Bears Ears National Monument

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Bears Ears National Monument
Hoon’Naqvut, Shash Jaaʼ, Kwiyagatu Nukavachi, Ansh An Lashokdiwe
IUCN category V (protected landscape/seascape)
Day Time in Indian Creek.jpg
Indian Creek Canyon and the Sixshooter Peaks
Map showing the location of Bears Ears National Monument
Map showing the location of Bears Ears National Monument
Map showing the location of Bears Ears National Monument
Map showing the location of Bears Ears National Monument
Nearest city Blanding, Utah, US
Coordinates 37°42′N 109°55′W / 37.70°N 109.92°W / 37.70; -109.92Coordinates: 37°42′N 109°55′W / 37.70°N 109.92°W / 37.70; -109.92
Area 1,351,849 acres (547,074 ha)
Established December 28, 2016
Governing body Bureau of Land Management/United States Forest Service
Website Bears Ears National Monument

Bears Ears National Monument is a United States National Monument located in San Juan County in southeastern Utah. The monument protects 1,351,849 acres (547,074 ha) of public land surrounding the Bears Ears, a pair of mesas. The name of the region is the same in each of the native languages represented there; the names are listed in the presidential proclamation as "Hoon’Naqvut, Shash Jáa [sic], Kwiyagatu Nukavachi, Ansh An Lashokdiwe" meaning 'Bears Ears'.[1][2]

The area within the monument is largely undeveloped and contains a wide array of historic, cultural and natural resources. The monument is co-managed by the Bureau of Land Management and United States Forest Service (through the Manti-La Sal National Forest), along with a coalition of five local Native American tribes; the Navajo Nation, Hopi, Ute Mountain Ute, Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation, and the Pueblo of Zuni, all of which have ancestral ties to the region. The monument borders Canyonlands National Park and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and surrounds Natural Bridges National Monument. The monument includes the Valley of the Gods, Indian Creek Canyon, the western part of the Manti-La Sal National Forest's Monticello unit, and the Dark Canyon Wilderness.

On June 12, 2017 Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke "proposed significantly scaling back the borders" of Bears Ears, a move unprecedented in the history of U.S. national monuments.[3][4] Local farmers and ranchers want a "rollback of the protected areas"; others want to drill for oil.[3]

Features and management

The monument is named Bears Ears for a pair of buttes that rise to an elevation of 8,700 feet (2,700 m), more than 2,000 feet (610 m) above the surrounding Colorado Plateau. Capped by Wingate Sandstone, the buttes and surroundings have long been held as sacred or significant by a number of the region's Native American tribes. Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings dated to more than 3,500 years ago have been discovered in the region, just some of the estimated 100,000 archaeological sites protected within the monument.[5] The distinctive Comb Ridge monocline cuts across the monument, and the 47,116 acres (19,067 ha) Dark Canyon Wilderness protects roadless, undeveloped canyons dropping to the Colorado River.[6]

Of the some 1.35 million acres of the monument, the Bureau of Land Management manages 1.06 million acres and the U.S. Forest Service manages 289,000 acres.[7] The vast majority of the land within the national monument is federal land; some 109,100 acres of land within the boundaries of the monument are owned by the State of Utah, while 12,600 acres are privately owned.[7] These state-owned and privately owned lands within the monument's boundaries are not part of the national monument, and will not be "unless subsequently and voluntarily acquired" by the United States.[7] The designation of the monument does not affect the rights of owners of land in or adjacent to the monument's boundaries to access or use their property.[7]

Map of the monument boundaries

Part of the national monument lies in the Monticello Unit of the Manti-La Sal National Forest.[7] The monument is co-managed by the Bureau of Land Management and United States Forest Service (through the Manti-La Sal National Forest), along with a coalition of five local Native American tribes; the Navajo Nation, Hopi, Ute Mountain Ute, Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation, and the Pueblo of Zuni, all of which have ancestral ties to the region.[8][7] The monument borders Canyonlands National Park and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and surrounds Natural Bridges National Monument.[9]

There are six cultural special management areas including the "Alkali Ridge National Historic Landmark,[10] the Hole-in-the-Rock Historical Trail and the Grand Gulch, Big Westwater Ruin, Dance Hall Rock, Sand Island Petroglyph Panel, the Newspaper Rock Petroglyph Panel, and the Butler Wash Archaeological District National Register site."[11]:2,3

Ecological resiliency is strongest in places that are the least disturbed and most biodiverse. Bears Ears is a resilient landscape. Navajo people have a term for such places of ecological rejuvenation: we call them Nahodishgish, or “places to be left alone.

