The president’s decision to eliminate 88 percent of the Bears Ears National Monument acreage is a theft from all of the American people. Federal lands and their significant remains of ancient peoples belong to all Americans and especially the members of the sovereign American Indian tribes, whose ancestors have occupied those lands for millennia.

For too long, local ranchers have stolen from these prehistoric homes, burials and sacred sites. They have either held the artifacts as private possessions in their homes or sold them on the black market, collecting millions of dollars. Having worked with American Indian communities and tribes in Arizona for most of my career, I know how personally devastating the theft of their heritage is. The National Monument designation provides greater protections for the heritage that belongs to ALL Americans. “So sad” that our president incorrectly believes these resources belong only to the local residents.

Bruce Hilpert

North side

Disclaimer: As submitted to the Arizona Daily Star.

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