Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Reviving debate over Bears Ears National Monument also revives racial tension in a remote corner of Utah

The debate over the best use of these vast canyonlands is not just about states’ rights or who should control public land. Nor is it only about environmental protection or the preservation of Native American culture. It is also about the people who have lived alongside each other in this remote corner of southeastern Utah for decades — and the tension and distrust that continues to divide them. “I don’t like to degrade it down to race, but I think a lot of this comes down to that,” said Ben Brewer, who is white and grew up in the town of Blanding. “It’s a heated issue here, for sure.” This week, as Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke conducts a “listening tour” across the region to decide whether to reverse the designation of Bears Ears National Monument or reduce its size from the 1.35 million acres of ancestral Native American lands that President Obama set aside when he created the monument on Dec. 28, the depth and delicate nature of racial tension between many Native Americans and nonnatives has quickly become apparent...more

And now the race card is played...

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