On December 28, 2016, President Barack Obama proclaimed the new 1.35 million-acre Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah. This new monument protects one of the most significant cultural landscapes in the United States, with thousands of sacred cultural sites and important areas of spiritual significance.
The Obama administration has listened to tribes and protected Native American ancestral lands that remain integral to our history, identity, and cultures today. Many Native people continue to hunt, gather medicinal herbs, and conduct ceremonies in the Bears Ears, as our ancestors have done since time immemorial. Beyond just protection, these lands will be managed in an entirely new way incorporating Native American traditional knowledge as an intellectual partner to western science, where the land and all its component parts are the mentor, the teacher, the healer, and where all our other-than-human relatives are honored and respected in a dance of reciprocity. Now, all Americans who cherish and respect the Bears Ears landscape are assured that these lands and the culture and history they contain will be protected, forever.