Ammon’s Army: Inside the Far-Right People’s Rights Network
In addition to the racialized “threat from below” exhibited by many People’s Rights leader, a recurring disrespect for indigenous sovereignty and resources has been displayed in Ammon Bundy’s efforts, both past and present. This was seen when the armed Malheur occupiers undertook the action in the Burns Paiute homelands despite objections from the tribe. Bundy’s group also damaged a tribal archaeological site and caused additional costs to the Burns Paiute, for which two occupiers were ordered to pay restitution.
Moreover, Bundy has allied with far-right figures who oppose indigenous rights as well as those who have promoted political violence. For instance, in October 2018, Bundy headlined a “New Code of the West” conference in Whitefish, Montana alongside longtime Citizens Equal Rights Alliance (CERA) leader Elaine Willman and Washington State Representative Matt Shea (R-Spokane Valley). As MHRN documented at the time, a lead organizer of the event was Laura Lee O’Neil, a Montana-based supporter of the John Birch Society.
Beyond just appearing on a stage with a national anti-Indigenous figure, Ammon Bundy wrote the forward to CERA board member Christopher Kortlander’s 2018 book Arrow to the Heart. Elaine Willman and CERA have long been committed to the outright termination of tribal government and abrogation of treaties between indigenous nations and the United States.
This pattern continued into the People’s Rights network. An August 1 People’s Rights rally in Nezperce, Idaho, included Pamela Hemphill, author of a 2019 book that assailed participants in the mobilization to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline and defend the treaty-protected resources of the Standing Rock Sioux. A synopsis of Hemphill’s book, We Stand! We Rise! We Resist!: Where the Leftist Tactics Began & Now They’re Coming to a City Near You!, states,
“In this book, you’ll learn how the Leftist Tactics were ‘High Jacked’ by using a platform in the Largest North Native American Protest in history. They used the North American Indians past abuses, as the model for a NEW SOCIALIST Party.”
While waiting at the police staging area in Nezperce with Diego Rodriguez and others, Hemphill told Nez Perce tribal police of her book that, “You’re not gonna like it.” After being informed that they were on Nez Perce land, and as if trying to demonstrate the very definition of settler colonialism, Rodriguez told the tribal police, “Yeah man, you guys are the tribe guys. We get you. This is your property, man, we get it. We thank you for letting us come. It is your land, but in America, we get to do what we want to do. [Italics added]”
A defining feature of settler colonialism in U.S. history has been that, even when the federal and state governments and citizens voice respect for tribal rights, Americans often “do what we want to do” in Indian Country.
 Preacher, Amanda. “Tribe denounces Malheur occupation.” OPB. January 6, 2016. https://www.opb.org/news/series/burns-oregon-standoff-bundy-militia-news-updates/tribe-denounces-malheur-refuge-occupation-/; Hammill, Luke. “$3.3 million and counting: The cost of the Malheur occupation.” The Oregonian. February 23, 2016. https://www.oregonlive.com/oregon-standoff/2016/02/33_million_and_counting_the_co.html; Bernstein, Maxine. “Repair of two trenches, road dug at Malheur Wildlife Refuge cost more than $100,000.” The Oregonian. https://www.oregonlive.com/oregon-standoff/2017/01/cost_most_than_100000_to_repai.html#incart_river_home; Bernstein, Maxine. “Two who dug trenches at Malheur Wildlife Refuge to pay $10,000 each in restitution.” The Oregonian. https://www.oregonlive.com/oregon-standoff/2017/10/post_18.html.
 Boerger, Emily. “Rep. Shea participates in controversial ‘New Code of the West’ conference.” Washington State Wire. October 15, 2018. https://washingtonstatewire.com/rep-shea-participates-in-controversial-new-code-of-the-west-conference/.
 Tanner, Chuck. “‘THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR FOR CITIZENS OF MONTANA’: National Anti-Indian Leader Moves to Ronan, Montana to Fight Tribal Water Compact.” Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights. September 10, 2015. https://www.irehr.org/2015/09/10/the-revolutionary-war-for-citizens-of-montana/.
 Amazon.com. Synopsis of Hemphill, P.A. We Stand! We Rise! We Resist!: Where the Leftist Tactics Began & Now They’re Coming to a City Near You!. https://www.amazon.com/We-Stand-Rise-Resist-Leftist/dp/169214295X.
 North Idaho Exposed. “Justice for Sean Anderson: The Command Center.” YouTube. August 2, 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5CEgJoptLc.
Inside the Far-Right People's Rights Network
A Special Report of the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights and the Montana Human Rights Network
Copyright © 2020. Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights.