Bears Ears National Monument is in San Juan County in southeastern Utah, and has been the topic of national discussion since President Trump was elected into office.
Bears Ears once held 1.35 million acres under the Obama administration, and was recognized as a site of national interest and scientific/archaeological research on Dec. 28, 2016. Obama saw it fit to protect the land for the knowledge and rich history it had to offer.
Throughout the monuments’ land there are several works of ancient art preserved on rocks and steep canyon walls. Including cave art style paintings and etched rock art. For hundreds of years Native American tribes have left their permanent mark on the land and preserved their history.
However, the expansion of protected land around the monuments drove miners away from the area, and its abundant resources. Upset by this many people around the area have wanted to shrink Bears Ears, to continue the mining and gaining resources from the land.
On Dec. 4, 2017, president Trump made modifications to the borders of Bears Ears. President Trump shrunk the monument by 85 percent, changing it from one large monument into a few smaller ones.
As of Feb. 2 , 2018 miners can go and buy land and mine for uranium, gold and silver on the lands of Bears Ears. Instead of the 1.35 million acres the monument once took up, the boundaries were reduced and the land only takes up about 200,000 acres. However many people protest this decision.
The land is very sacred to many Native Americans that have had tribes roaming the land for centuries. Many Navajo tribes and others still travel back to the site, to enact sacred and important ceremonies.
The Native American tribes in the area are not the only people who consider the land important; many archaeologists and other scientists are appalled. They claim that the land has too much rich history from artifacts left behind by those before us, and the area also has many fossils of sea life because Bears Ears was once completely underwater.
Some people around the area say the land could be great for Utah’s economy. One of the things president Trump was aiming for in his proclamation of the modification of Bears Ears, was to strengthen the economy, through means of mining jobs.
Those opposing this say the land can be used in different ways to help boost the economy such as: hiking, rock climbing and hunting. Bears Ears is a very scenic spot and could be a tourist point, some say and that would protect the land from mining.
The issue of borders for Bears Ears National Monument will continue to be a source of strife and disagreement in the southeastern part of Utah, if a compromise is not reached sometime in the future.