Shrinking Utah's Bears Ears National Monument would be one more broken promise to Native Americans

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke plans to advise President Trump to shrink Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument to a scatter of isolated sites. The secretary’s recommendation, announced last week, is one more act of disrespect and arrogance in a story that began in 1492.In December, President Obama proclaimed the Bears Ears monument, adding new protections for cultural resources on 1.35 million acres of public land in San Juan County, Utah, while preserving traditional uses for both Indians and ranchers. Native nations — especially the Hopi, Navajo, Zuni and two Ute tribes that make up the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition — led the campaign for the creation of the monument on what for them is ancestral, sacred land.The Bears Ears proclamation was historic, creating an innovative tribal commission to help manage the monument. The new preserve grants “traditional ecological knowledge amassed by the Native Americans” the status of “a resource to be protected and used in understanding and managing this landscape sustainably for generations to come.”At the core of that understanding of the land is a sense of wholeness, of interconnection. As the Inter-Tribal Coalition said in response to Zinke’s announcement, “The Bears Ears region is not a …

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