The Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, as well as representatives from the Navajo Nation, Hopi Tribe, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Pueblo of Zuni and Ute Indian Tribe formalized the arrangement Saturday, just before unveiling a new panel. for the monument which includes the insignia of the tribal nations.
Carleton Bowekaty, lieutenant governor of the Pueblo of Zuni Tribe, said the ability to manage tribal ancestral homes is the best path to restorative justice.
“Today, instead of being removed from a landscape to make way for a public park, we are being invited back to our ancestral lands to help repair them and plan for a resilient future,” said Bowekaty, co-chair of the Bears Ears Commission. , the panel of tribal representatives responsible for working with federal officials.
Bears Ears, a sprawling region in southern Utah rich in red rock canyons, cliff dwellings and numerous archaeological sites, has been at the center of protests, political battles and broken promise in recent years. years.
In 2016, former President Barack Obama used the Antiquities Act to designate Bears Ears a national monument and ordered officials to engage tribal government officers in developing a management plan for the monument. Before a year was up, former President Donald Trump decided to reduce his borders by about 85%.
Each tribe – the Navajo Nation, the Hopi Tribe, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, the Pueblo of Zuni and the Ute Indian Tribe – has ancestral ties to Bears Ears that date back to time immemorial. Many Native Americans often come to run in prayer, connect with the spirit of their ancestors, and gather medicinal herbs.
Because of their ties to the land, the tribesmen began to seek a way to protect the land and formed the intertribal Bears Ears Coalition in 2015. The group advocated for the monument and worked to develop a land management plan.
“This is truly, for me, a victory because of the vision, leadership and tenacity of the tribes involved,” Patrick Gonzales-Rogers, executive director of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, said of the event. ‘OK.
Gonzales-Rogers said the result of the tribes’ work should be seen as a model of collective partnership and co-management for the rest of Indian Country and all other communities of color.
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said Tuesday that the agreement represents “what true tribal co-management should look like: sharing decisions and the management plan with federal investments to complement efforts. It’s a step in how we honor our nation-to-nation-with-tribes relationships,” she said.
Tracy Stone-Manning, director of the Bureau of Land Management, said the agreement formalizes a unique partnership that will serve as a model for the future.
“This is an important step as we move forward together to ensure that tribal expertise and traditional perspectives remain at the forefront of our joint decision-making for Bears Ears National Monument. This type of true co-management will serve as a model for our work to honor the nation-to-nation relationship in the future,” Stone-Manning said in a statement.
Gonzales-Rogers told CNN that the coalition will submit its final land management plan in the coming weeks and that tribes expect it to “serve as a compass” of their priorities as the Office of Management des Terres is working on a new plan for the monument.