For more than a century, several Native American sites have been thoughtfully protected by Congress and presidents of both parties. Yet areas of great importance to our people still remain unprotected.
For this reason the Bears Ears Intertribal Coalition, composed of the Navajo, Hopi, Uintah and Ouray Ute, Ute Mountain Ute, and Zuni Tribal Governments strongly oppose Senator Mike Lee’s amendment to the Energy Bill (S. 2012) which seeks to prevent the designation of a national monument for the Bears Ears cultural landscape in southeast Utah (read the Coalition’s statement on the amendment).
“This latest such attempt by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) will eviscerate the very law that was originally passed to help protect Native American sacred religious and cultural sites – the Antiquities Act. These are not merely symbolic protections we seek. The ancestral lands of the Bears Ears region continue to face rampant and ongoing looting and destruction of artwork and gravesites. These are acts that literally rob Native American people of spiritual connections, as well as a sense of place and history. They are insults to the dignity of our societies and traditional knowledge,” commented Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk, head councilwoman of Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and the co-chair of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition.