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From the road: Protect Bears Ears

July 18, 2021 |Bears Ears
Day 3 of the Red Road to DC is in the books! A 12-hour travel day from Twin Falls, Idaho to Sand Island in Bluff, Utah. We were first received just outside Salt Lake City by representatives of Utah Diné Bikéyah who brought us food, made prayers for our journey and escorted us to Sand Island for a welcome ceremony right at dusk. Tribal leaders and representatives of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Council and Women of Bears Ears spoke. A local drum sang an honor song for the totem pole, the House of Tears Carvers and the Red Road to DC organizers followed by a beautiful meal.

“Bears Ears is a place of healing, The canyons hold our songs, memories, and history. This place should be permanently protected and under the stewardship of the tribes who know the land better than anyone.”

Woody Lee, Executive Director of Utah Diné Bikéyah.

Day 4 of the #RedRoad2DC was dedicated to raising awareness about the need to protect Bears Ears, a sacred place to the Hopi, Navajo, Ute, and Zuni peoples. It is a place with great spiritual and cultural importance estimated to hold more than 100,000 sacred sites and objects. Without special protections as a National Monument the sacred artifacts, cliff dwellings, and rock paintings are at risk and likely to be destroyed by looting, vandalism, and resource extraction. It was a beautiful event with diverse tribal, community and cultural leaders coming together to make their voices heard on the critical importance of protecting Bears Ears.

“For thousands of years of constant human occupation, the Bears Ears was unscarred by bulldozers, dynamite, and chainsaws. The ancestral homes and sacred places were treated with respect, not looted for artifacts. No pipelines drained its nourishing water, no drilling rigs pierced its quiet soils to suck hydrocarbons from the dark underworld. Only in the past few generations have these special lands been marred; the damage done is substantial, but most of it is reversible. Tears of grief over industrial indifference and callous looting are not enough. Protections and enforcement are needed,”

— Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk, Women of Bears Ears