The lengthy timeline of emotional events related to Bears Ears National Monument settled into a very positive place this past Saturday. An even better future is on that horizon.
The five Tribes of the Bears Ears Commission signed an Inter-Governmental Cooperative Agreement with the BLM and the Forest Service for the “Cooperative Management of the Federal Lands and Resources of the Bears Ears National Monument.” Congratulations to all who made this happen. It surely was hard work.
As several news outlets share (linked below), Carleton Bowekaty, the Lieutenant Governor of Zuni Pueblo, stated: “Today, instead of being removed from a landscape to make way for a public park, we are being invited back to our ancestral homelands to help repair them.”
Bowekaty’s words echo those of Mark Maryboy of Utah Diné Bikéyah. In 2015, Mr. Maryboy welcomed representatives from these five sovereign Tribal nations—the Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation, and Pueblo of Zuni—as they came together at Bears Ears. His greeting to the assembled Tribes was simple: “Welcome home.”
In that healing environment, the five Tribes formed the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition and took on the advocacy campaign for Bears Ears National Monument. Today, those five Tribes are the Bears Ears Commission.
(For anyone who is new to the monument’s story and the three Antiquities Act presidential actions of the Bears Ears timeline: Barack Obama proclaimed Bears Ears National Monument on December 28, 2016; Donald J. Trump—likely illegally—downsized Bears Ears National Monument by 85 percent on December 4, 2017; and Joseph R. Biden Jr. restored Bears Ears National Monument on October 8, 2021.)
Saturday’s signing has put into place the right team to carry forward the healing process that Bears Ears welcomes.
Truly, my hope is that the healing extends well beyond Bears Ears.
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
Banner image © Morgan Sjogren
Tribes, BLM Sign Historic Agreement for Managing Bears Ears National Monument
At a signing ceremony on Saturday, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, and the five Tribes of the Bears Ears Commission formalized and celebrated their partnership for co-management of the Bears Ears National Monument. After signing the cooperative agreement formally recognizing their strong working relationship, the parties travelled to Highway 261 to unveil the Bears Ears National Monument sign, which includes insignias of the Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation, and the Pueblo of Zuni. “We are so pleased to celebrate this unique partnership between Tribal Nations and federal agencies to manage and protect the remarkable and sacred Bears Ears landscape,” said BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning. “This is an important step as we move forward together to ensure that Tribal expertise and traditional perspectives remain at the forefront of our joint decision-making for the Bears Ears National Monument. This type of true co-management will serve as a model for our work to honor the nation-to-nation relationship in the future.” U.S. Department of the Interior (press release) | Read More >>
“Today, instead of being removed from a landscape to make way for a public park, we are being invited back to our ancestral homelands to help repair them and plan for a resilient future,” Bears Ears Commission Co-Chair and Lieutenant Governor of Zuni Pueblo, Carleton Bowekaty, said in a statement. “We are being asked to apply our traditional knowledge to both the natural and human-caused ecological challenges, drought, erosion, (and) visitation. What can be a better avenue of restorative justice than giving Tribes the opportunity to participate in the management of lands their ancestors were removed from?” Jenna Kunze at Native News Online | Read More >>
The agreement requires the Bureau of Land Management to “meaningfully engage” with the commission on areas including land planning, management and conservation while working to protect traditions “that are part of the tribal nations’ way of life on these lands.” The tribes and the government will also work together to develop public programming at Bears Ears and to “explore opportunities” to repatriate objects that have been removed from the land. The goal of the arrangement, according to the agreement, is to ensure “that management decisions affecting the monument reflect the expertise and traditional and historical knowledge of interested tribal nations and people.” Alex Traub in the New York Times | Read More >>
Pat Gonzales-Rogers, executive director of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, a consortium of all five tribes, said Saturday’s agreement could set a precedent for arrangements with other tribes and communities of color across the country. “Some of the things that we’re doing are portable to many other entities in Indian country, and in some ways they can provide a paradigm for other BIPOC [Black, Indigenous and people of color] groups,” Gonzales-Rogers said in an interview. Maxine Joselow in the Washington Post | Read More >>
Call to Action: Comment Now on Proposed Water Well Projects in BENM
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is currently considering two proposed water wells within the boundaries of Bears Ears National Monument: the Slickhorn Allotment Water Well and the Red House Pasture Water Well. These proposed wells are intended to ease and benefit livestock grazing in an area that is already drastically affected by prolonged drought. When drilling new wells–as is the case with any development project–the residual impacts on the nearby habitat and cultural sites are permanent. Although cattle grazing is an existing use, and thus permitted within the national monument, it is essential that we also do everything in our power to protect Bears Ears’ cultural and ecological resources for generations to come. This is your chance to engage in the management of Bears Ears National Monument—there are important decisions being made as we speak, and it’s more important than ever to make your voice heard by speaking up on this issue. Friends of Cedar Mesa | Learn More >>
Arizona Wildfires and Archaeology
As Jason Nez scans rugged mountains, high desert and cliffsides for signs of ancient tools and dwellings unique to the U.S. Southwest, he keeps in mind that they’re part of a bigger picture. And, fire is not new to them. “They have been burned many, many times, and that’s healthy,” said Nez, a Navajo archaeologist and firefighter. “A lot of our cultural resources we see as living, and living things are resilient.” As a pair of wildfires skirt this mountainous northern Arizona city, the flames are crossing land dense with reminders of human existence through centuries—multilevel stone homes, rock carvings and pieces of clay and ceramic pots that have been well-preserved in the arid climate since long before fire suppression became a tactic. Felicia Fonseca for Associated Press | Read More >>
Indigenous Resistance to Snowbowl’s Proposed Expansion
