Friday, February 12, 2016

John Wrede And I Discuss The Bundys, Their Mormonism, And Their Connection To The Mountain Meadows Massacre Of 1857

Note:  John Wrede is a retired South Dakota Conservation Officer, Regional Wildlife Manager, and former Chairman of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Sage and Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse Technical Committee with more than 20 years of training and experience in grouse and other wildlife monitoring and management.  After retiring from SDGF&P in February of 2007 with 31 years of service to the State of South Dakota, he worked as a Biological Research Technician for the Northern Great Plains Inventory and Monitoring Network of the National Park Service in the Black Hills Region for four years designing and conducting wildlife, plant and water monitoring survey protocols.   An upland and big game hunter for more than 55 years, Wrede lives with his wife and family in Rapid City. This conversation between the two of us on FACEBOOK took place during the last couple of days:

A facebook friend and highly credible and educated pal of distant acquaintance suggested that the most recent "Militia Uprisings" in Oregon and the Clivin Bundy public land grazing fiasco in Nevada are directly related to these folks and their beliefs. After reading this account, it's fairly obvious where they have their head. 

Facts, information and articles about The Mountain Meadows Massacre, an event of Westward Expansion from the Wild West The Mountain Meadows Massacre Facts Dates September 7-11, 1857 Location Mountain Meadows, Utah Casualties 100-140 Mountain Meadows Massacre Articles Explore articles from the Histor…


John Wrede I see in the newspaper that these folks have returned to their geographic origins to mourn the passing of LaVoy Finicum whom the Oregon State Police killed after he attempted to get a gun out of his jacket pocket to try and shoot the officers. I'm beginning to wonder if there is ever anything good that comes out of either Utah, Nevada or Texas!
John Tsitrian Here's a take on Mountain Meadows from a Mormon--not sure if it's the "official" LDS view on the incident, but it seems authoritative:

mountain meadows massacre
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John Wrede I read this account in addition to a couple of other accounts and decided to post the version to try and avoid bias one way or another. This account was actually more brutally descriptive to the point of inflammation. Regardless if t...See More
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John Tsitrian John Wrede In this author's account "deep fear and paranoia" were the motivations for the Mountain Meadows massacre. I don't think there's a linkage between that and what the Bundys are up to. The Bundys' insistence that public land should belong to them has overtones of greed, power and contempt for the general public, not "fear and paranoia."
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John Wrede Well sir, I would guess you have a point, although in many cases of public land grazing permittee's and others of my familiarity, there remains great fear and paranoia of the federal government's intent and what they might lose or what it might cost them. Any time any of that management adjustments is mentioned, the first thing to happen is they run to the Congressionals and complain that "big bad government is being unreasonable and unrealistic and costing them huge hardship and money.) Congressional inquiries are impossible to deal with. Been there and done that.
In order to get a different perspective on the matter, attendance at a grazing district meeting or even a meeting of "The Black Hills Natural Resource User's Coalition" should reveal the presence of a thickly veiled fear that USDA/BLM is going to change conditions or their permit, charge them extra money, or cut back on their animal units to try and prevent damage. They have had those permits for so long, and have been publicly lauded as the quintessential guardians of the public's land that they believe they own it in every respect except what might be found in the register of deeds office. They become militant at the thought that grazing reform is necessary, if for no other reason than to try and protect what little productivity is left and to avoid having to deal with water quality issues created by the cumulative impacts of intensified grazing on the landscape. There is fear and paranoia there but it is not obvious. Greed and contempt for the general public is also there. Heck, I even see contempt for the general public in landowning relatives on ranches in Nebraska and acquaintances here in SD.

One of the best examples of these conditions can be found on the Big Horn National Forest in Wyoming where the Northern half of the forest undertook grazing reforms at least 15-20 years ago to improve range conditions, productivity, wildlife habitat, water quality, and mulitiple use. The effort has been largely successful in terms of improving many natural resource conditions. The southern half has had no changes and is quiet while the bickering and grumbling and fighting continue between local FS managers, permittees, congressionals and so on in the North. Fear of losing an entitlement is, for many of those people, a game changer that instigates a fight no differently than Bundy. Like most of these people, he doesn't own enough private land to make a living in agriculture and livestock husbandry and therein lies yet another problem. The insult to private producers that have worked hard and built an operation with enough land to sustain them.

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