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Malheur occupation's Ammon Bundy to speak in Yreka

by Holly Dillemuth, H&N 5/16/18

Ammon Bundy, who led an armed group of individuals to occupy Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Burns, Ore., in 2016 to advocate for land rights, is scheduled to speak in Yreka later this month.

Siskiyou County resident Debbie Bacigalupi coordinated with the Siskiyou County Republican Women Federated to invite Bundy to speak at 6 p.m. Saturday, May 26, at the public fundraiser.

Bundy was acquitted in 2016 of charges related to the 41-day standoff at the eastern Oregon refuge, which drew national attention to the state in 2016.

Bundy told the Herald and News in a phone interview Tuesday evening that he hasn’t planned his speech for Siskiyou County yet, but plans to share his passion for individual land rights with Siskiyou County residents.

“I think they have some good reasons to be concerned with what’s happening in their area,” Bundy said, via phone from his home in Emmett, Idaho.

“The destruction of the dams is certainly a part of it,” Bundy said.

Bundy said he’s not an anarchist or a nationalist, and doesn’t fit the mold of the “alt-right” movement. He doesn’t even like to call himself an activist, but he said he may continue to advocate for individual land rights for those facing instances of injustice following the refuge occupation.

“They want to call us anarchists but in reality, we want to build confidence in our government,” Bundy said.

“I’m not affiliated with any party,” Bundy added.

His approach, Bundy said, is to encourage individuals to stand on and claim their rights, and then to defend them.

“I have seen a lot of injustices since I’ve been out (of jail),” Bundy said.

Bundy added that he considers it an act of "loving your neighbor" to stand with individuals trying to protect their rights.

“When people stand alone with the federal government, they usually end up dead,” Bundy said.

No current plans to visit Basin

Bundy said he gets various invitations to speak at events, though he is unable to attend them all.

“I honestly couldn’t tell you if I’ve been invited to the Basin or not,” Bundy said.

Bundy said he follows ongoing water conflicts in the Basin, but didn’t elaborate his opinion on them, just that he had one.

“I certainly don’t reach out to speak,” Bundy said. “I don’t get paid to speak, I don’t accept money to speak.”

While Bundy said he does want to address concerns within agricultural communities, he especially wants to have a broader reach.

“I think everybody eats food, and everybody uses the land and resources in one way or another. This idea of no use policies, conservation, it’s really a scam that these extremists have used to stop man from being able to use the resources,” Bundy said. “I like to do all I can to expose that.”

Organizers anticipate visit

Kathy Tyler, co-president of the group organizing the event, called Bundy a “gentle giant” and expressed excitement about the event.

“He’s just encouraging people to stand up for your rights and he’s tired of government overreach,” Tyler said.

“He’s not a rabble-rouser.”

Bacigalupi coordinated with the group to invite Bundy to speak at the event. She met Bundy and his family in the John Day, Ore., area through the widow of Robert “LaVoy” Finicum. Finicum died in a standoff with federal officials in 2016 while traveling to Grant County from the refuge occupation.

Bacigalupi, who is a national speaker on Agenda 21, a United Nations plan regarding sustainable development, believes the Bundys have been misrepresented and said they are a “non-confrontational” and “peaceful” family.

“They just want what’s right, and I think that describes a lot of us in Siskiyou County,” she said. “We just want what’s right.”

Tickets are $25 per person and there is room for about 250 attendees for a pulled pork dinner at the public fundraiser. For ticket information, contact Kathleen Bergeron Insurance Agency at 530-842-4400.



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