Friday, June 09, 2017

Native Americans gather at Bears Ears as review looms

Native Americans from around Utah began gathering in Comb Wash on Thursday to celebrate Bears Ears National Monument ­— just ahead of an announcement that could undercut protections for the lands considered sacred by many tribes. "We would like the monument to remain, no matter what," said Kenneth Maryboy, a Navajo and former San Juan County commissioner. "It's always going to be sacred, but we want it to be protected." Bears Ears is the first monument to be reviewed under President Donald Trump's executive order instructing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to evaluate 27 large monuments designated since 1996. Recommendations for the others, including Utah's Grand Staircase-Escalante, are due in late August. Zinke could recommend undoing the entire monument or shrinking the 1.35 million acres set aside by then-President Barack Obama in December. Maryboy said he found the evaluation process troubling. White politicians, he said, cannot evaluate what is sacred to Native peoples. "Anglos have been [in southern Utah] here for 140 years and they still don't know who we are," he said. "They have no respect and that rankles us in San Juan County." Maryboy also was miffed at Zinke for not talking to more Navajos during a recent trip to southern Utah. "When he was here," Maryboy said, "he ignored Native Americans." The former San Juan County commissioner was among the initial group of Native Americans who began pushing for protection of historical lands seven years ago. This week's celebration is the third annual Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Gathering and is taking place through Sunday some 20 miles west of Blanding. Navajos, Ute Mountain Utes, Northern Utes, Goshutes, Hopis and Zunis will rejoice in their cultures with stories, dances, songs and workshops in foraging, sheep butchering and shawl making, among other things. Hundreds are expected to attend over the course of the weekend...more

 They are playing the race card for all its worth on this one.

Does anyone else find it curious that so many of these sacred places across the West just happen to be areas where the enviro groups want to establish wilderness, monuments or some other restrictive designation?

No comments: