For the land and the people
“Bears Ears is not just a place full of trees, plants and animals. It is life and we are woven into it to protect it for it is in our nature to be the lords and protector of these lands. When we lose that connection, our connection with our culture, Mother Nature and the cosmic energy of space will be lost.” ~ Shiprock, New Mexico
Utah Diné Bikéyah was first established in 2012 and later became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 2014.
Utah Diné Bikéyah is a Native American-led, values-driven organization that recognizes the deep and ongoing spiritual connection between indigenous people and the land. UDB operates at the intersection between culture and conservation, by promoting land protection that honors and includes human societies that have existed in ecosystems since time immemorial. UDB seeks to heal people and the Earth by ensuring that sacred ancestral lands remain intact for future generations of all people.
When it comes to our core values, we believe in the power of healing.
Healing is achieved through the process of strengthening our ties to the land, practicing our Native cultures and languages, and treating one another with respect. We believe these values are mutually self-reinforcing by nature.
Some Cool Facts
Numbers Speak For Themselves
“Preserve and protect the cultural and natural resources of ancestral Native American lands to benefit and bring healing to people and the Earth.”
Utah Diné Bikéyah, pronounced di-NAY bi-KAY-yuh, can literally be translated from the Navajo language to “the people’s sacred lands”.
UDB, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to healing of people and the Earth through supporting Indigenous communities and protecting their culturally significant, ancestral lands.
Our mission is simply to “Preserve and protect the cultural and natural resources of ancestral Native American Lands to benefit and bring healing to people and the Earth.”
When it comes to our core values, we believe healing is achieved through the process of strengthening our ties to the land, practicing our Native cultures and languages, and treating one another with respect. We believe these values are mutually self-reinforcing by nature.
How do we support Tribes?
Utah Diné Bikéyah provides critical tools, training, and technical support to the five Tribes—Navajo, Hopi, Zuni, Ute Mountain Ute, & Uintah Ouray Ute—who are leading the call to protect the Bears Ears cultural landscape as a national monument.
Specifically, UDB provides:
- Traditional Ecological Knowledge research and mapping
- Public lands policy analysis
- Native American grassroots community organizing
- Public education
Origins of the Proposal
Protection for the Bears Ears cultural landscape emerged from the hearts and minds of Utah Navajo people more than six years ago. In 2010 former Utah Senator Rob Bennett asked Native people in San Juan County, UT, if they had any interest in how public lands were managed. White Mesa Uta and Utah Navajo grassroots people responded that the depth of their connections are so deep that they had been afraid to speak out for fear of what might still be taken away. The ancestral lands of Bears Ears lie outside reservation boundaries and hold special historical and spiritual significance for regional Native people (Overview). Utah Diné Bikéyah grew from local Utah Navajos elders’ and leaders’ caring and concern for this area. Over time other local tribes joined in and strengthened our efforts. UDB participates in land planning initiatives and stakeholder engagement processes to ensure that future access, uses, and management of federal public lands in San Juan County support traditional practices.
Linked below is also a “Bears Ears Timeline” document that details important milestones in the development of the proposal as well as copies of many of the letters submitted by UDB, the Navajo Nation to San Juan County, Congressman Bishop, and Congressman Chaffetz.