Navajo Nation urges full restoration of Bears Ears in Utah meeting with Interior officials

The Bears Ears of the Bears Ears National Monument are pictured from the air on Monday, May 8, 2017.

The Bears Ears of the Bears Ears National Monument are pictured from the air on Monday, May 8, 2017. Navajo Nation leaders called for full restoration and expansion of the Bears Ears National Monument to 1.9 million acres in a meeting with U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland on Wednesday in Bluff, Utah. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Navajo Nation leaders called for full restoration and expansion of the Bears Ears National Monument to 1.9 million acres in a meeting with U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland on Wednesday in Bluff, San Juan County.

The move would reverse former President Donald Trump’s sweeping reduction of the national monument designated under former President Barack Obama.

“It was an honor to meet with Secretary Haaland,” Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said in a prepared statement issued Wednesday night after the meeting.

“It was truly a historic moment to have a Native American woman, serving in such a high position, at the head of the table discussing these important issues with leaders that represent the First People of this country,” Nez said. “Her willingness to meet personally on this issue is meaningful and shows that she is willing to take time to meet with tribal leaders as well as other stakeholders in the Bears Ears region before providing her recommendation to President Biden.”

Navajo Nation
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, left, and Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez poses for a photo during Haaland’s meeting with Navajo Nation leaders in Bluff on Wednesday, April 7, 2021.

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Haaland is scheduled to tour Bears Ears National Monument areas on Thursday, and at 2:30 p.m. hold a press conference at the Edge of the Cedars Park Museum in Blanding with Utah officials. After the press conference, she’s expected to tour the museum and hold a meeting with local elected officials.

On Friday, she’s is set to be in Kane County and Garfield County to review Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments issues.

Nez described the meeting with Haaland, the country’s first Native American to serve in a Cabinet position, as an opportunity to share with her the “significance of Bears Ears to the Navajo people.”

“This landscape is home to many historical and cultural sites, plants, water, traditional medicines, and teachings for our people. It also provided refuge for our people in times of conflict. One of our most notable leaders, Chief Manuelito, was born there, but it is more than that. Bears Ears is sacred and it deserves to be protected.”

Tonight I heard directly from Tribal leaders from the five Tribes in the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition tonight. I appreciate the important connection they and their people have to this land. pic.twitter.com/3gzLV74XzO

— Secretary Deb Haaland (@SecDebHaaland) April 8, 2021

Haaland also met with Utah Gov. Spencer Cox and the state’s all-GOP congressional delegation including Sen. Mitt Romney, Rep. John Curtis, and Rep. Blake Moore on Wednesday to discuss “a path forward” for both Bears Ears …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News

      

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