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Gov’t Sells Seized Cattle From Tribe

May 31, 2002

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RENO, Nev. (AP) _ American Indian and states’ rights activists say they may attempt to disrupt the transfer of livestock confiscated and sold Friday at federal auction.

At the Bureau of Land Management facility where the cattle were penned, demonstrators carried protest signs, one reading: ``God, guns, guts, gave us freedom and liberty.″ Members of the Te-Moak Band of Western Shoshone formed a circle, beat drums and recited prayers.

The BLM seized the 157 cattle last week because it alleged the tribe and rancher Raymond Yowell grazed the herd on public lands without a permit.

The BLM sold the herd Friday to two bidders for $27,444, bureau spokeswoman JoLynn Worley said. Yowell had estimated its value at $100,000. The buyers have until Sunday to pick up the cattle.

``We’re contemplating what we can do to hold up the trucks,″ said Jackie Holmgren, one of roughly 30 protesters gathered at the holding facility 15 miles north of Reno.

``This is a peaceful demonstration but we want to show we don’t agree,″ Holmgren said.

A federal judge refused to block the auction minutes before it started, but he ordered the government to hold the money until legal issues are resolved.

The BLM said the tribe’s livestock association owed about $2.5 million in unpaid grazing fees and fines that have accumulated since 1984. Allen Moss of the Western Shoshone National Council said an 1863 treaty gave the property to the tribe.

``Now it is up to the federal government to show how or when the Shoshone people ever lost title to the land,″ he said.

Government lawyers and state BLM Director Bob Abbey have said the issue was decided in the courts years ago.

In November, the BLM seized 62 cattle from a Goldfield rancher and sold them. Holmgren, a rancher and states’ rights activist, said he has received a trespass notice for alleged illegal grazing, but the BLM said it had no immediate plans to seize his livestock.

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On the Net:

BLM Nevada: http://www.nv.blm.gov