American Indian tribes and their allies stood united in defense of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monuments.
Over 7,000 Utahns joined with tribal and community leaders to speak out against President Trump’s scheduled Monday visit to the same location (State Capitol building) when he is expected to reduce Bears Ears by 85 percent in size, and Grand Staircase by 50 percent in size.
The event opened and closed with American Indian prayers, while traditional songs, drummers and dancers demonstrated the cultural vibrancy and diversity of Utah attendees.
“President Trump should go to Bears Ears, take off his shoes, take off his socks, and wriggle his toes in the warm soil to feel the earth. In Navajo stories, Navajo Mountain in view of Bears Ears is the origin of the earth. He should look her (the mountain) in the eyes before deciding whether or not to reduce Bears Ears,” stated Navajo Nation Attorney General Ethel Branch.”
In fear of developers and mining companies destroying the land, Chairman Virgil Johnson of the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation said, “Our Creator never made ugly lands” He then echoed Ethel Branch, ”President Trump, come to Bears Ears and take off your damn shoes.”
“We gathered here, in our diverse groups, to stand together with one voice. We stand here united to protect our shared heritage as Utahns. We will defend these monuments together no matter what,” Braidan Weeks Communication Coordinator, Utah Diné Bikéyah said.
The plan would cut the total amount of land in the state’s red rock country protected under monument status from more than 3.2 million acres (5,000 square miles) to about 1.2 million acres (1,875 square miles).