WASHINGTON, D.C. ― U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, incoming vice chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee and lead Democrat on the Appropriations Subcommittee for Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, praised President Obama’s decision Wednesday to create the Bears Ears National Monument.
The region of Southern Utah has been important for Native Americans for millennia, and it is also an area where Udall’s ancestor, Jacob Hamblin, once worked to build relations between Mormon pioneers and Native American Tribes.
“The Bears Ears region is a spectacularly beautiful region and the ancestral home of many Southwestern Native American Tribes. Navajo, Ute, Uintah, Zuni, Hopi, and other Native American people depend on the land for traditional livelihoods and cultural practices. Yet for years it has faced the threats of looting, vandalism, and energy development. Today’s action is the result of years of work by Tribal members who raised awareness of these threats and the importance of preserving the area. I want to thank all of the advocates for their tireless work to protect this important cultural landscape. It is significant that for the first time, Native American Tribes will co-manage a national monument with the federal government.
“I also thank President Obama, who has been a strong advocate for conservation. As a Westerner and an outdoorsman, I appreciate the work he has done to protect our most treasured places, including the Rio Grande del Norte and Organ Mountains Desert Peaks national monuments in New Mexico. The Bears Ears and Gold Butte monuments created today in Utah and Nevada are important additions to his legacy of smart and courageous work to conserve the most special places in our landscape so they will endure for generations to come.”