Bears Ears coalition going straight to White House

WINDOW ROCK

With no real progress for a tribally-led monument to protect 1.9 million acres in southeastern Utah, the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition has ended “lip service” talks with Rep. Rob Bishop and the Public Lands Initiative.

Now, the coalition’s next step is direct engagement with the White House, an announcement it made New Year’s Eve. The proposal has already been submitted to U.S. President Barak Obama, back in October 2015, according to a December 31, 2015 press release from the coalition.

Under the Public Lands Initiative, coalition members claim that Bishop as well as the congressional Utah delegation of Rep. Jason Chaffetz, and Sens. Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch only provided lip service and failed to engage with the coalition on numerous occasions with their plan to tribally manage 1.9 million acres that includes the Bears Ears Buttes and Cedar Mesa in Utah.

“When we sat back and really took a look at the whole effort, it just felt like they were not taking our conversations seriously,” said Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk, councilwoman for the Ute Mountain Ute and member of the inter-tribal coalition.

The Bears Ears proposal calls for a “U.S. Presidential proclamation under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to protect historical and scientific objects in an area of 1.9 million acres of ancestral land on the Colorado Plateau,” according to the coalition’s website. The proposal has support from 25 tribes and pueblos, and the National Congress of American Indians, and includes the protection of over 100,000 archeological sites and 18 wilderness study areas and inventoried roadless areas.


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