Bears Ears Battle Heats Up


Five southwestern tribes have come together to ask President Obama to designate the Bears Ears (pictured behind the ravens, above) and the surrounding landscape as a national monument under the Antiquities Act. I traveled to Bluff, Utah, last weekend to attend a listening session put on by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. It was hot, crowded and interesting, to put it mildly. I wrote about it for High Country News.

For the next month, I’ll be traveling around the Four Corners Country doing research and reporting, not only for the River of Lost Souls book, but also for a feature story on the Bears Ears proposal. The two are more closely related than they might at first seem. The San Juan River — which will be included in the book — provides a southern boundary of sorts for the proposed monument. And the thrust of my Bears Ears story will be the significance the landscape in question holds for the Navajo, Ute, Hopi, Zuni and Rio Grande Pueblo people of today and their ancestors. This will also be an important component of the book.

I’ll be posting dispatches and photos from my travels here and on social media. Come along (virtually) if you’d like!