As a Native American living in San Juan County, Utah all my life I would like to see Bears Ears National Monument be RESCINDED.
We understand that the Antiquities Act was only meant for protection of areas for which the SMALLEST AREA compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected.
The Bears Ears Buttes is no more than 300 acres COMBINED! The Cultural heritage sites and ruins all combined absolutely does not constitute the need to lock up MILLIONS of extra acres of land away from the actual locals and Native Americans that do use the land.
We provided much for the land as the land provided for us.
There are many cultural heritage sites near the Bears Ears area and Cedar Mesa which is in close proximity, 75 percent of the entire area is ALREADY protected under a Federal Wilderness Area designation. It seems that through the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, local stewardship land use management and protections were already being implemented through the Federal, State, and Local agencies like county government and Native American tribal administrations. No One was left out.
However, once President Obama unilaterally designated Bears Ears a National Monument without the local input of the people who actually use the land the monument designation simply washed away any local input what so ever.
A few things to consider to show that Bears Ears Monument designation was a terrible decision:
- There has been poor planning for its management from its inception, to the degree that there isn't even a BLM Supervisor named to take charge of it.
- Local economies for local family's always decline as a result of any monument designation as we saw in Grand County Utah once Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was designated, in fact the County Commissioners had to announce a state of emergency due to the economic disruptions that came as a result of monument designations.
- Federal Management resources to even maintain a national monument are non-existent. The monument isn't even funded! How can Bears Ears National Monument even implement protection controls when there’s no dollars there to enforce these laws?
But the one thing that's always made me question the very essence of why this monument was initiated in the first place was that the initial intent of the Bears Ears National Monument was to ensure Native American tribes would have absolute co-management.
In the days since the monument proclamation was signed, it’s been revealed that the tribes are simply relegated to have GUIDANCE & RECOMMENDATION advisory roles, NOT co-management. In Fact "tribal co-management" is not even mentioned ONCE in the entire Bears Ears National Monument proclamation.
Since the authority to manage monuments rests solely with Congress, we see why Native Americans were tricked by environmentalist to think they’d ever be a governing body to Bears Ears National Monument.
Questions of how to bring up Native Americans to meet the rest of the country in the 21st Century do not get answered by Bears Ears National Monument.
I urge my fellow Utahans to publically comment at this website, by typing the passcode DOI-2017-0002-0001 into the search bar, and saying Rescind Bears Ears National Monument!
Ryan Benally is Vice-President of the Stewards of San Juan County and a member of the Navajo Nation.