Navajo Nation President Wants to Keep Bears Ears National Monument Designation

Bears Ears has been declared a national monument by President Barack Obama.

Published June 14, 2017

WINDOW ROCK – On Monday, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke recommended to President Donald Trump that he consider revising the Bears Ears National Monument boundary, signaling support for shrinking the monument.

Secretary Zinke also made recommendations that President Trump: request congressional authority to enable tribal co-management of designated cultural areas within the revised Bears Ears boundary; that Congress make appropriate conservation designations within the current Bears Ears to designate national recreation or conservation areas; and that Congress clarify the intent of management practices within the monument.

Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye

“This is Native land and the land of our ancestors. The Navajo Nation has been clear in our support for the designation — we have passed two unanimous resolutions supporting the designation that are the official word of the Navajo Nation,” Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye said. “The Navajo Nation is asking that the national monument designation remain in place until Congress acts to protect the full Bears Ears landscape and until an even more comprehensive co-management policy is ensured through the agreement.”

“This is the land of Chief Manuelito — this is the land of our ancestors. We must be at the table to help define the co-management of the Bears Ears National Monument for all future generations.”

The Bears Ears National Monument must be protected, especially against uranium mining in lands that have been held sacred by the Navajo people since time immemorial, said Vice President Jonathan Nez.

“Tribes have united to stand their ground against recreation, industry and development. The Bears Ears are sacred to our people. The remains of our ancestors and their dwellings are there. We remain committed to protecting these cultural resources,” Vice President Nez said.

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