Pressure mounts for tribal management of Bears Ears

By Jennifer Yachnin | 06/03/2024 04:26 PM EDT

A new campaign pushes the Biden administration to opt for a management plan that stresses Indigenous knowledge for the Utah national monument.

Bears Ears National Monument

Ancient granaries, part of the House on Fire ruins, are shown here in the South Fork of Mule Canyon in the Bears Ears National Monument on May 12, 2017, outside Blanding, Utah. George Frey/Getty Images

Native Americans and conservation advocates on Monday rolled out a campaign urging the Biden administration to adopt a strategy that emphasizes tribal management of the Bears Ears National Monument.

The Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition — composed of leaders of the Navajo Nation, Ute Indian Tribe, Zuni Tribe, Hopi Tribe and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe — and outdoor retailer Patagonia pledge to press for adoption of a management plan that stresses resource protection along with the use of Indigenous knowledge to steward the 1.35 million-acre monument in southeastern Utah.

“Bears Ears holds deep spiritual and cultural significance, and is rich in ancestral history,” said Craig Andrews, who serves as co-chair of Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition and vice chair of the Hopi Tribe. “Protecting Bears Ears ensures that future generations can continue to connect with our history and cultural identity.”


The group is urging the Biden administration to adopt a version of the management plan known as Alternative E, one of five options being weighed by the Bureau of Land Management and the Agriculture Department’s Forest Service.