— Bears Ears: A Native Perspective October 2015 p.13

Pre-history and history

There are over 100,000 archaeological sites protected within the monument. The buttes and surroundings have long been held as sacred or significant by a number of the region's Native American tribes. In their proposal to have Bears Ears designated as a National Monument, the Bears Ears Intertribal Coalition (BEITC) described the 1.9 million acres on the southeastern Utah canyonlands Colorado Plateau as ancestral land[12][13] SUWA described the Bears Ears as "the most significant unprotected cultural landscape in the U.S."[14][5]

As early as 13,000 years ago, Clovis people, who are considered to be the ancestors of most of the indigenous cultures of the Americas,[15][16]:228[17][18][19] hunted in Cedar Mesa, most of which is now included in the Bears Ears National Monument. Their tools, including the "Clovis points", have been found there. One of the oldest known archaeological sites with Clovis tools in Utah is Lime Ridge Clovis Site.[1]

Regional map of Ancient Pueblo Peoples, (previously known as Anasazi), centered on the Four Corners

Following the Clovis people — at least 2,500 years ago — Ancestral Puebloans began to occupy the Bears Ears area. They left behind "baskets, pottery, and weapons".[1] These are the ancestors of the Hopi and Zuni people who "moved from foraging to farming about 3,500 years ago".[13]:8,9 Archaeological sites of prehistoric American southwestern culture dating 3,000 to 2,000 ago, contained a large number of baskets used for storage of corn and for burial. The pre-Ancestral Puebloans culture became known as the Basketmaker culture. The next period the Pueblo I Era began about AD 500 followed by Pueblo II and III. The "complex cultural history" of these early farmers is visible in the remains of "single family dwellings, granaries, kivas, towers, and large villages and roads linking them together".[1]

Monarch Cave Ruin cliff dwelling on Comb Ridge

In Comb Ridge,(Navajo: Tséyíkʼáán[20])[21] — a one-mile wide and 80-mile long "dramatic geologic fold" — [21] where some of the best-preserved cliff dwellings remain, Ancestral Puebloan lived in the "alcoves and grew corn"[21] from about 900 to 1350. They relied heavily on domesticated corn, beans, and squash and a domesticated breed of turkey (Meleagris gallopavo).[22] In the Pueblo II period, they "construct[ed] reservoirs, checkdams, and farming terraces in an effort to capture and conserve water for agricultural use".[23] By c. 1250 the San Juan home of the Ancient Puebloans was "one of the most populous parts of North America."[24]

Between the "mid-1200s and 1285" "nearly 30,000 people disappeared" from the San Juan region and resettled in the Rio Grande area of New Mexico[24] and Arizona.[13]:9 They suddenly walked away from their home, leaving behind cooking pots and baskets. A 2015 article in Nature called it "one of the greatest vanishing acts documented in human history" in which the San Juan region "became almost instantly a ghost land."[24] A "monster drought" destabilized the region in the 1200s and Mesa Verde became overcrowded. When a second drought hit in the late 1200s, the mass exodus began.[24]

Archaeologists and the Hopi "trace Hopi ancestry to the Ancestral Pueblo people, whom the Hopi call Hisatsinom meaning "our ancestors".[25]:79 "The Hopi had always considered the land occupied by their ancestors to be theirs: bounded by the junction of the San Juan and Colorado rivers in the north, the Arizona-New Mexico state line in the east, the Mogollon and Zuni rim on the south and the San Francisco peaks to the west."[25]:82

The Zunis, who are descendants of both the Ancestral Pueblo and Mogollon inhabited the deserts of Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, and southern Colorado "for a very long time". They "started irrigated cultivation of corn" 3000 years ago. They have been in their "present location for up to 4,000 years".[26]:328–9[27] [28][29]:8

In the early 16th century Native American ancestral lands, now called Four Corners, was claimed by Spain as part of New Spain.

