Friday, June 03, 2016

Monument plan a grass-roots movement, supporters say

Tragedy and betrayal populate the history of the Navajo people, who were forced from their homeland in the 1860s by a federal government that treated them as a conquered people rather than native citizens. A century of abuses followed the tribe's return to a reservation straddling the Four Corners, but for generations a beacon of hope jutted up on the northern horizon, according to Willie Grayeyes, a Navajo who leads the grass-roots nonprofit Utah Dine Bikeyah. In English, the twin land forms became known as Bears Ears Buttes, because of their resemblance to the furry nubs rising off an ursine head. "My elders and medicine people point to the north at social gathering, ceremonies, chapter meetings, reference Bears Ears and say, 'That's where my great-great-grandmother and grandfather used to live, or hunt or sweat.' That psychological attachment is still there. It never has been damaged by weather, rain or wind. And that's what I understood the attachment is, like mother to child, more closer than anybody else," Grayeyes told a gathering of about 70 people Wednesday at the Urban Indian Center in Salt Lake City. The people came to hear about his group's proposal, endorsed by a multitude of tribes, for a 1.9-million-acre national monument protecting these twin buttes and surrounding public lands, including Cedar Mesa, Grand Gulch, White Canyon, Comb Ridge and the Abajo Mountains — a scenic landscape rich in archaeology and held sacred. Four other Utah Dine Bikeyah (UDB) board members addressed the meeting, part of a tour around Utah and neighboring states to discuss with Native Americans their monument proposal, which has become deeply controversial...more

You must have respect for the Elders.  But were they pointing at the whole 1.9 million acres or just to the twin buttes?

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