Status of artifacts at refuge unknown, Gov. Brown pledges return to normalcy

Burns Paiute Tribe Charlotte Rodrique.jpg

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown released a statement pledging she will use everything in her power to return normalcy to Harney County, a day after eight members of the armed group that took over the Malheur Wildlife Refuge were arrested.

In the past couple of weeks, Brown had pleaded with federal officials to take action at the refuge, which was occupied by several dozen militia members for more than three weeks.

The refuge houses thousands of archaeological artifacts and maps detailing where more can be found.

"There's a huge market for artifacts, especially artifacts that have provenance, where you can identify where they came from," Carla Burnside, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's refuge archaeologist, said earlier this month.

In a statement released Wednesday, Gov. Brown said she was concerned about the residents of Harney County, the members of the Burns-Paiute Tribe and the potential damage to tribal lands and artifacts:

"As the federal investigation continues in Harney County, I want to acknowledge the forbearance of residents, including members of the Burns-Paiute Tribe, who have been subjected to significant disruption throughout this ordeal. I hear your concerns about safety and potential damage to tribal lands and artifacts, and over the course of the occupation, I have repeatedly conveyed them to our highest levels of government. Please know I am doing everything in my power to restore normal life to Harney County. My office will continue collaborating with law enforcement partners to resolve the situation quickly and safely and hold wrongdoers accountable."

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