to create an action is to find a friend or two, make some signs saying “No to Militias” and take a picture of yourselves on the sidewalk. Send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Or use this as an opportunity to collect donations for Harney County and Burns Paiute Tribe local programs. More details below.
The people of Harney County, and the Burns Paiute Tribe have been through a lot and deserve our support. Join us in emphasizing the very real needs of the folks who live near the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by showing your support in one of these ways:
1. Donate to the The Burns Paiute Tribe’s Tu-Wa-Kii-Nobi after school “Kid’s House” program
2. Buy a ticket for a local to attend the Harney District Hospital’s a Sip for the Cure Masquerade Tea Party fundraiser for Communities Assisting Neighbors with Cancer (CAN Cancer). Tickets for this event are $8 and must be sent in by mail. Please write a check today to CAN Cancer and mail it to:
Harney District Hospital
Attn Savanna Boll
557 W. Washington
Burns, OR 97720
Since you must use the postal service anyway, please take the time to include a Thank You card to the people of Harney County to let them know we stand with them during this difficult time.
3. When your community organizes a protest, rally, or vigil on Saturday, January 30th take one more step: Submit a letter to the editor to the Burns Times-Herald expressing your community’s support for the people of Harney County and the Burns Paiute Tribe.
Contact the paper at their website: http://btimesherald.com/
Or call the paper at 541-573-2022
Cara & Jessica