BEARS EARS NATIONAL MONUMENT, UTAH (February 3, 2021):
The Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition stands united and in strong support of President Biden’s Executive Order directing a review of President Trump’s illegal proclamation rescinding and reducing the Bears Ears National Monument. Our Coalition includes the sovereign nations of the Hopi Tribe, the Navajo Nation, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, the Ute Indian Tribe, and the Pueblo of Zuni.
We were also pleased to see the statement of the Utah congressional delegation and Utah state officials indicating that they are finally “ready to work across party lines towards a permanent solution.” We remember all too well that there was nothing bipartisan about President Trump’s illegal proclamation and the celebration of that proclamation at the Utah State Capitol.
We also clearly remember Secretary Zinke’s monuments review process which has now been shown to have been a “review in name only.” We trust the Biden administration will carefully consider the views of our sovereign nations and the broad public support for restoration of the Bears Ears National Monument as well as the views of the San Juan County and Grand County Commissions—the two state political bodies closest to the Monument.
Beyond that we have always been open to meeting with Utah representatives to discuss solutions to protect Bears Ears. We invested substantial time and resources into former Congressman Bishop’s failed Public Lands Initiative which preceded the creation of the Bears Ears National Monument, as well as legislative proposals by Congresswoman Haaland, Congressman Curtis, Congressman Gallego and more. We remain open to any serious proposal or meeting to find a collaborative approach to protect and honor the Bears Ears landscape.
Most important, time is of the essence to halt the desecration of our sacred sites and promote proper management following the increase in visitation to the Bears Ears landscape. Each day that restoration of the Monument is delayed presents another opportunity for looting and vandalism. Bears Ears is our shared treasure and we are eager to lend our knowledge of this landscape, with thousands of years of experience living, hunting and caring for this land, as collaborative managers alongside our Federal government partners.
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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.