The San Francisco Peaks, as Nuva’tukya’ovi is more commonly known, is a lone, extinct volcano with a collapsed caldera surrounded by six summits. The mountain is the site of Indigenous origin stories, ancient shrines and a place where ceremonial and medicinal plants are gathered. It’s considered so holy that, before the arrival of colonizers, Indigenous Americans avoided living there. … Snowbowl executives insist the resort is not a sustainable business without the use of reclaimed water. The tribes say the existence of the ski area and use of treated sewage effluent is threatening their spiritual survival. Annette McGivney in the Guardian | Read More >>
Interior Launches Secretary’s Tribal Advisory Committee
Tribal leaders from Arizona and across the country will have direct access to advising the U.S. Department of the Interior for the first time in history with the creation of a tribal advisory panel. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland this week launched the first-ever Secretary’s Tribal Advisory Committee. Shondiin Silversmith in the Tucson Sentinel | Read More >>
Video: Continuity and Change in Southwestern Basketry
Artist-scholars Christopher Lewis (Zuni) and Austin Coochyamptewa (Hopi) are joined by Clara Lee Tanner Associate Curator of Ethnology Edward Jolie as the three discuss objects selected from ASM’s collections that highlight continuity and change in fiber artifact technologies from the U.S. Southwest. Arizona State Museum | Watch Now >>
REMINDER: June 23–25 Event (Online and In-Person, Topawa AZ): Southwest Native Foodways Gathering at Himdag Ki:
During this event indigenous peoples from the north and south are coming together to share their knowledge around food. Join us! In-person Event: Registration for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in-person will happen when you arrive at Himdag-Ki in Topawa, AZ. Space is limited for the in-person participation. Ajo Center for Sustainable Agriculture | Learn More >>
REMINDER: June 23 Webinar: Bears Ears National Monument: Digital Documentation and Virtual Guided Tours
With Jared Lundell and Whitney Peterson. In 2021, The Bureau of Land Management-Utah and the Bay Area non-profit organization, CyArk, collaborated to create virtual guided tours of two ancestral sites at Bears Ears. CyArk produced the virtual guided tours utilizing techniques in 3D digital documentation to create highly accurate 3D models of the sites. In the virtual experience, the Bureau of Land Management’s Shirley Cloud-Lane guides visitors through both sites, allowing audiences to engage with the storied significance and history of the Bears Ears landscape. This project is the first of an ongoing collaboration to create a series of virtual guided tours that amplify the diversity of descendant communities’ histories and connection with the landscape and promote respectful engagement with cultural heritage at Bears Ears National Monument. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center and partners | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
REMINDER: June 23 Webinar: Conservation Legacy Opportunity Showcase
Conservation Legacy focuses on local impact—engaging youth, young adults and veterans in conservation and service programs. We function as a supportive and inclusive community of programs nationwide that offer entry-level, paid opportunities for work, training, and professional development, offering a pathway for individuals from all backgrounds to grow their career. Join a crew in the field, mentor as a leader, develop as an individual placement intern, or drive the work forward as part of our staff. Positions are available nationwide for the upcoming season and opportunities are plentiful. Conservation Legacy | Learn More >>
June 25 Webinar: The Art of Dwayne Manuel
Dwayne Manuel is from the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community. He graduated from the infamous Desert Eagle Secondary School, located in Salt River, Arizona in 2002. Attending Scottsdale Community College briefly after high school, he would then go on to receive a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the prestigious Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2010. Dwayne then attended the University of Arizona School of Art where he received a Master of Fine Arts in 2014. Manuel currently teaches painting and drawing at the Tohono O’odham Community College at the Sells, Arizona and Phoenix campuses. Amerind Museum | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
June 25 In-Person Event (Cliff NM): 2022 Student Archaeology Fair
Learn about the field school’s current archaeological investigations and research. Students will share their personal research projects—via low-tech! outdoors!—and there will be hands-on activities with Allen Denoyer and some of the students. Preservation Archaeology Field School (Archaeology Southwest) | Learn More >>
June Subscription Lecture (In-Person, Santa Fe)
June 27, Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk, Women of Bears Ears. Southwest Seminars | Learn More >>
Position Announcement: Development Coordinator, Archaeology Southwest (Tucson AZ)
The Development Coordinator will work closely with the Deputy Director, Content and Communications Director, and Director of Outreach to meet the resource development goals of Archaeology Southwest. The Development Coordinator is a key member of the team, with a concentration in successfully leading the annual fund, special events, and donor stewardship initiatives. This position will also be responsible for effective and efficient use of resources and the donor management system to measure and achieve development goals. They will be asked to think both strategically about the larger efforts of the department, along with performing highly detailed and creative work daily. This position also shares responsibility for maintaining the Archaeology Southwest website. The position offers the opportunity for professional growth and development. Archaeology Southwest | Learn More >>
Position Announcement: Utah Cultural Site Stewardship Program (Southwest Utah)
This is an AmeriCorps position. AmeriCorps is a unique service opportunity. AmeriCorps members complete a term of service from July, 2022 through June 2023. Members will serve a minimum of 900 hours during this time, approximately 19 hours per week. AmeriCorps members will receive a living allowance of $9,000 during their term of service. This living allowance will be paid bi-weekly. Additionally, upon successful completion of a term of service, AmeriCorps members will receive an education award of $3,247. The Utah Cultural Site Stewardship Program (UCSSP) is a network of professional archaeologists, federal and state agency staff, and most importantly, volunteers who work together to monitor sensitive or threatened archaeological sites. Housed at the Utah SHPO, the program operates across federal and state boundaries to create a consistent procedure and framework for stewardship. Utah Cultural Site Stewardship Program | Learn More >>
Please send us notice of upcoming webinars and Zoom lectures, tours and workshops, and anything else you’d like to share with the friends.