Newly Created Bears Ears Monument Already Under Attack; Feb. 7 ‘Water is Sacred’ Event, and More

Bears Ears formation (Image from Wikimedia Commons)
Bears Ears formation (Image from Wikimedia Commons)

One of President Obama’s last acts in office was to create the Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah, protecting 1.35 million acres around a pair of distinctive buttes that look like, well, bears ears.

The monument is barely a month old. The commission that will oversee the monument hasn’t been appointed yet. Already, the monument is under attack by Utah state leaders and apparently by the Trump administration.

According to Wikipedia:

The area within the monument is largely undeveloped and contains a wide array of historic, cultural and natural resources. The monument is co-managed by [federal agencies] … along with a coalition of five local Native American tribes; the Navajo Nation, Hopi, Ute Mountain Ute, Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation, and the Pueblo of Zuni, all of which have ancestral ties to the region.

U.S. Sen. Orin Hatch (R-Utah) said U.S. Interior Secretary nominee Rep. Ryan Zinke, (R-Montana), “plans to make Bears Ears a priority,” according to an article in Indian Country Today. Mark Maryboy, a grandchild of Navajo Chief Manuelito, told a reporter:

“The governor of Utah, the state legislature, the U.S. congressmen and senators of Utah have all expressed their plans to undo the monument, and almost on a daily basis we hear the state leadership talking about the undoing on TV and the evening news.”

Feb. 7 ‘Water is Sacred’ Film and Drum Event

Indigenous filmmaker Tiana LaPointe, and the Ringing Shield Drum Group will be presenting at the “Water is Sacred” film, drum and storytelling event on Tuesday, Feb. 7. The event is free and will be held at the Diamond Head Education Center, 200 W. Burnsville Parkway, upper level door 1, starting at 7 p.m.

LaPointe will show her film: Mni Ki Wakan: Water is Sacred, which documents her  experience at the U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in May. In addition, her brothers Wakinyan and Thorne of the Ringing Shield Drum Group will convey the sacredness of water through drumming and storytelling.

The event is being promoted by the Burnsville, Eagan, and Savage Community Education  program under the heading: “The Story We Tell is the World We Create.”

International Indian Treaty Council Opposes Trump’s Executive Memo on DAPL

The International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) supports the Standing Rock Nation in its opposition to President Trump’s executive actions that aim to expedite the review and approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and other pipelines, it said in a statement.

The 1851 and 1868 Treaties between the “Great Sioux Nation” (Lakota, Dakota and Nakota) and the US require these Indigenous Nations’ consent before incursions take place on their Treaty lands. The President’s Executive Order and Memorandums fail to acknowledge these nation-­to-nation legally-­binding obligations.

IITC recently visited Standing Rock, along with a representative of United Nations
Working Group on the issue of Human Rights, Transnational Corporations and other Business Enterprises. Find the full IITC Statement here.

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