Utah House Wants Trump to Repeal Bears Ears Monument

Posted By Toyacoyah Brown January 31st, 2017 Last Updated on: May 11th, 2019

Well that didn't last long.

There was already some rumblings going on when Obama first announced that he was designating Bears Ears in Utah and Gold Butte in Nevada as national monuments.

From the original press release:

Encompassing roughly 1.35 million acres of Federal land, the Bears Ears National Monument will protect some of the country’s most significant natural, cultural and archaeological resources, including important ancestral grounds for numerous tribes, as well as incredible landscapes that support hiking, hunting, rock climbing and other world-class outdoor recreation opportunities. The area gets its name from the iconic Bears Ears Buttes, two distinctive geological formations in the center of lands that are considered sacred by tribes in the region. Based on ancestral ties to the landscape, five tribal governments came together in a historic coalition to urge protections for the broader area, which also includes ancient cliff dwellings, ceremonial sites, abundant rock art, and countless other artifacts that hold cultural significance.

With Donald Trump as President, Utah Republicans want to take full advantage of their majority status and ask Trump to either “reduce the size of or eliminate entirely, the new Bears Ears National Monument in Southern Utah.”

It was reported that Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah.), already met with Trump to speak about the matter.

In a statement, he noted the president’s interior secretary nominee, Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.), has already pledged “that his first trip after confirmation would be to Utah to get right to work with us on addressing this travesty.”

“As secretary of the Interior, Zinke will play a key role in this fight, but in the end, changes to a national monument have to come from the president himself,” Hatch said. “That’s why I raised it with the president directly.”

The senator continued: “And not only is he willing to listen, he’s eager to work with me to address this.”

Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like anyone has been involving tribal leaders in these talks and most of this has been going without their knowledge.

As the Washington Post reports:

Davis Filfred, a Navajo Nation Council delegate and official representative to Utah, said in an interview that while the tribes were prepared to go to court over the issue, the back-and-forth felt like “a tug of war” they would rather avoid.

“I’m just trying to preserve my people through my culture and heritage, and I wish people would come out and see the land, the beauty of it,” Filfred said. “We just want our voices heard. They shouldn’t just do this behind closed doors.”

The Salt Lake Tribune also reported on the matter:

Republicans conceded Monday that they violated Utah House rules last week when they held what turns out to be an improper hearing on resolutions asking President Donald Trump to erase the Bears Ears and alter Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.

But then they voted to say, essentially, that it doesn't matter.

They voted 55-17 to reject Democratic calls for a do-over proper hearing, and now plan to debate the resolutions Tuesday before the full House — without the normally required proper public hearing on a bill.

So how do you guys feel on the matter? Any of our readers in Utah have an opinion on the national monument?

Photo via Bureau of Land Management

Home » Blog » Utah House Wants Trump to Repeal Bears Ears Monument

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.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Free Email Series: What to Expect at Your First Pow Wow