Navajo Nation Council condemns Trump downsizing of Bears Ears National Monument

President Trump signed a proclamation reducing two national monuments in Utah by over two million acres.

SALT LAKE CITY - Members of the Navajo Nation Council strongly condemned President Donald Trump's announcement to downsize Bears Ears National Monument in southern Utah. 

“Navajo people have advocated for protection of the Bears Ears for decades, and continue to use and value the land for their livelihoods and cultural practices. This monument represents part of our history and our future. Navajo Nation has been consistent in our message – we support the 1.35 million acre monument designation,” said Davis Filfred in a statement on Monday.

RELATED: Trump shrinks Utah monuments in historic proclamations

Filfred is a Navajo Nation council delegate who represents families living near the monument. 

Delegate Filfred also stated that President Trump did not seek input from Navajo Nation, or the coalition of tribes that worked with the Nation to designate Bears Ears as a national monument.

According to the press release, the council has supported the protection of the monument through several resolutions, including one passed in January.

President Barack Obama designated the national monument last December, establishing a commission to guide management of the area.

Delegate Filfred also stated that President Trump did not seek input from Navajo Nation, or the coalition of tribes that worked with the Nation to designate Bears Ears as a national monument.

“Bears Ears has protected Navajo people in the past, and now we must protect it. Navajo Nation will continue to work with the Hopi, Zuni, Ute Indian, and Ute Mountain Ute Tribes to fight for our ancestral lands and permanently protect this landscape," he wrote.

"This decision disrespects Native Americans across the country by acting against the Antiquities Act, which has been used countless times since 1906 to protect Native American heritage. Navajo Nation will be filing a legal challenge to President Trump’s decision and we will not back down."

The Navajo Nation has previously indicated that the Nation will seek legal action to address the reduction of the Bears Ears National Monument.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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