An Update on Bears Ears National Monument: Case Will Continue in D.C.
Categories: Religious Freedom/Sacred Sites/Repatriation
Federal Judge Tanya S. Chutkan ruled on Monday, September 24, that the cases filed against the Trump Administration’s revoke and replacement of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments will remain in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia—where they were filed—and that the Department of the Interior must alert the tribes at least 48 hours before they allow any ground disturbing activities on the disputed lands.
Although the president does not have any authority to revoke or modify a monument, that is exactly what President Trump has attempted at Bears Ears National Monument. Removing protections for these lands affects all Americans, but significantly affects the five tribes (Navajo Nation, Hopi Tribe, Ute Indian Tribe, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, and Pueblo of Zuni) in the region who consider the area sacred and have long-standing and ongoing connections to the land in question. With the issue of venue decided, this significant case can move forward; Chutkan’s order calls for the parties to begin briefing in early October.
NARF Staff Attorney Natalie Landreth stated, “We are eager to move forward with this case and to stop President Trump’s illegal actions against these lands, which are of utmost importance to the Native peoples in the region but important to the legacy of America for all citizens. The administration’s actions lack any legal authority and would open the Bears Ears region to exploitation by individuals and industries seeking profit regardless of the historical, cultural, and scientific importance of the area to tribes and others. The removal of these protections is not only morally wrong, it is illegal.”
Read more about NARF’s work to protect Bears Ears National Monument. NARF continues to fight for the Native nations who have spent years working to protect their sacred, ancestral lands and the millions of people who declared their support for our national monuments. We will not allow the rights of our Native nations and our local people to be willfully pushed to the side for the benefit of corporate interests. We will stand firm for justice. Donate now to help protect Bears Ears National Monument.