Monument Valley, UT (December 1, 2017) Leaders from five Native American Tribes (Hopi, Navajo, Ute, Ute Mountain Ute, and Zuni) today celebrate Congressman Reuben Gallego (D, Arizona) for his introduction of the Bears Ears National Monument Expansion Act, a bill that would expand Bears Ears National Monument in southeast Utah to the full 1.9 million acre area proposed in 2015 by the five Tribes for permanent protection as a national monument.
“We are very grateful to President Obama for the 1.35 million acre Bears Ears National Monument he designated in 2016, but his attempt to satisfy local non-Native interests by reducing our proposal by half a million acres has proven fruitless,” stated Carleton Bowekaty, Pueblo of Zuni Councilman. “Now, as our new president prepares to dramatically and irresponsibly shrink the existing Bears Ears National Monument, we are delighted that Congressman Gallego has introduced a bill that would fulfill our original vision for the Bears Ears cultural landscape.”
“The 1.9 million acre boundary we originally proposed President Obama designate under the Antiquities Act is filled edge-to-edge with sacred sites important to our Tribal members,” said Davis Filfred, Navajo Nation Council Delegate. “Representative Gallego’s new bill would protect many significant cultural sites and objects that failed to gain needed protections in 2016.”
“We are thankful that Representative Gallego approached us to help us protect all of what we have worked for these many years,” said Shaun Chapoose, member of the Ute Indian Tribe Business Committee. “Unlike President Trump and Secretary Zinke, Representative Gallego is doing what the rest of the federal government ought to be doing – honoring the government-to-government relationship and the trust and treaty obligations the United States shares with our Tribes.”
Bears Ears has been home to Hopi, Navajo, Ute, Ute Mountain Ute, Zuni, and other Indigenous people since time immemorial. The Bears Ears cultural landscape is important not just for objects of antiquity and fossils studied by scientists, but for the continuation of our Indigenous cultures and our way of life. Bears Ears National Monument represents healing, and Representative Gallego’s bill brings healing one step closer to fruition.
The Hopi, Navajo, Ute, Ute Mountain Ute, and Zuni Tribal Governments are working together to defend Bears Ears National Monument. http://ProtectBearsEars.org/
Katherine Belzowski, Navajo Nation Department of Justice, 928-871-6210, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rollie Wilson, Attorney for Ute Indian Tribe, 202-340-8232, email@example.com
Natalie Landreth, Native American Rights Fund, 907-360-3423, firstname.lastname@example.org
Matthew Campbell, Native American Rights Fund, 303-447-8760, email@example.com