In response to the June 14th article in the Washington Post, which cited information from the contents of the report submitted to President Biden from Secretary Haaland on the boundaries and management conditions of three National Monuments whose protections were illegally stripped by former President Trump, the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition (the Coalition) would like to acknowledge Secretary Haaland’s deliberate and inclusive outreach to stakeholders, including making time to tour the various landscapes and hear from individuals on the ground in the State of Utah during her first month in office. We are thankful that Secretary Haaland concurs with the Coalition’s assertion that former President Trump’s attempt to remove and replace the original Bears Ears National Monument was unjustified. We also reassert that the Coalition, comprised of the Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, Ute Indian Tribe, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, and Zuni Tribe has and will always advocate for the protection of the greater Bears Ears cultural landscape, which is an interconnected area of 1.9+ million acres under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management and United States Forest Service. 

Regarding requests from the Utah delegation and Governor Cox to have President Biden hold off on any Executive Action that would remedy the illegal actions of former President Trump, the Coalition has long been open to hearing legislative proposals from Utah State officials, yet they have been unwilling to provide any written documentation reflecting what they have in mind, despite repeated requests from the Coalition for a draft or outline of these legislative proposals. This failure of the Utah Delegation and Governor Cox to present anything in writing to the Coalition demonstrates a lack of good faith and presents as nothing more than a stall tactic, in the hopes of manipulating the Biden Administration’s dedication to cooperation for their own political gain. The Coalition further observes that the Utah Delegation and Governor Cox had the entirety of the Trump Administration to demonstrate sincere interest in helping to protect our sacred lands via these purported legislative solutions, but did not. 

“The Hopi Nation, with its historical and cultural ties to the Bears Ears National Monument, is anxiously and patiently awaiting a conclusive decision from President Biden, one that will correct the injustices done to us by the last president and his administration,” said Hopi Vice-Chairman, and BEITC Co-Chair Clark W. Tenakhongva. “And it is my hope that once the Bears Ears National Monument has been restored, together, we can turn the page to a new and brighter chapter in the shared story of America.”

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This statement represents the joint views of the five Tribes making up the Coalition. Each Tribe, acting as sovereign nations, may also offer independent comments.