Trump Reduces Size of Two Utah National Monuments

Posted By Toyacoyah Brown December 6th, 2017 Last Updated on: December 7th, 2017

As expected, Trump's visit to Utah meant that the size of two national monuments will be shrinking by thousands of acres.

Trump, by signing two presidential proclamations on Monday, shrunk the size of Bears Ears National Monument by more than 80% and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by roughly 45%, fundamentally reshaping the two large national monuments.

The proclamations split the two national monuments into several smaller sections. Bears Ears will be shrunk from 1.35 million acres to 228,337 acres, according to the spokesperson for Interior, and split into two separate monument sections. Grand Staircase-Escalante, a monument designated by President Bill Clinton, will be split into three sections and shrunk from 1.9 million acres to just about 1 million acres.

Native American groups and environmentalists are ready to push back.

“We will be fighting back immediately. All five tribes will be standing together united to defend Bears Ears,” said Natalie Landreth, an attorney for the Native American Rights Fund.

The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and other conservation groups also plan litigation against the Trump administration to challenge changes to both Bears Ears and Grand Staircase, said Steve Bloch, director of SUWA.

NPR spoke with Shaun Chapoose, Ute Indian tribe, who fought for the monument's protections in the first place.

NCAI released a statement opposing Trump’s actions.

“The original intent of the Antiquities Act was to protect our tribal sacred sites and the cultural objects in those sites. The history of our indigenous ancestors lives in these sacred places. Today’s action to reduce Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante endangers our freedom of religion, our histories and our communities,” stated Jefferson Keel, President of NCAI. “We stand with the Tribes of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition as well as the Tribes impacted by other Monument designations.”

Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante were both designated under the original intent of the Antiquities Act. The Antiquities Act granted power to the President to create national monuments to protect Tribal sacred sites and cultural objects. The Act does not grant the President the authority to reduce and revoke the boundaries of national monuments as was done today.

NCAI’s membership is steadfast in its full support of all Tribes to protect their ancient objects and histories by National Monument protections. As the Administration continues the review process of national monuments, NCAI remains working to ensure all sacred sites remain protected.

The Navajo Nation also released a statement:

“The Navajo Nation has made repeated requests to meet with President Trump on this issue. The Bears Ears Monument is of critical importance, not only to the Navajo Nation but to many tribes in the region,” President Begaye said. “The decision to reduce the size of the Monument is being made with no tribal consultation. The Navajo Nation will defend Bears Ears. The reduction in the size of the Monument leaves us no choice but to litigate this decision.”

“Bears Ears National Monument is not just for Native Americans but for all Americans,” Vice President Jonathan Nez said. “This is a sad day for indigenous people and for America. However, we are resilient and refuse to allow President Trump’s unlawful decision to discourage us. We will continue to fight in honor of our ancestral warriors who fought for our way of life, for our culture and for our land too.”

To find out how you can help the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, please visit http://bearsearscoalition.org/.

Photo by Bob Wick, BLM

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About Toyacoyah Brown

Toyacoyah Brown is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, currently living in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. When she's not scouring the Internet for fun things to share with PowWows.com readers you can find her digging for vinyl in her local record store or curling up with a good book.

TAGGED:    bears ears national monument    Trump    utah  
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Jeffrey Bodnar

Dear Friends;

I urge everyone to further investigate this situation to see what the overall plan really is.
First of all, to vote Democrat is to accept a life of dependency on government programs. Is this good so far? Vote for and support a phony liar such as Elizabeth Warren that stole Native identity to make up a free ride for her own career ? and not support a financial business decision maker?
Firsthand experience with this situation includes as a vet, I have participated in many powwows, very proudly. My uncle and aunt each were GM’s of famous Native national monument parks. Their never-ending dilemma was always budgeting and understaffing. This current plan reduces cost responsibilities while allowing general public to still utilize the land. In CA where BLM land has been subject to political ‘land grabbing’, a marked off-road trail leaving a designated recreation area might run into a huge fenced off area purchased by a politician for their own financial gain. I have seen this over and over personally. We all saw NV and Harry Reid ‘fight’ a long standing rancher cattle grazer when the land became available to purchase by his son. And the stories go on.
Also, you can’t justify voting Democrat when it was Democrats and so-called conservationists Sierra Club and National Audubon Society that pushed the Havasupai from the Grand Canyon. This is a fact so why would you support this?
Listening to the people that want to hold you down with social programs instead of opportunity will only give you the immediate surface story. Looking deeper shows an efficiency update.
Please review. Thank you, Jeff Bodnar


When we, the native people allow any government but ours to decide our fate and the fate of our land, we give away the power CREATOR gave to us. Taking the power out of federal hands could be a good step if we are smart enough now to have the State GOVt release it in our hands.


This is so sad …to think that 1 man could take away the precious and valuable things in our lives….He definitely will be fighting against many who respect these lands ! Thrump you are degrading yourself, and we will all watch you fall….

Jonell Adams

Greetings fellow Native brothers and sisters. This is just the beginning of the white taking our lands away from us AGAIN. What’s funny is that they put us on reservations thinking that we would die off. Now they’re finding out that this land holds minerals and yes they want it. Trump and his followers (the rich of America) want to build, expand and take all the minerals they can suck out from Mother Earth. We all knew this day was coming. Plant your feet solid into the ground and get ready to take on Trump the white man way, in Court. This is not the only state they’re looking at. Other presidents had respect, not this one. Natives, vote Democrat, This is how we can control what happens in DC. I’m just saying…..

Jim A Ayala

I’m Native American but beside the point president Trump may be the president but now what he’s doing is all about money to put in his pocket and it’s wrong but the rich get greedy and they want more and more it’ll never change

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