Bears Ears takes its name from a pair of towering hills that dominate much of the southeastern Utah landscape, and is the site of ancient indigenous cave dwellings and sacred cemeteries. It is the ancestral home of five tribal nations: the Navajo Nation, the Hopi Tribe, the Ute Indian Tribe, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, and the Pueblo of Zuni.
Conservation groups welcomed the news. “Thank you, President Biden, you have listened to the Native tribes and the American people and made sure these landscapes are protected for generations to come,” said Jennifer Rokala, director of the Center for Western Priorities, a advocacy organization. Rights. “The cultural and paleontological resources of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase landscapes are too important to be jeopardized. “
Ms. Haaland, the country’s first Native American cabinet secretary, is a member of the Laguna Pueblo. He now heads the federal agency which, for much of the country’s history, has played a central role in the displacement and abuse of indigenous communities from coast to coast, and has created problems with Native Americans. highest priority.
In a 2019 interview with The Guardian, Ms. Haaland described a recent camping trip she took to Bears Ears. “There are some pretty amazing ruins there and, you know, I don’t even like to call them ruins, because in our culture, in the Pueblo culture, if you recognize our ancestors, they are there,” he said. “The spirit of the people never goes away.”
But in a joint statement, the Utah Congressional delegation called the president’s decision a “devastating blow” to its efforts to find a lasting solution that couldn’t be changed with every administration.
“Rather than seizing the opportunity to build unity in a divided region and bring lasting resources and protections to sacred antiquities by seeking a permanent and mutually beneficial legislative solution, President Biden has fueled the flames of controversy and ignored the contributions of more communities. close to those monuments, ”the statement, signed by the two senators and three representatives of Utah, all Republicans, said.
The new Bears Ears boundary will effectively incorporate an element of the Trump-era boundaries. When the Trump administration downsized the monument’s overall size to nearly one million acres, it also added 11,200 acres that hadn’t previously been protected. The new borders will restore the original Obama-era border and include the additional 11,200 acres of the Trump era.
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