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Native Americans and Bears Ears

Josh Ewing, Utah Dine Bikeyah
A prehistoric granary in Bears Ears National Monument overlooking Cedar Mesa

A coalition of five sovereign Native American tribes was instrumental in last year’s declaration of Bears Ears National Monument. Those tribes all lived in the region long before white settlers, and tribal members say they depend on the Bears Ears for food, shelter, healing, and spiritual sustenance. For them, the landscape is alive. It has a heartbeat. It’s a valued member of the family. Tuesday, we'll talk about how Native Americans think about and relate to Bears Ears.


  • Eric Descheenie is a member of the Arizona House of Representatives, a former co-chair of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, and community liaison for Utah Dine Bikeyah, a grassroots Navajo nonprofit that lobbied for the creation of Bears Ears National Monument.
  • Tara Benally is a member of the Navajo Nation.
  • Charles Wilkinson is the Moses Lasky Professor of Law at University of Colorado Law School in Boulder, where he specializes in federal public land law and Indian law.
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