Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Controversial Public Lands Opponent - And Protestors - Organize Rallies On Saturday

Some of the biggest names in the contemporary iteration of the Sagebrush Rebellion — including Ammon Bundy — will be in Whitefish on Saturday. “Private property is one of our basic rights in this country,” says Laura Lee O’Neil of This West Is OUR West, the Kalispell-based group hosting what they’re calling the New Code of the West conference to explore land, water, property rights and jurisdictional issues in the Western United States. But others say the event does not reflect the ideas and values of Western Montana. “This conference sort of sits at the nexus of and ideologies of both pushing anti-government sentiment, anti-Indian sentiment and anti-environmentalism,” says Rachel Carrol Rivas of the Montana Human Rights Network, one of a bevy of groups planning their own event in opposition to the New Code of the West conference, on the same day across town in Whitefish. The group organizing the New Code of the West event Rivas is protesting started as a website. Its "Who We Are" page says Western states are “under siege from federal government over-reach” and that tribal sovereignty threatens statehood. The conference features a lineup of local and national personalities, including Montana State Representative Kerry White, a Bozeman Republican who supports increased motorized use on federal public lands and removing protections from federal wilderness study areas. Speaker Elaine Willman is the former national chair of Citizens Equal Rights Alliance, a national group that seeks to change federal Indian policies that it considers threatening to non-tribal members’ rights. Willman recently moved to Polson and is a staunch opponent of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Water Compact that’s currently before Congress. Other speakers include self-proclaimed experts on the Deep State, a theory that a so-called “shadow government” is working to undermine elected leadership, and on Agenda 21, a non-binding United Nations agreement about sustainable development that some groups say is a plot to deny property rights and undermine U.S. sovereignty. The climax of the conference is a talk by Ammon Bundy, who led the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon in 2016. Bundy and his family advocate for more localized government and say it’s unconstitutional for the U.S. government to own land...MORE

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