Rhetoric vs. Reality: Rep. Chris Stewart Resorts to Lies to Downplay Support for Bears Ears National Monument

Jun 20, 2016

By Center for Western Priorities


While introducing an amendment to effectively block the designation of Bears Ears National Monument, Representative Chris Stewart (R-UT), claimed that the number of tribes opposing the monument matched, or even exceeded, the number of tribes supporting the monument. Rep. Stewart said:

“…There are some tribal interests who support Bears Ears, but for every one of those I can show you others, one for one or more, that do not support Bears Ears. And the tribal interests there have been vocal with me in saying their opposition to it.”


26 tribes with ancestral or contemporary ties to the Bears Ears region support the designation of a national monument to protect this living cultural landscape for future generations. Not a single tribe is opposing Bears Ears protections.


Tribes in support of protecting Bears Ears as a national monument include:

In addition to the sweeping support among tribal leaders across the southwest, the National Congress of American Indians—the nation’s oldest and largest organization of American Indians—passed a resolution “supporting the presidential proclamation of the Bears Ears National Monument

Now, Representative Stewart is attempting to silence these voices, insinuating they either don’t matter or don’t exist. Rep. Stewart’s proposed amendment to the Interior Appropriations Bill would prevent President Obama from using the Antiquities Act to designate national monuments in states throughout the West, undermining the tribe’s long fight to protect Bears Ears.

This backhanded effort to block national monuments is only the latest effort in a long line of offenses to subvert Utah’s tribes.

It is time that President Obama listened to the chorus of support and designated Bears Ears as the nation’s next national monument.

TIMELINE: How Utah politicians disrespect Native American tribes