LAS VEGAS, April 17, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A parcel of land in Bunkerville, Nevada, about an hour's drive east of Las Vegas, is currently the scene of heated controversy, with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) claiming that local rancher Cliven Bundy owes the federal government over $1 million for years of accumulated grazing fees.
Insisting that Bundy has been using publicly owned land as ranchland for his own profit, the BLM recently went so far as to seize the rancher's cattle. Although the cattle have since been released following negotiations, the government says the grazing fees are still due.
But does the federal government really own the land it's assessing grazing fees for?
Not according to the U.S. Raelian Movement.
"The Moapas, a band of the Paiute Indians, still have a map showing that the land comprising the Bundy ranch was promised to them by federal treaty," explained Las Vegas resident Thomas Kaenzig, who is a Raelian Guide and spokesperson for the U.S. Raelian Movement. "That means the land really belongs to them. If Bundy should be paying grazing rights fees to anyone at all, it's to these Native American descendants of the original owners. They were there first!"
According to Kaenzig, the government's claim to lands that once belonged to indigenous tribes is illegal.
"The U.S. federal government repeatedly violated its own constitution by seizing large amounts of territory that belonged to Native Americans by treaty," he said. "That includes much of the 80 percent of Nevada that is today referred to as public land, since it was illegally appropriated. The particular area used by Cliven Bundy for cattlegrazing, along with the surrounding region, was taken from the Moapas. It's outrageous that the U.S. government claims that land when the Moapas clearly had a treaty designating otherwise."
Kaenzig said that injustice should be addressed, with the government paying reparations for the nuclear testing and other activities it pursued on tribal land.
"It's not public land, but stolen land," he said. "It's time to return it to its rightful owners!"
SOURCE Raelian Movement