In the 1860s the Navajos were forced to leave their ancestral lands in what became known as the long walk to Fort Sumner.[30] However, many Utah Navajos were able to stay in southern Utah by hiding in canyons. The history of these Navajo "differs somewhat from that of other Navajos due to years of their interactions with Utes and Paiutes as well as Mormon and non-Mormon settlers, ranchers, and traders".[31]

In the 1880s John N. Macomb and Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden published maps and descriptions of the ridge.[32]:123 In 1880, 230 Mormon pioneers — the San Juan Mission expedition — followed the 200 mi (320 km)-Hole in the Rock Trail" down "Cedar Mesa to reach Bluff, Utah where they established the first Mormon settlement in Bluff in southeastern Utah.[13]:7,8

In 1906 President Theodore Roosevelt signed into law the Antiquities Act of 1906 which gave presidents the power "to create national monuments—a kind of second-tier national park—when federal land contains objects that are threatened by outside forces or which are especially deserving of emergency protection."[33] in "recognition of the enduring power and dignity emanating from the earliest societies on this continent."[13]:39 According to a 2017 article in The Atlantic, the "act was explicitly passed to shield sites of historical or indigenous importance from pot hunting, in which Americans would loot artifacts from archaeological sites or abandoned dwellings and then sell them on the illicit market."[33] Bears Ears has been looted and vandalized over a number of decades.[12]:1

In the 1930s, the area that is now Bears Ears National Monument, was included in an unsuccessful proposal to establish an Escalante National Monument of 4,000,000 acres (1,600,000 ha).[34]

In 1943, western historian and novelist David Lavender (1910-2003) described the area in his book One Man's West[35] as "a million and a quarter acres of staggering desolation between the San Juan and Colorado rivers, a vast triangle of land that even today is not completely mapped."[34]

One of the early catalysts for securing Bears Ears status as monument was the June 10, 2009 joint raid called Operation Cerberus Action conducted by FBI and U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) agents—"the nation’s largest investigation of archaeological and cultural artifact thefts"—[36] in Blanding, a small town on Bears Ears eastern boundary.[37][38]

In March 2009, President Obama signed former Utah Senator Rob Bennett’s Washington County Lands Bill, "many counties throughout Utah requested inclusion in the next bill"[39] Senator Bennett invited Native people in San Juan County, Utah to engage in discussions on public land management of Bears Ears. San Juan County includes parts of Canyonlands National Park, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Hovenweep National Monument, Manti-La Sal National Forest and all of Natural Bridges National Monument, Rainbow Bridge National Monument and Bears Ears National Monument. The "ancestral lands of Bears Ears lie outside reservation boundaries" but "hold special historical and spiritual significance for regional Native people".[40] The Utah Tribal Leaders Association began regular discussions on land-use negotiations to "advance Native American interests on public lands".[39]

In 2010, the Utah Diné Bikéyah (UDB) began working on a draft to be sent to "elected officials who were compiling a land-use bill". The UDB draft was endorsed by "all seven Chapter Houses in Utah." "Dine", which means "people", is the name Navajo people traditionally and historically use to refer to themselves.[31] In 2010 Bennett became one of the most prominent targets of the Tea Party Movement, on the grounds that he was insufficiently conservative. Mitt Romney strongly endorsed Bennett but he was denied a place on the primary ballot by the 2010 Utah State Republican Convention.[41] With Senator Bennett forced out of office, the draft was not submitted.[40]

In 2011 the UDB "engage[d] politically" representing Utah Navajos in the "early stages of the Public Lands Initiative process (PLI)".[40] They published a book entitled Diné Bikéyah which compiled interviews with local elders and traditionalists that they had collected since 2010.[40]

In 2012 the Utah Diné Bikéyah (UDB) — Navajoland — officially formed as an organization. The UDB spent 2012 in meetings with the Navajo Nation — the largest reservation in the United States, extending into the states of Utah, Arizona and New Mexico and covering over 27,000 square miles (70,000 km2).[42] The Navajo Nation and the signed a Memorandum of Understanding to "identify conservation areas, set aside wilderness, propose mineral zones, and pursue economic development opportunities."[40]

