On Wednesday, the Washington Post reports, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) delivered vegan jerky—made of soy, seitan, and shiitake mushrooms—to the Bundy gang. Also on Wednesday, Paiute tribal chairwoman Charlotte Rodrique said that the milita was encroaching on land sacred to the Paiute people.
A PETA spokesperson, Lindsay Rajt, told the Post that one “hardcore carnivore” particularly loved the animal-free jerky. “He tried the hickory smoked primal strip,” Rajt said. “He said it tasted like salmon and he loved it.”
Meanwhile, at a press conference, Charlotte Rodrique condemned the Bundy militia, which has taken to calling itself the Citizens for Constitutional Freedom. “Armed protesters don’t belong here,” she said. “By their actions they are desecrating one of our sacred traditional cultural properties. They are endangering our children, and the safety of our community, and they need to leave. Armed confrontation is not the answer.”
According to the Guardian, the Paiute tribe collects plants from the wildlife preserve for medicine and crafts and uses parts of the land for religious and cultural ceremonies.
“This land belonged to the Paiute people as wintering grounds long before the first settlers, ranchers and trappers ever arrived here,” Rodrique said, “We haven’t given up our rights to the land. We have protected sites there. We still use the land.”
In 1868, the Burns Paiute Tribe entered into a treaty with the federal government that among other things, guaranteed the protection and safety of the Paiute people and their cultural resources. Six tribe band leaders signed the treaty but the U.S. Senate never ratified it. Without ratification, the agreement was voided and a legal transfer of land never occurred, Rodrique said.
“We never gave up our aboriginal rights,” she said. “We did have a treaty but it wasn’t ratified, so therefore it was a contract that was never completed. And so we as a tribe view that this is still our land.”
The treaty covered territory from Oregon’s Blue Mountains and Cascade Range into parts of California, Nevada and Idaho.
“Harney County residents don’t need some clown to come in here and stand up for us,” the tribal council’s sergeant-at-arms, Jarvis Kennedy, said. “We survived without them before and we’ll survive without them when they’re gone. So they should get the hell out of here. Sorry, but we didn’t ask them here. We don’t want them here.”
Ammon Bundy said he did not know about the tribe’s claim, the Guardian reports, but was happy to learn of it: “I would like to see them be free of the federal government as well. They’re regulated by federal government very tightly and I think they have a right to be free like everybody else.”