Yesterday, the Utah Tribal Leaders association (UTL) passed a formal resolution of support in favor of Bears Ears National Monument. The official representatives from seven of Utah’s eight Tribes discussed and voted on the resolution during UTL’s quarterly meeting, which was held in Cedar City, UT, on Thursday, June 9th. The resolution passed easily by a 6-to-1 margin. The Ute Tribe of the Uinta Ouray Reservation was not present, but supports the issue as a formal member of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition.
The resolution stated, “The Utah Tribal Leaders association extends its support for the Bears Ears National Monument by President Obama that reflects the will and values of Native peoples whose identities, histories, cultures, and futures are inextricably tied to these lands.”
Voting in favor of the resolution were Virgil Jonson, Chairman or the Confederated Tribes of Goshute and acting Chairman of the UTL; Davis Filfred, 23rd Navajo Nation Council Delegate; Malcolm Lehi, Ute Mountain Ute Councilman; Corrina Bow, Chairwoman of the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah; Dennis Allex, Vice-Chair, Northwestern Band of Shoshone Nation; Candace Bear, Chairwoman of the Skull Valley Band of Goshute; and Zelda Johnny, Vice-Chair of the Confederate Tribes of Goshute. Each leader had already obtained the support of their respective councils for the Bears Ears resolution.
“We are a unified front,” Virgil Johnson stated after the vote, “Tribes will work together to preserve the cultural availability of resources on our aboriginal land. That is the bottom line.”
The UTL’s resolution is the most recent demonstration of overwhelmingly unified support for Bears Ears National Monument among sovereign tribal nations, grassroots Native Americans, and Utah citizens. The UTL resolution joins independent declarations of support from 25 Tribes throughout the Four Corners states and a joint resolution from the National Congress of American Indians with membership of nearly 300 Tribes. The Utah Tribal Leaders association has now formally joined the call for President Barack Obama to exercise his power under the 1906 Antiquities Act to protect Bears Ears National Monument.
“I stand with my people in full support of Bears Ears National Monument,” said 23rd Navajo Nation Council Delegate Davis Filfred, who represents four of the seven Utah Navajo chapter houses. “Bears Ears National Monument is the path toward healing the past and protecting Chief Manuelito’s birthplace and descendants of Kaayelii lands for future generations.”
The resolution was opposed by May Preston, President of the San Juan Southern Paiute. Senator David Hinkins, who represents Southeastern Utah was invited by UTL leaders to participate in the meeting and expressed the State of Utah’s official position in favor of protection, but against Presidential action and a National Monument designation.
Link to see signed resolution: UTL-resolution-6-9-16