Trump erred in shrinking national monument in Utah
Vacationing in Utah a decade ago, my husband and I drove through what is now Bears Ears National Monument on our way from Canyonlands National Park to Arches National Park.
We were pleased when President Barack Obama set aside this stark and beautiful landscape, full of archaeological sites and ancient sacred places, for protection from exploitation by extractive industries and other development. For the first time ever, Native Americans, representing five tribes in the area, gained the opportunity to co-manage protected lands with the relevant federal agencies.
It is deeply ironic that just now, when a small step in the right direction away from settler colonialism seemed possible, the president has chosen to insult the traditional owners of the Bears Ears region by nearly wiping out the new national monument. His disingenuous announcement, while surrounded by local Republican politicians, said that he was opening the land for use by “the public,” meaning in this case, corporations rather than real people.
Patricia K. Townsend