In 2013, Utah Representative Rob Bishop announced the establishment of the Utah Public Lands Initiative (UPLI).[43][44] In a report prepared by Bishop, Jason Chaffetz, and Chris Stewart, the Utah Public Lands Initiative was described as a "locally driven initiative" to bring resolution to some of the "most challenging land disputes in the State of Utah". The initiative is "rooted in the belief that conservation and economic development can coexist to make Utah a better place to live, work, and visit".[45] The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) participated in negotiations with Bishop and Chaffetz and their team "to try and find a compromise that would provide lasting protection for Utah’s ... public lands".[14]

In 2014, the National Trust for Historic Preservation—in partnership with the All Pueblo Council of Governors, Friends of Cedar Mesa, Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, the Conservation Lands Foundation, and others—added Bears Ears to its National Treasures program.[46] In 2016, the National Trust included Bears Ears on its annual America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list.[47]

In July 2015, representatives from the Hopi, Navajo, Ute Mountain Ute, Pueblo of Zuni, and Ute Indian Tribe formed the "historic"[14] Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition (BEITC).[48][11] Professor Charley Wilkinson from the University of Colorado, who had a "long history of working on the Colorado Plateau", began working with BEITC on a "pro bono basis as senior advisor" soon after its formation. Wilkinson had drafted the 1996 presidential proclamation creating the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.[49][50] [51] In October 2015, the BEITC submitted a proposal to President Barack Obama, seeking the designation of 1,900,000 acres (770,000 ha) as a national monument which would include Cedar Mesa, Indian Creek, White Canyon, Abajo Mountains, Comb Ridge, Valley of the Gods, and the confluence of the San Juan and Colorado Rivers.[52][53] The SUMA described how a "historic coalition of Native American Tribes" requested for the Bears Ears National Monument designation to "provide them with co-management authority to protect their ancestral homelands".[14]

On July 13, 2016 Utah Representative Rob Bishop unveiled a draft legislation entitled "Utah Public Lands Initiative Act" (UPLI), a bill to "provide greater conservation, recreation, economic development and local management of Federal lands in Utah, and for other purposes".[54] Bishop's UPLI draft bill provided protections for 1,100,000 acres (450,000 ha) through several smaller wilderness areas and two national conservation areas.[55] According to a December 29, 2016 The New York Times article, Bishop, who is among those most critical of the Antiquities Act,[56] opposes the designation of the Bears Ears National Monument. He supports repealing or shrinking the designation.[56][57][58] Following the release of the draft, the BEITC pulled out of discussions citing that it was inadequate and a scaled-down version of their original plan.[55] The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance called Bishop's July 2016 UPLI the "worst piece of wilderness legislation that’s been introduced in Congress since passage of the 1964 Wilderness Act." In 2016, the SUWA stated that the UPLI "promote[d] fossil fuel development, motorized recreation, and control of public resources by the State of Utah, and include[d] unprecedented provisions that would limit federal land managers’ ability to manage public lands for the protection of natural and cultural resources".[14]

The Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition (BEITC) was not represented at the July 27, 2016 Senate field hearings on the potential impacts of large-scale monument designations.[59]

Davis Filfred Council Delegate for the Navajo Nation Council Delegate rejected the recommendation made by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's on June 12, 2017 to shrink Bears Ears National Monument boundaries.[4]


House on Fire Ruin, in upper Mule Canyon in Comb Ridge

Robert S. McPherson, who is known for his books on Navajos and the Four Corners, described depictions of lightning, arrowheads, wind, snakes, and bears in the rock formations.[60]

Prehistorically, Comb Ridge split an intensively used Ancient Puebloan homeland. It later had similar cultural—both spiritual and practical—significance to Utes, Paiutes, and Navajos and played a crucial role in the history of European American settlement. To tell the story of this rock that is unlike any other rock in the world and the diverse people whose lives it has affected.

