A coalition of American Indian tribes including Colorado’s Ute Mountain Ute, are working to protect lands in southern Utah. They’ve proposed a new, 1.9-million acre national monument called “Bears Ears” that borders a portion of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe reservation.
CU law professor Charles Wilkinson says inter-tribal coalitions usually address general issues like education or health care, so this is unusual.
He says, “there’s the individuality of tribes. They’re always proud of having their own history, and their own set of problems and opportunities. So people in the know are pretty amazed that this happened.”
Wilkinson is special advisor to the project. Even though it’s unusual, he says, it was a logical move, “that really would increase the force of the proposal. If tribes came in separately or came in individuals it would be different, but having five major tribes together really adds a lot of heft to this back in DC.”
There is some powerful political opposition to the proposal in Utah.
Regina Lopez Whiteskunk of Towoac, Colo. represents the Ute Mountain Ute on the Bears Ears coalition. She told Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner that the proposal includes tribes as part of the plan to manage the monument.
Hear their conversation and see more at: