More You Can do

Let's continue to protect our sacred lands

This year we embrace the changes of the wind, as COVID-19 simmers down and the restorative actions toward Bears Ears National Monument have taken place. With fresh snow falling at the paws of Bears Ears, we look forward to the gleams of light that help us continue our mission at Utah Diné Bikéyah.

For January 2021, we hope to continue our journey in “restorative justice.”  As we are incredibly grateful for the restoration of Bears Ears National Monument, we continue to advocate for the expansion of Bears Ears to the size suggested of 1.9 million acres.

Our mission is to “Preserve and protect the cultural and natural resources of ancestral Native American lands to benefit and bring healing to people and the Earth.” And in our book, that means restoration is about collectively rekindling our relationships to the animals, the mountains, and the winds who are the teachers and knowers of life.

As a reminder, the clear sky, warm rain and brown soil  is meant for all of Earth’s creations to feel nurtured, loved and acknowledged.  Similar to 2021, we will continue to seek justice for our planet, as well as for each other.

Restorative Justice continues to be about healing.

Call, write, & visit your representatives

UDB Board Member Jonah Yellowman & former Executive Director Gavin Noyes meet with Utah Senator Jim Dabakis, a legislative ally on Native American issues.

Contacting our legislative representatives is one of the most important tools of democracy—and a great way to demonstrate support for Bears Ears.

UDB encourages you to speak from your heart about what Bears Ears and Indigenous voices means to you.

Student representatives from seven universities and colleges across Utah held a press conference at the State Capitol on March 15, 2016, to express support for Bears Ears and opposition to the Public Lands Initiative draft legislation.

Unsure what to say?

Feel free to copy and paste this text into an email, or read it aloud over the phone.

My name is _____________ and I am contacting you to encourage your support for President Biden to expand Bears Ears National Monument to 1.9 million acres.

I stand with five sovereign tribal nations: Hopi, Navajo, Zuni, Ute Mountain Ute, and Uintah Ouray Ute—calling on the President to protect 1.9 million acres of ancestral land in southeast Utah as a living cultural landscape for future generations of all people.

As a constituent, I ask you to use your prominence as a publicly elected official to formally endorse the Bears Ears National Monument proposal. I encourage you to learn more about this carefully-crafted and tribally-led initiative, which has the unified support of more than 125 Native American nations across the U.S.

Please lend your support by letting the Biden administration know that voters want to see Bears Ears National Monument protected—for good.

Thank you!

Reach out to your local paper

Girl rides horse at Bears Ears | Tim Peterson

Spreading the word about Bears Ears is crucial to building support for this grassroots effort.

Your Words Count!

Writing a Letter to the Editor of your local newspapers is a great way to promote an accurate understanding of the Bears Ears, and let your community know that you support this historic initiative.

It doesn’t take much time and your letter doesn’t need to be long: most newspapers recommend around 300 words.

Where to start? What to say?

If you are wanting to compose a letter together but are unsure what to say here are some facts and ideas to get you started: 

  • 1.9 million acre proposed national monument
  • At least 100,000 archaeological sites within the proposed boundary
  • 5 sovereign tribal nations leading the initiative: Navajo, Hopi, Ute Mountain Ute, Zuni, and Uintah Ouray Ute
  • 25 Tribes formally endorse the proposal
  • 270 tribal nations across the U.S. have expressed their support through the National Congress of American Indians
  • 66% of Utahns support designation of Bears Ears National Monument (according to this poll – Jan 2016)
  • 64% of San Juan County, Utah, residents support Bears Ears
  • 6 of 7 Utah Navajo chapter houses voted to support the Bears Ears proposal
  • Heal the past
  • Protect the Earth
  • Honor Native
  • American cultures
  • Prevent looting and artifact theft
  • Respect for graves and other sacred sites
  • Ensure future generations get to experience this place
  • Elevate Native voices in land management
  • Prohibit further mineral extraction
  • Support government-to-government relations between sovereign tribal nations and the U.S. federal gov’t
  • Conserve this amazing landscape

Defeat the (IM)PURE Act

Threat: Protect Utah’s Rural Economy (PURE) Act – proponents of this bill say it would give Utah’s rural communities a real voice in local land management policies. This is #fakenews! In fact, this proposed act would prevent the American president from establishing or expanding a national monument in Utah, unless the proposed monument has been authorized by an act of Congress or Utah’s state legislature. This bill, which UDB has dubbed the (IM)PURE Act, is jointly sponsored by Senators Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and Mike Lee., R-Utah.

Fact: The (IM)PURE Act is really about protecting the interests of large resource extractive industries. The Department of Interior is leasing our public lands to coal, oil and gas companies and National Monument status precluding new mining leases. If we want public land management policies that enhance Utah’s rural economies we need to compare the economies of counties that rely on resource extractive industries to those that depend on the sustainable economic sectors that hold promise.

Resource extractive industries that lease our public lands subject their host counties to boom and bust episodes that impede orderly growth and hinder opportunities for creating locally owned business. The resource extractive industries are almost always headquartered in locations far removed from Utah’s rural counties. They are subject to national and global markets and corporate policies outside of the influence of Utah’s local governments. Their profits do not end up in Utah and when losses inevitably occur, they are forced to layoff thousands of employees without consideration of the impact on local families. Instead of exporting the wealth of Utah’s rural counties, we should focus on the abundant opportunities and support local entrepreneurship by importing and recirculating wealth and encouraging local and Native owned businesses who will respond to local needs.

Most importantly, the intent of this bill, is to hinder our likely outcome of fully restoring Bears Ears National Monument. Utah politicians continue to suppress, the political voices of Tribes of the Bears Ears region by suggesting that only the majority of the Utah state legislature should be the final authority in establishing or expanding land protection in Utah, when the tribes should be treated as sovereign nations and not be subject to state rule, especially in places like Utah, where Tribes are often left out of local planning efforts.

Fogs fills the air down in Southeastern Utah | Terry Tempest Williams

Last fall, Willie Grayeyes, who previously served as UDB board member before resigning and being elected to the San Juan County Commission, talked about how the (IM)PURE ACT is actually an assault on Native American voices. He says:

  • The (IM)PURE Act attempts to block cultural and natural resource protection to instead promote the exploitation of non-renewable energy resources like coal, uranium, and oil and gas on public lands
  • Bears Ears is a collaborate solution designed by Tribes to prevent any environmental threats and the Antiquities Act should be left along to protect ancestral indigenous ties to public lands
  • The (IM)PURE Act disrupts the ongoing healing movement
  • More than 2 million Americans opposed the reduction of Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase National Monument

How can you help?

Take action and call Senators Mitt Romney and Mike Lee, as well as your U.S. Senators to defeat this horrific bill.

Tell Senators Lee and Romney to listen to Native Americans and work with the newly elected Native majority San Juan County Commission; and local Native communities who are nearly unanimous in our support for Bears Ears and the Antiquities Act.

To contact Senator Romney, call 202-224-5251 or 801-524-4380.

To contact Senator Lee, call 202-224-5444 or 801-524-5933.