— Robert S. McPherson

Looting and vandalism

Bears Ears has been regularly looted and vandalized for many years.[12]:1[37] In 2009, FBI and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) agents raided 16 homes in Blanding, following a two-year federal investigation and the indictment of 24 people for stealing, receiving or trying to sell Native American artifacts[38] from the hundreds of archaeological sites in the area.[33] This incident became an "early flashpoint in the struggle over control of public lands in the western United States."[38] Included among those arrested were a mathematics teacher, a brother of the county sheriff, and a prominent physician and his wife. Three people committed suicide following the raid.[38] From May 2014 to April 2015, there were reports of more than a dozen cases of "serious looting," ranging from "small-scale theft to ancestral remains being tossed around when graves are plundered."[12]:35

A group of volunteers called Friends of Cedar Mesa, who patrol the Bears Ears area and report incidents to the BLM, "tracked seven major incidents of looting in the Bears Ears area" in the first half of 2016, including an attempt to cut a "rock-art panel of a humanlike figure" from a cliff rock saw.[37]

There are legal trails for off-road vehicle use. However, over the years "irresponsible off-road vehicle use" has damaged "both the natural landscape" and archaeological sites.[12]:35

According to the Anasazi Heritage Center, the Hopi people used the term Hisatsinom, meaning ancient people, to describe the Ancestral Puebloans.[61] On May 2, 2016 the Bureau of Land Management and "Tread Lightly!" launched their "Respect and Protect Campaign" in response to educate the public on protection of petroglyphs, pictograms, dinosaur bones and tracks, among many of the other fragile features in Bears Ears.[62][63]


Presidential Proclamation 9558 of December 28, 2016, by President Obama, established Bears Ears National Monument. The proclamation was published in the Federal Register on January 5, 2017.

On December 28, 2016, President Obama proclaimed the 1,351,849 acres (547,074 ha)[7] Bears Ears National Monument, including the eponymous buttes and the surrounding landscapes, using his authority under the Antiquities Act to create national monuments by proclamation.[7][1]

The intertribal coalition proposed the inclusion of several areas that did not make it into the final monument designation; these included the Abajo Mountains (also called the Blue Mountains); the lower reach of Allen Canyon; Black Mesa; a "large, arcing strip of land" next to the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, surrounding Mancos Mesa; Raplee Anticline, and "most of Lime Ridge between Mexican Hat and Comb Ridge."[34] The omission of these areas from the boundaries of the monument represented a "significant" concession to those who opposed the monument's designation.[34]


The monument has divided people in Blanding, Bluff and other Utah towns that skirt its border, and some members of families that are split on the issue have simply stopped speaking to each other. Signs reading “#rescindbearsears” stretch across gas stations and front lawns, which are strategically avoided by people who have taken to wearing pro-monument T-shirts.

— The New York Times May 14, 2017

The areas newly protected by the National Monument designation are in San Juan County — an area of covers 8,000-square-miles with a sparse population of 16,895. The federal government owns about 60% of the land, and "Native Americans, the grandchildren of white settlers, corporations, environmentalists, the federal government" "jockey[..] to control it and "its history".[64]

Indian Creek area at sunset

In a May 2017 interview in The New York Times 52-year-old James Adakai, "whose Navajo ancestors lived and hunted here for generations" described how, "We fought, we won the century-year-old fight: the monument. And now we’re up for another fight... And everybody is against us. The Utah congressional delegation, the governor, the State Legislature, the county. They have a different plan".[64] The great-grandson of a Mormon who arrived in Bears Ears in 1879, Phil Lyman, criticized the designation as a "land grab", "equating the monument designation to grand theft". Lyman was concerned the Monument designation would "lock him and his neighbors out of their own backyards".[64]

The Salt Lake Tribune reported that reactions to the monument's designation ranged "from scathing to celebratory" within the state.[65] The designation was praised by the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition (BEITC) of Native Americans and environmentalists who had led the campaign to protect the land.[66] Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye wrote that the president's decision will "protect this land as a national monument for future generations of Navajo people and for all Americans", while collaborative land management provisions "strengthened the relationship between our Navajo and American nations."[67] Arizona state Representative Eric Descheenie, a member of the Navajo Nation, said "At the end of the day, there's only a certain place in this entire world, on earth, where we as indigenous peoples belong. And to be able to secure that, you can't put any money value on it."[65] The establishment of the monument was also praised by the Mormon Environmental Stewardship Alliance.[65]

