It began as an agenda item on the Conservation Lands Foundation land takeover list in 2014 and they used financial allies until they had their way. Native people were simply a means to an end.
For Utah Natives who fought against the Bears Ears designation, monuments represent broken promises made to a long line of Native hearts, living on broken lands. The Navajo know what it’s like to live without electricity or running water.
Open Letter by Janet Wilcox
Beyond the Bears Ears
Dear President Trump,
I pray you will listen to concerns that Utah and other western states have regarding the absconding of land via the Antiquities Act. When a single president can confiscate 553 Million acres while local citizens in hundreds of rural communities suffer environmental terrorism, there is something wrong with the federal government, something wrong with this 1906 legislation, and something terribly wrong about the power of NGOs who seem to have all the cards. It’s time that you show them the “Trump” card and rescind those recent designations.
If the Bears Ears Monument were initiated by Utah Tribes who live here, that might be a different story, but the Conservation Lands Foundation from Durango, Colorado was the initiator, orchestrator, planner and financial broker in this real estate deal. They used neighboring tribes to form a pro-monument coalition, offering financial benefits and promising power to “co-manage” the monument. It began as an agenda item on the CLF land takeover list in 2014 and they used financial allies until they had their way. Native people were simply a means to an end.
For Utah Natives who fought against the Bears Ears designation, monuments represent broken promises made to a long line of Native hearts, living on broken lands. The Navajo know what it’s like to live without electricity or running water. There are greater needs than locking up land and locking out jobs. But the Environazis don’t care about this, and the Environmental Hunger Games are moving on to capture Cascade-Siskiyou Monument in Oregon, Coastal areas in California, and over 6 million acres in Alaska. These lands are not being secured for the benefit of the United States or its people. The greed of the ultra-Green is unbelievable and will only benefit the countries to which we are indebted to some $20 trillion. We support our Utah congressional leaders and we supported you in the last election. Please seek to rescind the designations, and to repeal or modify substantially the Antiquities Act. Yes, it’s time for a change, and time to make America Great Again.
Video by Sutherland Institute
Excerpt from Sutherland Institute website
Time and again locals have expressed their opinion that the push for a monument seemed rotten from the start – it was not something they initiated. Why would San Juan County residents, who have successfully taken care of the land for centuries, suddenly decide that they can no longer protect the area? These people know how to live in harmony with the land – respecting archaeological sites, conserving wildlife, and preserving the grandeur of the landscape. They understand that a monument designation would diminish their stewardship over the area, turning it over to bureaucrats and special interests headquartered thousands of miles away in Washington, D.C.
Advocates also claim that locals seek a designation because of the economic prosperity it would bring. San Juan County residents know better. Major parts of one national park, three national monuments, and a national recreation area already exist in San Juan County. But even with these “protected” lands, the county has the lowest income per person and lowest median family income in the state. It also ranks among the most economically depressed in the entire country. Locals have seen firsthand that locking up multiple-use lands has prevented prosperity, and they expect to suffer even more under the burden of yet another national monument. They understand that a strong economy is a diverse one – relying on a host of activities to drive it – and that a national monument like the Bears Ears will reduce their economic diversity and deepen their financial woes by forcing them to be more dependent on tourism.
Another misconception is the assertion that San Juan County residents have been an integral part of the process. Monument advocates have used tens of millions of dollars and a coordinated media campaign to paint a picture of local involvement. Reality stands in stark contrast to this. Not only have locals been left out of conversations between the federal government and monument supporters, but efforts have been made to drown out local voices during the limited opportunities that residents had to give input.
Outside influence and deception have come to define the campaign to designate the Bears Ears region as a national monument. Special interests have co-opted the process to use federal power as a means of securing their agenda, despite local opposition.