BEARS EARS NATIONAL MONUMENT, UTAH (March 17, 2021) – The Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, which includes the sovereign Tribal Nations of the Hopi Tribe, the Navajo Nation, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, the Ute Indian Tribe, and the Zuni Tribe, strongly supports President Biden’s directive in Executive Order 13990 for the Interior Department to conduct a “review of the monument boundaries and conditions that were established by Proclamation 9681 of December 4, 2017 (Modifying the Bears Ears National Monument) . . . to determine whether restoration of the monument boundaries and conditions that existed as of January 20, 2017, would be appropriate.” Pursuant to this Executive Order we have had consultations with the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture, and we have asked that President Biden act quickly to restore the Bears Ears National Monument and to expand it to the full 1.9 million acres we originally proposed.
In order to protect the unique cultural resources and fragile landscape that comprise Bears Ears, prompt Presidential action is needed to correct the unlawful action taken by the last administration that purported to revoke the Monument. We also ask that President Biden reaffirm and reestablish the Bears Ears Commission as configured and authorized by President Obama’s 2016 proclamation establishing the Monument.
This said, we remain open to dialogue with others about the most effective ways to protect and manage this special place. This dialogue began more than a decade ago as a grassroots effort and included nearly five years of discussions between our Tribal Nations, the Utah Congressional delegation, local communities, non-governmental organizations, and federal officials before President Obama established the Monument. We were pleased to continue these discussions today with Utah Governor Cox, Senator Mitt Romney, and Congressman John Curtis in an effort to find areas of common ground.
Today’s announcement that Secretary Haaland will be traveling to Utah to sit down and hear from stakeholders next month, is also welcome news to us. However, we still believe that protections need to be quickly restored to protect Bears Ears, and its rich, but fragile, cultural and natural resources. Thus, we reiterate our request to President Biden to address the unlawful action taken by President Trump and to protect the full 1.9 million acres as the Bears Ears National Monument.
This statement represents the joint views of the five Tribes making up the Coalition. Each Tribe, acting as sovereign nations, may also offer independent comments.