BEND, OR -- It’s been over three years since the last occupier left the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, after dozens took over the Harney County facility in January 2016. But it’s getting renewed attention in two local TED Talks. TedX Bend takes place Saturday at Bend Senior High, with 12 people in the line-up. TED Talks focus on technology, entertainment and design, and are limited to 18 minutes each. Click HERE for tickets.
Local composer Chris Thomas will open the evening block of speakers with a presentation on his latest work, commissioned by the Central Oregon Symphony. "People around the country were hearing about Malheur for the first time in the context of occupiers terrorizing a small town. And they thought Malheur is a magical and wonderful place, all by itself, and it would be wonderful if the public could get back to knowing this." Thomas tells KBND News he drew inspiration from animals at the refuge, "I started transcribing songs from many of Malheur’s more famous birds and began to notice they had little bits and pieces that were very useful bits of musical information, I guess. And, they became small motifs, which I began to stretch out into much larger motifs and suddenly I realized within the birds was the foundation of the whole symphony."
TedX Bend organizer Moe Carrick says talking about the takeover in an artistic context, promotes healing. "One of the pieces of the symphony that I think is going to be so powerful is that it is a really different view and some healing, and the communities there remain disrupted. It’s not fully over; it’s never over, right? Something like that has a long shelf-life and a long impact. But, hopefully some restoration and some continuing healing through bringing more visibility into those places."
Historian Betsy Gaines Quammen will also discuss the takeover, as she digs into the spirituality of the land in the West, and the Bundy family, who was at the center of the occupation.