Press Release: Next 100 Coalition Urges Trump, Zinke to Uphold Bear Ears
Washington, D.C. – Today, members of the Next 100 Coalition, a diverse coalition of civil rights, environmental justice, conservation, religious and community organizations released a letter urging the Trump Administration to uphold the Bears Ears National Monument. It is the only U.S. national monument with a primary focus on the spiritual, historical, and natural heritage of Indigenous Peoples.
In the letter, the groups celebrate the Bears Ears National Monument’s significance “not only to tribes, but to all nations and people. The recognizes Indigenous peoples’ leadership as effective, central and necessary to the proper stewardship of U.S. land and waters. The establishment of Bears Ears National Monument and the Bears Ears Commission is an important step forward in implementing a new public lands vision and leadership model that prioritizes respect to our nation’s first Indigenous peoples.”
The letter supports the newly formed Bears Ears Commission, a body of tribal appointees responsible for advising the Administration on management of the Monument. The first act of the Bears Ears Commission was to request that the Trump Administration uphold the Bears Ears National Monument’s designation, and respect its existing boundaries.
The letter stated, “we strongly urge your Administration to not only meet with the Bears Ears Commission within the confines of office buildings, but also to send Secretary Zinke and other high-level Administration officials to spend time meaningfully engaging with the Bears Ears Commission on-site at the Bears Ears National Monument. Your Administration can then hear first hand what the National Monument means to various tribes’ cultures, spiritualities, and histories.”
The letter went on to warn, “it would be a sign of profound disrespect to tribes, and all who collectively steward public lands, for the Administration to make any decision regarding the Bears Ears National Monument before such substantive engagement has taken place.”
The Next 100 Coalition of civil rights, environmental justice, conservation, religious and community organizations is advocating for greater inclusion of diverse communities in our country’s national parks and other public lands.