Senate blocks poorly disguised assault on Native American heritage
There is great enthusiasm in Indian Country for the preservation of our living cultures, the celebration of our history and the protection of our sacred sites. For more than a century, several Native American sites have been thoughtfully protected by Congress and presidents of both parties. Yet areas of great importance to our people still remain unprotected. This is why an unprecedented partnership of the Hopi, Navajo, Uintah and Ouray Ute, Ute Mountain Ute, and Zuni tribal governments has formed to honor, protect and preserve our heritage. The first such tribally led proposal, for a Bears Ears National Monument in Southeast Utah, reflects the shared history and deep connection our people have with these public lands.
While the response to our proposal in Native American circles, and with the public in Utah, has been heartening, some in Congress have resorted to centuries-old tactics to divide Native people – disingenuously pitting one tribal group against the other. The latest such attempt played out in the U.S. Senate recently where Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) pushed an amendment to eviscerate the very law that was originally passed to help protect Native American sacred religious and cultural sites – the Antiquities Act.