Valley of the Gods at Bears Ears National Monument in Utah. Photo: Bob Wick / Bureau of Land Management

Loni Romo: We owe it to future generations to keep Bears Ears protected

Bears Ears National Monument is on the chopping block as President Donald Trump weighs a recommendation to shrink its boundaries. Loni Romo, a young citizen from the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, explains why Indian Country must stand up when sacred sites are threatened:
In May of this year, my mother and I received a unique opportunity through the Episcopal Diocese of Nevada: to travel to Washington, D.C. and advocate for the good care of all public lands – including and especially our national monuments. When our Bishop offered us the opportunity to speak as indigenous Christian peoples, I was unsure, but up for the task.

I read and prepared for my travels. I especially studied the Bears Ears National Monument, and connected with this place that is sacred to many different tribes, and which now may be reduced. I learned that the Bears Ears region contains more than 100,000 sites with archaeological, cultural and spiritual significance. The land supports indigenous traditional livelihoods, spiritual life and medicinal and cultural practices. While indigenous people are taught that all land and water are sacred, Bears Ears is even more significant to the surrounding tribes. This is where they perform their deepest ceremonies.

On our own reservation we have a lake that is sacred to our people. I cannot imagine someone coming in to harm or abuse the lake for lack of security or protection, and the effect it would have on my people if we were faced with what the Bears Ears tribes are facing now.

Read More on the Story:
Loni Romo: The Case for Bears Ears from a Northern Paiute Perspective (Indian Country Media Network 7/8)

Federal Register Notice:
Review of Certain National Monuments Established Since 1996; Notice of Opportunity for Public Comment (May 11, 2017)

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