Republican leaders reacted to the designation of the monument with anger and disappointment. Some researchers and observers said that it was possible that incoming president Donald Trump or other Republicans might make an attempt to withdraw the designation and abolish the monument, though there is no clear legal mechanism for the president to do so unilaterally.[68] Utah's Republican governor, Gary Herbert, said that he was "more than disappointed" and "deeply disturbed" by President Obama's unilateral decision.[65] Congressman Jason Chaffetz reacted similarly.[69] Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, also a Republican, stated that "By significantly restricting access to a large portion of public lands in Utah, the President weakens land management capabilities and fails to protect those the Antiquities Act intended to benefit", and announced that he planned a lawsuit regarding the issue.[69] A lawsuit against the FBI and LBM for its "heavy-handed and overzealous" looting raid in 2009, was rejected in February 2017 but "remains a point of contention for people in [Blanding], many of whom are also frustrated by the creation of the nearby Bears Ears National Monument."[38] "Utah politicians such as Utah Senator Mike Lee (R), "ranchers, and business groups" also strongly opposed the monument.[37]

Proposed abolishment and consequences

Indian Creek and the Sixshooter Peaks

On February 3, 2017, Utah Governor Herbert signed a resolution passed by the Utah legislature asking President Trump to rescind the designation of Bears Ears as a National Monument. There is uncertainty about the authority for a president to rescind a monument designated under the Antiquities Act, as it has never been done before.[70]

On February 7, the outdoor clothing company Patagonia announced that it would not be attending the Outdoor Retailer Market in Salt Lake City in 2017 or subsequent years due to the Utah government's opposition to Bears Ears. Patagonia urged other retailers to join it in moving to a state that "values our industry and promotes public land conservation."[71] On February 16, the Outdoor Retailer Market announced that, after talking to the Governor, it would no longer schedule its annual trade show in Utah (as it has done for 20 years) due to the Utah government's opposition to Bears Ears National Monument.[72] The Outdoor Retailer show has 50,000 visitors and generates $45 million in local spending annually.[73]

After the pullout from Utah, Colorado attempted to become the host of upcoming Outdoor Retailer shows. The organization Colorado Conservation put advertisements in Utah papers stating, "We have stronger beer. We have taller peaks. We have higher recreation. But most of all we love our public lands."[73]

On February 21, 2017, the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance announced that it will begin a statewide television advertisement campaign to build support for Bears Ears National Monument.[74]

On April 26, 2017, President Trump ordered a review "that could open federally protected lands to mining, logging and drilling" through Executive Order 13792.[75] On May 7 and 8, 2017 Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke visited Bears Ears.[64] Zinke's Interior Department scheduled a public comment period on the review of twenty-two terrestrial National Monuments, including Bears Ears.[76] In accordance with a time limit in the Executive Order, the comment period on Bears Ears lasts for 15 days, beginning on May 11.[76]

On June 12, 2017 Zinke "proposed significantly scaling back the borders" of Bears Ears to "the smallest area compatible" with the management of those sites" in a "legally unprecedented move that opponents say violates a century-old law signed by President Theodore Roosevelt".[3]

Interior Secretary Zinke gave the interim report[77] requested in the Executive Order to the White House on June 10, 2017. He recommended shrinking the boundaries of the Bears Ears National Monument, and encouraged Congress to designate national recreation areas, national conservation areas, and cultural areas to be co-managed with tribal governments.[4] In announcing the report, Zinke shared his conclusion that, "There is no doubt that it is drop-dead gorgeous country and that it merits some degree of protection, but designating a monument that — including state land — encompasses almost 1.5 million-acres where multiple-use management is hindered or prohibited is not the best use of the land and is not in accordance with the intention of the Antiquities Act."[78]

Following Secretary Zinke's interim report, the tribal nations that co-manage Bears Ears National Monument and environmental organizations threatened a lawsuit should the government shrink the monument. Davis Filfred of the Navajo Nation stated,[4]

"We don’t want it to be rescinded. We wanted it left alone. Right now, what I’m hearing is this is only a recommendation. But when they do make that move, we’re ready as a Navajo nation for a lawsuit, and all the other tribal leaders are ready. We have others who are ready for litigation. This is uncalled for."

