YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


U.S. Auctions Cattle Seized From Members of Tribe Who Owe Fees

October 05, 2002|From Associated Press

RENO, Nev. — Despite protesters and the objections of an international human rights panel, the U.S. government auctioned off cattle seized from two Western Shoshone sisters in Nevada who owe nearly $3 million in grazing fees.

The federal Bureau of Land Management on Friday sold the 232 cattle for $59,262 to three unnamed out-of-state bidders.

Outside the state BLM office in Reno, about 50 tribal members, state's rights activists and other protesters picketed with signs that read "Don't Buy Stolen Cattle" and "BLM Cattle Rustlers."

The cattle were confiscated last month from longtime tribal activists Mary and Carrie Dann of Crescent Valley, who insist that the land under dispute belongs to the Western Shoshones. Agency range specialists say the Danns' cattle are damaging federal land that has been legally allotted to neighboring ranchers.

The Organization of American States' Inter-American Commission on Human Rights had urged the government to cancel the sale until allegations of injustice can be reviewed.

BLM spokeswoman JoLynn Worley said the cattle were impounded after the government was unable to negotiate a settlement with the sisters.

Tribal lawyers said the U.S. government has an obligation to adhere to the wishes of the 33-year-old human rights panel, which found in a preliminary ruling that the Danns' rights were being violated. Worley said that, although the U.S. considers OAS recommendations, they are not binding.

It was the third time in 15 months that the BLM has confiscated and auctioned cattle in Nevada for trespassing on federal land without a grazing permit.

Los Angeles Times Articles