About the Bears Ears National Monument

Arguably one of the most diverse and spectacular landscapes on earth, the Bears Ears region is filled with remarkable places worth preserving for future generations. Bears Ears is home to more than 100,000 Native American archaeological and cultural sites, considered sacred by many tribes.

Several southwestern tribes trace their ancestry to the ancient peoples who populated the region since time immemorial, building ancient roads, shrines, pit houses, pueblos, great houses, kivas, and cliff dwellings – the remains of which still grace the landscape today. Bountiful rock paintings and petroglyphs also decorate cliffs and boulders throughout the region.

The vast majority of the archaeological and cultural sites in the area have been dated by western archaeologists to at least 700 years old (with some dated as far back as 12,000 B.C.E.), though tribal peoples of the Colorado Plateau trace their connections here back much farther, since time immemorial.

Protection of all these sacred sites is critically important to Native American people. Ongoing looting, grave robbing, vandalism, and destruction of cultural sites are acts that literally rob Native American people of spiritual connections, as well as a sense of place and history.

Native American connections to Bears Ears aren’t just about protecting the past. Many Native Americans visit the area on a regular basis for ceremonies and to connect with their ancestors. The Navajo Nation and the White Mesa Ute Reservation border Bears Ears on the south and east, respectively. Navajo and Ute people frequent the land to collect herbs and medicine, forage for food (such as piñon nuts), gather firewood for heating and ceremonial use, and to hunt game.


From the blog

  • 02.20.17

    Outdoor Industry Sides With Public Lands; Outdoor Retailer Show To Leave Utah After 20 Years

    UPDATED Feb. 21, 2017: As the Salt Lake Tribune noted in an editorial today: “The reason Outdoor Retailer is leaving — their rejection of Utah’s political leaders’ values as shown in the stubborn and pointless fight against a Bears Ears National Monument — should make this moment a turning point.” Original … read more

  • 01.10.17

    Celebrating Bears Ears National Monument

    On Saturday, January 7, tribal leaders and members joined grassroots activists and local residents from the Four Corners region to celebrate the historic Bears Ears National Monument, designated on December 28. The event was held in Monument Valley, Utah, and was attended by members of the Friends Grassroots Network–including representatives from Friends … read more

  • 12.28.16

    Obama Protects Bears Ears and Gold Butte National Monuments!

    On December 28th, President Barack Obama designated two new national monuments–Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, and Gold Butte National Monument in Nevada. Both national monuments will continue to be managed by the Bureau of Land Management as part of the National Conservation Lands–more than 36 million acres of public lands, … read more

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