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Slashing Bears Ears National Monument is an attack on indigenous rights

By December 20, 2017Tribal

“It’s just another slap in the face for a lot of us,” said Jonathan Nez, Vice President of the Navajo Nation in announcing five tribes have banded together to sue the Trump administration over its illegal decision to shrink Bears Ears National Monument by 85 percent. Let these tribes know you support them. Sign our letter of support defending Bears Ears National Monument and the tribes can include it in their court filings.»

In a historic move, Pueblo of Zuni, Hopi, Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain Ute, and Uintah and Ouray Ute Indian Tribes are suing in response to this illegal gutting of protections of Bears Ears, the land of their ancestors, considered sacred because it is the site of important historical and cultural artifacts that are being vandalized, looted, and destroyed. Trump’s actions are a direct assault on indigenous rights.

Unfortunately, it is but one in a long history of undermining protections for sacred sites, just as we have seen at Mount Taylor with uranium mining and the ongoing efforts to open ancestral lands around Chaco Canyon to oil and gas development.

History has seen native land taken repeatedly to be exploited and destroyed for short-term profits. New national monuments like Bears Ears and New Mexico’s own Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks were a small step in working with indigenous nations by protecting many sacred sites and historical homelands of the Southwest’s original people. Trump again backtracked on our nation’s obligations to its indigenous peoples. Add your voice to ours and sign our letter of support highlighting the illegality of Trump’s action to reduce Bears Ears National Monument by 85 percent.»

Selling off our public lands that house important sacred and historical sites to the highest bidder is wrong. We must not repeat history, but take action to right past wrongs. An attack on one national monument is an attack on them all and we need to show that New Mexicans won’t stand idly by and let the President threaten our public lands, no matter where they are. So please join us in defending our national monuments and the indigenous rights they help protect.»

Thank you for your support,

Talia Boyd
Western NM Program Director