Commission reiterates Federal government’s obligation to work with Tribes
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 17, 2017
CONTACT: Natasha Hale- (505) 906-8303
Monument Valley, Utah – In accordance with the Bears Ears National Monument proclamation issued on December 28, 2016, the five sovereign Tribal Nations with ancestral ties to Bears Ears, have formally named their representatives for the Bears Ears Commission. In their first action, the Commission issued a letter to Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke extending an invitation to meet to discuss management priorities and remind him of his obligation to work with the Tribes.
“Bears Ears National Monument represents the recognition that some areas need to be preserved in their natural state. We are part of the land, and as Tribal Nations we bring a unique perspective to land management and the preservation of our heritage,” stated Alfred Lomahquahu, Co-chair of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition and Bears Ears Commissioner for the Hopi Tribe. “We have an opportunity for the Tribes to work with federal land managers and the community to ensure that this monument benefits all of us.”
The national monument proclamation states, “in recognition of the importance of tribal participation to the care and management of the objects identified above, and to ensure that management decisions affecting the monument reflect tribal expertise and traditional and historical knowledge, a Bears Ears Commission is hereby established to provide guidance and recommendations on the development and implementation of management plans and on management of the monument.”
The commission is intended to engage with the Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture, “in the development of the management plan and to inform subsequent management of the monument.” The Tribes represented on the Bears Ears Commission include: Hopi, Navajo Nation, Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation, Ute Mountain Ute, and Zuni.
The Bears Ears Commission members are as follows:
- Hopi – Alfred Lomahquahu, Vice Chairman of the Hopi Tribe
- Navajo Nation – Davis Filfred, Navajo Nation Delegate and James Adakai, Navajo Nation, Oljato Chapter President
- Uintah and Ouray Ute – The Ute Indian Tribe Business Council, Shaun Chapoose, Chairman
- Ute Mountain Ute – Terry Knight, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer with Ute Mountain Ute
- Zuni – Carleton Bowekaty, Zuni Tribal Councilman
“The designation of Bears Ears marks a historic moment for national monuments, the Antiquities Act, and public lands as a whole,” commented Carleton Bowekaty, Co-chair of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition and Bears Ears Commissioner for the Pueblo of Zuni. “Our Nations’ are proud to be a part of this effort and we look forward to supporting the commission and its important work in ensuring that Bears Ears is protected and managed in the best ways possible.”
The Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition is a partnership of the Hopi, Navajo, Uintah & Ouray Ute, Ute Mountain Ute, and Zuni Governments.