Opinion: The Bears Ears management plan must include traditional Indigenous knowledge

Please join us at an upcoming meeting in Salt Lake City to learn more about our proposal for the management of this sacred living landscape.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Bears Ears buttes on April 10, 2021.

The Ute Indian Tribe, along with four other sovereign tribal nations, fought for the creation of the Bears Ears National Monument to protect and maintain our ancestral lands. Our tribal lands and resources extend far beyond our reservation boundaries. We have always lived and traveled through Bears Ears. Standing in Bears Ears we are surrounded by our sacred sites, resources and waters.

The Ute Indian Tribe, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, the Hopi Tribe, the Navajo Nation and the Zuni Tribe make up the Bears Ears Commission and work in collaboration with our federal partners. Bears Ears is a model for incorporating traditional Indigenous knowledge and our tribal expertise in sustainable resource management. We need these models now more than ever as we face increasing climate change, droughts and wildfires.

The March 8 draft Resource Management Plan (RMP) for Bears Ears includes our knowledge and expertise in sustainable resource management. We support Alternative E of the draft plan because it is most consistent with tribal values and recommendations.

Please join the Bears Ears Commission, along with the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service, at the upcoming in-person meeting in Salt Lake City to learn more about our proposal for the management of this sacred living landscape. We invite you to learn about and support the Commission’s preferred alternative, Alternative E. The public comment period is underway and will be critical in shaping the management of Bears Ears.

We have always lived in harmony with the land. From the towering mountain peaks to the serene desert canyons, each part of Bears Ears holds unique resources that sustain our way of life. Each part of Bears Ears has a different meaning and value to the five tribes. We brought our knowledge together to sustain these lands for the benefit of our future generations and for the benefit of all us that walk together on this land.

The first in-person public comment meeting will be held in Salt Lake City on Thursday, April 18, 2024, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. MDT. The meeting will be located at Marriott University Park, 480 S Wakara Way, Salt Lake City, UT, 84108.

(Photo courtesy of Christopher Tabbee) Christopher Tabbee

Christopher Tabbee is the vice chairman of the Ute Indian Tribe Business Committee and an Uncompahgre Band representative, and currently serves as co-chair of the Bears Ears Commission. Christopher is actively involved in the Ute Indian Tribe’s efforts to restore and protect its land base.

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