Tell Interior to Leave Bears Ears Alone


Indian Creek, Bears Ears National Monument pc BLM

Interior Secretary Zinke has said he will not consider any comments regarding upholding Bears Ears National Monument that were submitted prior to May 11. This is an affront to public participation, and blatant hypocrisy.

Please sign our letter below to the Department of Interior demanding that Secretary Zinke respect his department’s years-long evaluation process for designating Bears Ears National Monument, as well as honor the commitment we made to the native people who hold Bears Ears sacred. You may also submit online comments on your own—and we encourage you to do so—but only through this designated comment form. (IMPORTANT: The July 10, 2017 deadline shown on the form does not apply to Bears Ears comments, which must be submitted no later than May 26.)

And if you haven’t yet, please take a moment to call your Senators and Representative to let them know you value Bears Ears National Monument and oppose any effort to revoke it or reduce its size.

Monument Review
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20240

Dear Secretary Zinke,

We, the undersigned, are writing to ask that you respect the years of work that had already been invested by your department when President Obama designated Bears Ears National Monument on December 28, 2016.

Interior staff carefully researched and documented the rich natural, archeological, and cultural history of the Bears Ears region in order to determine the smallest area compatible with the proper care, management and protection of the Monument’s resources. Overturning or overwriting the comprehensive efforts of your colleagues would be placing short-sighted political goals before your foremost duty to protect and manage the nation's natural resources and cultural heritage.

It would also be renouncing the commitment the nation made to the Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Pueblo of Zuni, and Ute Indian Tribe. They hold the Bears Ears as a sacred place, and thousands of years’ worth of archeological evidence supports their conviction. The Bears Ears designation, for the first time, gave Native Americans a principal role in managing their cultural resources. Revoking or reducing the size of Bears Ears after a cursory 45-day review would disrespect the native people who consider Bears Ears sacred, and negotiated, in good faith, their role in preserving it.

It is ironic that the administration has made claims that Bears Ears National Monument was designated without sufficient public input, given that you are now deciding the fate of Bears Ears in just 45 days and have stated you will not consider the tens of thousands of valid comments regarding Bears Ears National Monument that were submitted prior to May 11.

Many of the crown jewels of the National Park System you oversee, including Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Olympic, Bryce Canyon and Zion, were first protected not as parks but as National Monuments. Today no one, not even the most rabid critics of the Antiquities Act, would call for rescinding or shrinking the size of these landmarks.

You have said you look to Teddy Roosevelt as a role model. Please consider whether he would have chosen to rescind Bears Ears National Monument when presented the choice.

Indian Creek, Bears Ears National Monument—BLM

















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