When national conservative media fell in love with the story of Cliven Bundy, a rancher who invoked land rights in his objection to paying grazing fees for his cattle (and was assisted in his resistance by armed militia), those with longer memories and deeper understanding recalled the saga of the Dann sisters. Carrie and the late Mary Dann, Shoshone elders, have been resisting the Bureau of Land Management's claim to lands that are theirs by treaty, since 1973. As of 2002, the Danns had been fined some $3 million by the government, and twice had their cattle rounded up and sold off.
Due to the renewed interest in the Danns' story, Free Speech TV will air a documentary about them called American Outrage on Saturday, June 7. Free Speech TV is carried by a number of television services, including Dish Network, DirecTV, and Roku. The film will also be viewable at freespeech.org, which carries a live stream of of the channel's programming at all times.
American Outrage was directed by Beth and George Gage, who recently spoke with Free Speech TV about their film. The full video interview is below, but here are a few highlights:
On the Dann sisters' mindset:
"The Dann Sisters — it's not about money at all. In fact, if they wanted to, they could sell this ranch, that was homesteaded by their father, for millions of dollars… if they wanted to sell out. It's all about the connection to the land, to the earth. They get their spirituality, they get their feed, they get so much."
On the Dann Sisters' right to the land:
"All they wanted to do was make a living on their land. They owned a ranch … and they graze outside. That's what the issue is with [Cliven] Bundy and the Danns. And the Danns have a treaty to that land. We filmed it in Washington, D.C. And it's never been abrogated. And even so, even though they have a treaty to the land, they were always willing to share the land, all they wanted was the ability to use the land in a way that it would sustain them."
On Cliven Bundy's delusions:
"They were treated so roughly by the government … whereas Cliven Bundy has been indulged in his crazy ideas. And the land that he has said is his land, or that he has every right to have — it was Native American land.