The American Legacy of Public Land Rebellion
The most recent manifestation of the Sagebrush Rebellion1 is a
mind-bending, consciousness altering, looking glass version of logic and reality. The sight of Cliven Bundy with his big hat, massive silver belt buckle, and his equally sizeable paunch, his unemployable spawn, the late, doggedly litigious Wayne Hage and his dutiful descendants, the swat teams of heavily armed, confrontation-seeking acolytes, equipped with flak jackets, AK-47s, second amendment signage, and “patriot” bling is, to be charitable, cartoonish.2 This clown car has emerged, clad in the sackcloth of “injured innocence”3 and professing to be the beleaguered natives of the Great Basin’s high desert.4 They announce rebellion against the evil federal Sheriff of Nottingham. In truth, only the Western Shoshone could legitimately make this claim, and, indeed, the Dann sisters are true American heroes.5 These characters at Bunkerville and Malheur are most decidedly not the like of the Dann Sisters.