Earthjustice attorney Heidi McIntosh stated, "Make no mistake: Unilaterally shrinking the boundaries of Bears Ears National Monument would not only be a slap in the face to the five sovereign tribes who share sacred ties to this land, it would violate both the Antiquities Act and the separation of powers doctrine." The organization is preparing a lawsuit on the matter.[4]

In August 2017, Zinke finalized his recommendations for the area, but the Department of the Interior declined to disclose the exact details of the plan. A White House spokesperson said the president intends to study the recommendations before making a decision on the next course of action.[79]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Obama, Barack (December 28, 2016). "Proclamation – Establishment of the Bears Ears National Monument". Washington, D.C.: White House Office of the Press Secretary. Retrieved December 30, 2016. 
  2. ^ Williams, Terry Tempest (May 6, 2017). "Will Bears Ears Be the Next Standing Rock?". The New York Times. Sunday Opinion. Retrieved May 15, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c Turkewitz, Julie; Davenport, Coral (June 12, 2017). "Interior Secretary Recommends Shrinking Borders of Bears Ears Monument". The New York Times. Retrieved June 13, 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Fears, Darryl; Eilperin, Juliet (June 12, 2017). "Interior secretary recommends Trump consider scaling back Bears Ears National Monument". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 13, 2017. 
  5. ^ a b Bruinius, Harry (December 29, 2016). "For Native Americans, new national monument a rare victory". Christian Science Monitor. Boston: Christian Science Publishing Society. Retrieved December 30, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Dark Canyon Wilderness". The National Wilderness Preservation System. Retrieved November 27, 2008. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h "Bears Ears national Monument: Questions & Answers" (PDF). United States Forest Service. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 1, 2017. Retrieved December 31, 2016. 
  8. ^ Davenport, Coral (December 28, 2016). "Obama Designates Two New National Monuments, Protecting 1.65 Million Acres". The New York Times. New York City: The New York Times Company. Retrieved December 29, 2016. 
  9. ^ Maffly, Brian (December 28, 2016). "What is Bears Ears? Take a look inside Utah’s new national monument". The Salt Lake Tribune. Salt Lake City: Paul Huntsman. Retrieved December 29, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Alakali Ridge" (PDF). National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Archived from the original on February 21, 2017. Retrieved April 1, 2008. 
  11. ^ a b "Tribal Resolutions" (PDF) (Press release). Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Pueblo of Zuni, and Ute Indian Tribe. Retrieved May 6, 2016. 
  12. ^ a b c d e "Proposal Overview". The Bears Ears Intertribal Coalition. nd. Retrieved May 15, 2017. 
  13. ^ a b c d e Proposal to President Barack Obama for the Creation of Bears Ears National Monument (PDF). The Bears Ears Intertribal Coalition (Report). October 15, 2015. Retrieved May 15, 2017.  Bears Ears Intertribal Coalition is a partnership of the Hopi, Navajo, Uintah and Ouray Ute Indian Tribe, Ute Mountain Ute and Zuni Governments
  14. ^ a b c d e "The Public Lands Initiative is a Disaster for Utah's Wild Places". Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA). Salt Lake City, Utah. 2016. Retrieved May 15, 2017. 
  15. ^ Harris, Richard (February 13, 2014). "Ancient DNA Ties Native Americans From Two Continents To Clovis". NPR. Retrieved May 25, 2017. 
  16. ^ Rasmussen, Morten; et al. (February 13, 2014). "The genome of a Late Pleistocene human from a Clovis burial site in western Montana". Nature. 506 (7487): 225. doi:10.1038/nature13025. Retrieved May 25, 2017. "As such, contemporary Native Americans are effectively direct descendants of the people who made and used Clovis tools and buried this child. In agreement with previous archaeological and genetic studies."
  17. ^ Waters, Michael; et al. (2007). "Redefining the Age of Clovis: Implications for the Peopling of the Americas". Science (315): 1122–1126. doi:10.1126/Science.1127166 (inactive 2017-05-27). 
  18. ^ David R. Starbuck, The Archeology of New Hampshire: Exploring 10,000 Years in the Granite State, UPNE, 2006, p. 25.
  19. ^ Sharon Bigley, "Ancient native boy's genome reignites debate over first Americans", Reuters, 12 February 2014
  20. ^ Linford, Laurence D. Navajo Places: History, Legend, Landscape, University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City, UT 2000
  21. ^ a b c "Comb Ridge". ears Ears Intertribal Coalition (BEITC). 2015. Retrieved May 16, 2017. 
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External links

  • Bears Ears National Monument – official Forest Service site
  • Bears Ears National Monument — official Bureau of Land Management site
  • BLM Bears Ears photo album
  • Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition
  • Notice of Public Comment on terrestrial monuments issued by Department of Interior.
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