IREHR on Bundy Ranch’s Longterm Potential Impact on Indian Treaty Rights


An excerpt:

A second lesson from the conflict is the double standard employed by the federal government in enforcing its grazing laws. The treatment of Bundy stands in stark contrast to the human rights violations committed against Carrie and Mary Dann (Mary Dann passed in 2005) by the U.S. government. The Dann sisters, members of the Western Shoshone tribe, grazed cattle on their ancestral lands in what is now central Nevada. In contrast to the Bundy incident, where the federal government had clear jurisdiction over the lands, the Dann sisters exercised reserved rights to use the land under the 1863 Treaty of Ruby Valley – a treaty that ceded no lands to the United States, only granting the U.S. certain access rights to lands. The Indian Claims Commission – created in 1946 to “compensate” tribes for unfairly taken lands (but not return the lands) – decided that U.S. title to Western Shoshone lands had been obtained through gradual encroachment by whites – that is, United State’s title to the land was based on simply taking it!

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