Trump executive order attacks tribal and local support for bears ears monument

Ft. Duchesne, UT —April 27, 2017.

The Ute Tribal Business Committee is alarmed by President Trump’s unilateral action threatening the Bears Ears National Monument.  The designation of the Bears Ears National Monument was the result of past consultations and cooperation between the Ute Indian Tribe, other tribes, the Federal government, state and local governments, and local stakeholders.  President Trump’s Executive Order issued yesterday from far away Washington, D.C. threatens this achievement of local participants.

“If President Trump wants changes in how national monuments are designated, he should change how the law is used in the future,” said the Ute Tribal Business Committee, “he should not revoke or change Monuments already agreed to.”  The Business Committee continued, “The only groups opposed to Bears Ears and other monuments are D.C. politicians and their lobbyists.  This monument was established with the input and support of five Tribal Nations and should not be arbitrarily set aside or rescinded.” 

The Ute Indian Tribe’s history and our future - our Ute identity - is inextricably tied to the sacred landscape protected by the Bears Ears National Monument.  The Monument was intended, in part, to honor the United States’ treaty and trust responsibilities to the Ute Indian Tribe and other Indian tribes—the first Americans.  The Monument sustains our way of life and our cultural practices.

 “The Monument was designated in response to government-to-government discussions that honored the trust relationship between the Federal Government and Indian Country,” said the Ute Tribal Business Committee. “Any proposed changes can only be done through full tribal consultation that respects our sovereignty and the authority of the tribes to manage the Monument.”

The Ute Tribal Business Committee intends to fully engage Interior Secretary Zinke in discussions about the importance of the Monument and why it was designated.  “Secretary Zinke said ‘finally, rural America has a voice again.’” “What about our voice?” asked the Ute Tribal Business Committee. “It’s been almost two months since we asked Secretary Zinke to meet.  He must live up to his commitment to work with Tribes, honor our voice, and not just listen to D.C. politicians.” 

The Ute Tribal Business Committee is available for a further press briefing, please contact the Tribal Business Committee’s Executive Secretary, Reannin Stewart, at 435-722-5141 to coordinate any request for scheduling a press briefing.


About the Ute Indian Tribe-The Ute Indian Tribe resides on the Uintah and Ouray Reservation in northeastern Utah. Three bands of Utes comprise the Ute Indian Tribe: the Whiteriver Band, the Uncompahgre Band and the Uintah Band. The Tribe has a membership of more than three thousand individuals, with over half living on the Uintah and Ouray Reservation. The Ute Indian Tribe operates its own tribal government and oversees approximately 1.3 million acres of trust land which contains significant oil and gas deposits.  The Tribal Business Committee is the governing council of the Tribe.