BEARS EARS NATIONAL MONUMENT, UTAH (January 30, 2019) – The five Tribes of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition commend Representatives Ruben Gallego (AZ-07) and Deb Haaland (NM-01) for their introduction of the Bears Ears Expansion and Respect for Sovereignty Act (BEARS Act). The BEARS Act would expand the protections of the Bears Ears National Monument to the Coalition’s initially proposed 1.9 million acre monument and restore the Tribes’ collaborative management role. The bill is co-sponsored by over seventy congressional representatives and has the support of eleven environmental groups.
The Coalition deeply appreciates the continued leadership of Representative Gallego to honor the unique relationship the Tribes have to the Bears Ears landscape. Along with the entire Coalition, Hopi Tribe Vice-Chairman Clark Tenakhongva says, “It is encouraging to see Congress working towards safeguarding our most cherished landscapes instead of dismantling them.” The Navajo Nation also expressed their appreciation for “the efforts of Representative Gallego to restore our tribal voices on the Bears Ears landscape and to lend our vision to its management.”
In addition to expanding the Bears Ears National Monument to protect all of its resources, the BEARS Act requires the federal government to meaningfully engage the Coalition Tribes in management of the landscape, which was a key tenet in the Coalition’s original proposal to President Obama in 2016. Today, the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition continues to elevate the voices of the five Tribes, and to ensure that the Bears Ears landscape is free from looting, vandalism and environmental harms from resource extraction industries. The Coalition looks forward to continuing its work alongside Congressional advocates and allies.