- By Jenna Kunze
On Wednesday, the state of Utah and several of its officials, including Governor Spencer Cox and Attorney General Sean D. Reyes, sued the Biden administration in federal court over the president’s executive action last year to restore two national monuments that were formerly reduced by President Donald Trump.
The lawsuit, filed against Biden and other members of his administration including Interior Secretary Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo), argues that the size of the two national monuments, totaling a combined 3.2 million acres, violates a law that limits U.S. presidents to create monuments “confined to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected.”
“The vast size of the expanded Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments draws unmanageable visitation levels to these lands without providing any of the tools necessary to adequately conserve and protect these resources,” Gov. Cox wrote in a statement.
The sites were set to be co-managed in a historic cooperative agreement the Biden administration signed in June with five tribes who were original stewards of the land.
In 2017, The Hopi Tribe, Pueblo of Zuni, and Ute Mountain Ute Tribe filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration to protect Bears Ears National Monument, an area they consider to be sacred.
Biden signed legislation on Oct. 8, 2021, that restored the original boundaries of Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante and Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monument.
More Stories Like This7-Year-Old Boy Dies from Dog Attack on Fort Hall Reservation
Navajo Nation Elects Its First Female Speaker
WATCH: Indigenous Chef Crystal Wahpepah on Native Bidaske
Indigenous Food Chef Crystal Wahpepah on This Week's Native Bidaské
WATCH: New Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren on Native Bidaské
Do you appreciate a Native perspective on the news?
For the past decade-plus, we’ve covered the important Indigenous stories that are often overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the toppling of colonizer statues during the racial equity protests, to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW), the attacks on tribal sovereignty at the Supreme Court and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools, we have been there to provide a Native perspective and elevate Native voices.
Our news is free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation this month to help support our efforts. Any contribution — big or small — helps us remain a force for change in Indian Country and continue telling the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked. Please consider a recurring monthly donation of $5 or $10 to help fund us throughout the year. Whatever you can do, it helps fund our Indigenous-led newsroom and our ability to cover Native news.
Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.