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Bears Ears dominates new SJC work session

Bears Ears dominates new SJC work session


avajo Times | Cindy Yurth

Newly elected commissioner Kenneth Maryboy chats with a constituent during a break at the San Juan County Commission’s regular meeting Tuesday in Monticello, Utah.

The new, mostly Navajo, San Juan County Commission has wasted no time trying to redress some long-held Navajo beefs with the county.

A work session Tuesday before the new commission’s third meeting introduced four resolutions proposed by Chairman Kenneth Maryboy that wouldn’t have had a prayer in the decades the commission was mostly white and Republican.

Maryboy, Diné, introduced resolutions to re-establish a transfer station at Bluff, Utah; hold some regular commission meetings in the southern (mostly Navajo) part of the county; and rescind all resolutions calling for the dis-establishment or reduction of Bears Ears National Monument.

The fourth resolution would direct the county attorney to compile a list of all civil litigation to which the county is a party, presumably including the county’s intervention in a lawsuit between five Native American tribes and President Donald Trump over the downsizing of Bears Ears.

The commission expected the agenda to generate interest, and it did.

The venue was changed from the cramped commission chambers in the county building to the Hideout Community Center, and even then the 125-member audience was hard-pressed to find chairs. Generally the commission is lucky to count 10 citizens in the audience.

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About The Author

Cindy Yurth

Cindy Yurth is the Tséyi' Bureau reporter, covering the Central Agency of the Navajo Nation. Her other beats include agriculture and Arizona state politics. She holds a bachelor’s degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University with a cognate in geology. She has been in the news business since 1980 and with the Navajo Times since 2005, and is the author of “Exploring the Navajo Nation Chapter by Chapter.” She can be reached at


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