Yakama Nation joins lawsuit

Tribe supports action against President on public lands

— The Yakama Nation Tribal Council passed a resolution Friday in support of a lawsuit brought by several Indian nations against the president.

The Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, Ute Indian Tribe, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, and Zuni Tribe filed their federal lawsuit against President Trump, they say, to protect their sacred lands in the Bears Ears National Monument. 

That suit came in response to President Trump’s decision to remove nearly 2 million acres of land from both the Bears Ears National Monument and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Under the American Antiquities Act of 1906, the President is authorized to create national monuments, not destroy them, the tribes claim.

“This is just the latest in a long history of federal acts to dominate and dehumanize Native Nations,” Yakama Nation Tribal Council Chairman JoDe Goudy said.

“The Trump Administration’s elimination of federal protections for sacred lands of the Original and Free People is a direct attack on the mental, physical, and spiritual well-being of all of our Peoples,” he added.

Trump signed two proclamations purporting to reduce the Bears Ears National Monument by 1.1 million acres, and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by 800,000 acres.

He said his aim is putting control of the land back in the hands of the state, which has interest in the natural resources on the land.

The Utah lands—as well as two other Western monuments threatened with reduction—are revered for their historic and national beauty, the tribes say. 

Tribes claim the Trump Administration is supporting industries’ pursuit of natural resources in these lands.

“The continued advocacy of the destruction of our natural resources is a ‘special interest’ act promoting extinction,” Goudy said. “As our ancestors have warned throughout time, if our natural resources cease to exist, we all shall cease to exist.”


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