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Oregon Standoff: Federal Land Grab vs. the Sagebrush Rebellion

Who owns the West

This article comes from

By Joel Skousen

The occupation of the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County, Oregon by a small group of armed protesters represents a new and confrontational tactic in the Sagebrush Rebellion–the decades old struggle of Western ranchers against federal control of state lands. While the majority of rancher disputes are against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) the US Fish and Wildlife Service has been just as ruthless–in this case expanding the wildlife refuge at the expense of neighboring ranchers. This week I’ll detail the struggle of the Hammond family, and of Ammon Bundy the protest leader. When you read the litany of federal abuse of ranching families, you will better understand why some ranchers are staging an armed resistance. I also give some suggestions on how this can be resolved peacefully.

The root of the controversy is a constitutional dispute that has never been properly adjudicated. Under Article IV, Section 3:2 (The Property Clause), it says,

The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States….

However, once a territory becomes a state, the federal government can only possess land, within that state for limited purposes: a national capitol, federal military facilities, and certain docking and warehouse facilities related to the collection of tariffs. This is governed by Article I, Section 8:17 which states:

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District [Washington DC] (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of Particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings [such as post offices].

Notice, those lands have to be specifically ceded by the states through consent of the state legislatures; they cannot be taken arbitrarily by government. The federal government got around this by making federal ownership of large parts of Western territories a condition of statehood. This had never been done to any state until the territories west of the Dakotas, down through Texas became states. Nevada was literally robbed of 84.5% of its land. In most western states the federal government owns more than half of the land mass. This is outrageous. Here is a link to a map showing the sad facts.

From the beginning there were private lands interspersed among lands claimed by the federal government, and the forest service, in particular, has engaged in a long series of abuses making it difficult, if not impossible, for “inholders” to gain access to their land or use it.

The BLM has likewise engaged in a myriad of tactics to harass ranchers, including the denial of long-held grazing and water rights, access to their land and even starting controlled burns which threatened private land and forced ranchers into a costly battle to protect buildings and livestock–all of this without legal consequences for the government. Here’s video proof.

Read more here.


Shorty Dawkins


  1. The outer banks area – part of it was gifted to the STATE by a wealthy family who specifically stated it was for sportsman and their families to use for that purpose into Perpetuity. The Feds took it over illegally due to a dispute between which agency- state- county would manage it. we could have a similar situation in Congressman Walter Jones district. Its my plan to make JOnes aware of this. The Feds have NO rights to this land and are slowly limiting citizens access to these lands and imposing crazy moratoriums and fees to access this area. following agenda 21 it appears the outer banks will be classified under that. I sense this is probably our next battlespace here on the east coast. Time to take it back and return it to the NC people.

  2. The full story is a long read but worthwhile for folks “back east”. It is very detailed and well researched. The tyranny by the fedgov in the west is overwhelming.

    This essay gives the background for the cause that the Bundys, Hammonds and thousands of others, now including Oath Keepers, have been involved with for decades.

  3. Thank you Oathkeepers for keeping us updated on the situation – other sites aren’t nearly so trustworthy and people are being misinformed.

  4. Today I downloaded the links to two stories. The contrast is striking. We have the winning argument, and if we work on it, a winning strategy could result. It will take serious “Unity.”

    This first story is from the times about the “Bundy Standoff.” As expected they tried to use buzzwords to sully the protestors reputation, but they actually exposed a greater truth. Read down there and you find that even in the stress of this situation, they have formed a community. That’s what stands between this oppressive government and us.

    In this next article you will find a culture of serious corruption by a very similar Government Agency, the National Park Service. They present as “Self absorbed, sociopathic Overlords.” It comes as you can see from the leadership that knew about these heinous acts, but felt they could contain the situation. It’s an interesting read and shows you just what we are up against.

    Be Well Patriots,

    Here is a press release from the Coalition of Western States (C.O.W.S.)

    January 13, 2016
    SUBJECT: Assemblywoman Michele Fiore “FBI Agents in Oregon posing as Militia.”

    The Coalition of Western States represents over 50 legislators
    and grass roots leaders predominantly in the Western United
    States dedicated to stopping federal overreach. Nevada
    Assemblywoman Michele Fiore of Nevada & COWS (Coalition
    of Western States) has released a statement regarding
    the Oregon Standoff. I just got off the phone with the
    former Fire Chief of Burns, Chris Briels, the Burns Fire
    Chief from 1984 to 2006. When he retired in 2006 the
    county asked him to stay on as the county Fire Marshall.
    According to the conversation I had with Chief Briels
    today at 12:26pm Pacific time, he disclosed to me that
    the Sheriff’s office and Judge Grasty has been telling
    the community that the “militia” have been following and
    harassing people. Chief Briels observed what he thought
    was “militia” poking around the Armory and following
    townspeople so he took it upon himself to pull them
    over. According to Chief Briels these men posing as
    “militia” were the FBI. Chief Briels was so upset he has
    just resigned as the county Fire Marshall. He has gone
    public with this information.

    Here is the video on Youtube of Chief Briels press conference today:
    BREAKING: Harney County Fire Chief Resigns. FBI Caught Posing As Militia At Local Armory
    from the Pete Santilli Show
    January 13, 2016

  6. Without a doubt they have been successfully INFILTRATED ….and these “imposters” are running around town harassing people ….and “the locals” have NO WAY of knowing these [One word deleted by Elias Alias, editor] are FBI Agents ‘in cognito’.
    Once again, the feds have shown us just how untrustworthy they are.
    This is NOT exactly a good development, and it decidedly ‘leans to warrior-tactics’ rather than what we were told – (which was that people were coming to exact “A CONSTITUTIONALLY SOUND SETTLEMENT). But the further we go into researching the feds, land owners (all fifty states, ranchers (all 50 states) ….and even the [One word deleted by editor] “Outer Banks” of NC?
    I hope someone in Burns has held a muster ….anyone who’s ever been there can tell you that infiltration only leads to one end or rather (any number of ‘very bad’ endings). I’ve never ‘caught wind’ of a peaceful solution evoked by The Feds, but perhaps they may have frigged up at least once and didn’t ‘draw first blood’. Rambo could fix up these [One word deleted by editor]…….. 🙂

  7. Mr. Editor ….my apologies for posting ‘things’ that needed deletion. I now ‘hear you’ and understand what and why you’d rather not have such needless language …and will comply.
    (Us older poops get a bit TOO mouthy at times is my only excuse)! 🙂

  8. Boy, I WISH that map of percentages of Federally owned land by state showed the percentages where it counts – every state west of North Dakota and Alaska. It would make an excellent RTI tool to carry in my smartphone.

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