Monday, March 20, 2017

Op-ed: I’m banking on Zinke keeping our Bears Ears promises to Indians

By Stephen Trimble

I fear we are headed down an old and familiar path at Bears Ears. We promise Indian people that we will honor treaties, that we will recognize their rights to lands they have called home for millennia. We, the United States of America, make promises. Then, we break them. The Bears Ears National Monument proclamation isn't a treaty, but the president's words have the weight of law, granting new protections for a swath of public lands "profoundly sacred to many Native American tribes." And now Utah's office-holders are asking a new president to rescind the monument, to once again default on our legal agreements with Native nations. The monument exists because the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition documented their people's spiritual, historic and working relationships with this land. Over seven years, in dozens of interviews, the Inter-Tribal Coalition mapped indigenous connections to nearly two million acres in these stunning canyons. To adequately preserve the cultural sites surrounding the Bears Ears — its "objects," in the words of the Antiquities Act — the monument could have been even bigger. President Obama understood this relationship with the land. He listened to the tribes. He waited until the Public Lands Initiative failed. And then he asked federal and Inter-Tribal Coalition representatives to create something "bold and new."...more

No comments: