(December 4, 2017)—Archaeology Southwest stands with sovereign tribal nations, local and national conservation organizations, and millions of other Americans in denouncing President Trump’s drastic dismantling of Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
In response to these proclamations, William H. (Bill) Doelle, President & CEO of Archaeology Southwest, issued the following statement:
“Although we have known for some time that the president was expected to undertake this terrible and unprecedented attack on the Antiquities Act, that does not make today’s news any less painful or appalling.
“What strengthens our resolve is our conviction—supported by legal scholars—that the president’s action is unlawful. What continues to impel us is our knowledge—which cannot be erased—that these lands are sacred to tribes who have been here since time immemorial.
“We will not give up. We will not let this insult to tribal nations, to our shared history as Americans, or to the process by which our country celebrates and protects our histories on the landscape stand. Our outrage is just.
“We are ready. Together with several organizations that share missions like ours—to respectfully explore and protect knowledge in the land—we are prepared to pursue all legal options in defense of the Antiquities Act and the sanctity of our national monuments.
“We will do this on behalf of our supporters and all Americans who value our public lands and the stories they carry.”
To understand the scope of what this action means for Bears Ears National Monument, read our report, Bears Ears Archaeological Experts Gathering: Assessing and Looking Ahead, here (free PDF download).
Archaeological and historical sites will be left with inadequate protections. Our friends and partners at the Friends of Cedar Mesa provide a concise overview of what is affected in their statement here.
We also recommend R. E. Burrillo’s review, “The Archaeology of Bears Ears,” in the current edition of the Society for American Archaeology’s SAA Archaeological Record here (free digital edition).
About Archaeology Southwest
Archaeology Southwest is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Tucson, Arizona, that explores and protects the places of our past across the American Southwest and Mexican Northwest. For three decades, Archaeology Southwest has fostered meaningful connections to the past and respectfully safeguarded its irreplaceable resources. Learn more at www.archaeologysouthwest.org.
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Kate Sarther Gann
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