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

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)

Related Stories:
Lawsuits expected after President Trump changes Bears Ears boundary (June 28, 2017)
Secretary Zinke rejects complaints about consultation and Bears Ears (June 24, 2017)
Tribes lash out at Trump administration for lapses in consultation (June 13, 2017)
Ryan Benally: Bears Ears was a false promise for Native Americans (May 26, 2017)
Documents show few meetings between Secretary Zinke and tribes (May 22, 2017)
Deadline looms in Secretary Zinke's review of Bears Ears and other monuments (May 15, 2017)
Terry Tempest Williams: Will Bears Ears be the next Standing Rock? (May 8, 2017)
Tribes vow fight in effort to protect Bears Ears National Monument (May 3,2017)
Tribes encounter silence from Secretary Zinke in Bears Ears review (May 2, 2017)
Ute Tribe demands 'voice' as Trump orders review of Bears Ears (April 28, 2017)
Trump singles out Bears Ears as an 'abuse' of government's power(April 26, 2017)
Jacqueline Keeler: New monument marks victory for tribal sites (January 10, 2017)
Tribes celebrate designation of national monument at Bears Ears (January 9, 2017)
Mike Lee: Don't declare monument at sacred Bears Ears in Utah (December 13, 2016)
Sacred land protection efforts face questions with Donald Trump (November 18, 2016)
Emotions run strong as #NoDAPL seeps into debate on controversial public lands bill (September 14, 2016)
Editorial: Bears Ears in Utah deserves protection as new monument (August 1, 2016)
Tweedy Sombrero Navarrete: A Christian call to protect sacred land (July 29, 2016)
Richard Moe: Protect sacred and ancestral sites at Bears Ears (July 20, 2016)
Tribes gear up for fight over protections for sacred land in Utah (July 15, 2016)
Rebecca Benally: Navajos in Utah oppose Bears Ears monument (April 13, 2016)
Non-Indian official decries effort to protect sacred lands in Utah (March 15, 2016)
Tribes oppose effort to stop Bears Ears National Monument in Utah (March 10, 2016)
Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk: Protect Bears Ears for new generations (March 4, 2016)
Obama weighs tribal request for Bears Ears National Monument (February 12, 2016)
Tribes reiterate bid for national monument at Bears Ears in Utah (January 22, 2016)
Navajo Nation Council dispels misinformation about Bears Ears (October 29, 2015)
Tribes call for establishment of Bears Ears National Monument (October 16, 2015)
Jim Enote: Bears Ears worthy of status as national monument (October 14, 2015)
Tribes call for new national monument on sacred lands in Utah (August 5, 2015)