BEARS EARS NATIONAL MONUMENT, UTAH (May 29, 2019) – The Interior Department continues to push forward with its Monument Advisory Committee (MAC) for the so-called Shash Jáa and Indian Creek Units despite pending legal challenges to the Trump Administration’s decision to shrink the Bears Ears National Monument into these two, much smaller units. Specifically, the Interior Department is convening the first Bears Ears MAC meeting on June 5-6 in Monticello, Utah. Members of the MAC were appointed by the Trump Administration which, not surprisingly, lead to a roster of people that align with the President’s decision to shrink, by some 85% percent, the Bears Ears National Monument. Turning a deaf ear to the concerns raised by the Coalition of tribes with ancestral ties to the region and ignoring requests for a more deliberative process that consults with both local residents and affected tribes, the Trump Administration is barreling forward with a politically-stacked advisory committee.
Notably, the advisory committee put together by the Trump Administration does not include seats for the 5 Bears Ears Coalition Tribes, and instead designates two seats on the committee to be filled by individuals purporting to represent “Tribal concerns.”
The Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, Ute Indian Tribe, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and Zuni Pueblo expressed their strong opposition to the MAC in November 2018, and again this past April. The Coalition reiterates today that the Interior Department should stop its unnecessary and divisive efforts, and instead await the outcome of the pending federal court challenge to the legality of President Trump’s action.
Continuing to carry out the advisory committee fails to meet the long-standing federal government’s trust responsibility and required government-to-government relationship with the Tribes. As stated by Coalition Co-Chairman and Zuni Lt. Governor Carleton Bowekaty, the Coalition Tribes “are recognized sovereigns and as such, all should be represented by their respective tribal leadership.”
The BLM MAC meeting will be located at the Hideout Community Center at 648 South Hideout Way, Monticello, Utah 84535. The meeting is scheduled for June 5 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and will continue on June 6 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
The public may address the MAC members from 4:30-5:00 p.m. on June 5 and the BLM may extend the comment period by 30 minutes to 5:30 p.m. if necessary and depending on the number of people wishing to speak to the MAC members. Written statements to address the MAC may also be sent to the following address: BLM Canyon Country District, 82 East Dogwood, Moab, Utah 84532 or by email at email@example.com. Use “BENM-MAC” in the subject line.