Coalition Sends Letter to Secretary Zinke Regarding Bears Ears “Review”


Today, the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition sent a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in response to President Trump’s Executive Order directing the Secretary to conduct a “review” of Bears Ears National Monument in the next 45 days, and other monuments within 100 days.

The letter reads, in part:

The Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, a partnership of the Hopi, Navajo, Ute Indian Tribe, Ute Mountain Ute, and Zuni Tribal governments, is deeply troubled by the Executive Order directing the Department of Interior to review and propose changes to national monuments, and by your statements that Bears Ears will undergo such a review within 45 days. The designation of the Bears Ears National Monument was a long overdue moment in the protection of our cultural and spiritual heritage. Our Tribal governments have made it clear that any change to the monument would undermine the efforts of so many, and would disrespect our deep and enduring connections to this place….

Our letters to your office from each of our Tribal nations, the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, and the Bears Ears Commission requesting meetings with you have gone unanswered. It seems illogical that letters sent nearly 100 days ago have not been answered, yet there will be review of Bears Ears within the next 45 days. The fact that you have not met with us is evident in your statement yesterday to the press. You said: “The administration has heard from Congress… The designation of monuments may have cost jobs, wages, and public access… It is the opinion of the West that it is abused.” Please do not forget – our Tribes are the original inhabitants of the West long before the United States was a nation, and we do not view Bears Ears National Monument as an abuse. To the contrary, it is a fulfillment of both our duty to preserve our cultures and our ancestral lands, and its designation was the result of a long, deliberative process with your predecessor to further our self-determination. To that end, we reiterate our requests for you to meet with each of the Tribes, and the Bears Ears Tribal Commission.

To read the entire letter, click here (opens in PDF).

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