Here in Utah the Grand Staircase / Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments are under “review” by the Secretary Zinke and, as far as we are concerned, under threat of being diminished or even eliminated.
The majority of Utahns are pro-Monument, but the State Legislature, Governor and Congressional Delegation characterize these designations as land grabs. Of course the state has never technically owned this land which has always been “public,” managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
There are many sides to this story. I work for an arts organization (professional contemporary dance) that just returned from a week touring the Bears Ears with Navajo (Dine) tour guides. In fact, coincidentally, Zinke was at the Monument the same time Repertory Dance Theatre and NYC-based ZviDance were there. The new dance commission, funded in part by another embattled federal agency (The National Endowment for the Arts), is designed to give voice to the 5 tribes that, in an unprecedented way, came together, putting aside ages-long differences, to advocate for the designation of lands they consider sacred.
The work “Sacred Lands/Sacred Waters” will premiere in Salt Lake City Oct. 5–7, 2017, before touring nationally. You can learn more about this aspect of the embattled monuments of our country here. And you you can watch a very cool video of the project, admittedly linked to a crowdfunding campaign to help fund it below. If you’re inclined you can donate to the project (tax-deductible) here.