San Juan County, one of the poorest counties in Utah, is about to lose two million acres to the federal government. In an unprecedented land grab, Obama plans to take land from Native Americans to create a national monument --- all for their benefit, of course. While the president appears to honor sacred land at the Dakota Access Pipeline, San Juan Valley is a different story.
Commissioner Rebecca M. Benally --- Democrat, Native American and the first woman to be elected in San Juan County --- recently held a press conference to explain why her people vehemently oppose a Bears Ears National Monument.
"My constituents do not want a national monument in San Juan County. It's just another federal overreach with empty promises. As a Native American, we understand what broken treaties mean and broken promises. We've lived it for the last 200 years. So, what makes you think, President Obama, that you think you're doing the right thing?" Commissioner Benally said. "Your legacy, I hope we can soon forget. You're not doing it for the local people."
She continued with passion and purpose, noting how environmental groups romanticize their so-called noble efforts.
"This is a place of reverence, spirituality, where they gather medicinal plants, wood to heat their home and cook, hunt. You're taking that away. There is no such thing like a special proclamation that can be done by the president. This is a congressional authority that has to happen. You've been lied to by environmental groups. Environmental groups, I'm here to tell you, stop romanticizing and stop pretending that you are doing this for Native American people. I've seen it time and time again. It is wrong, and I'm tired of you using my people, talking for them. It is wrong that you do this," Commissioner Benally said.
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), a vocal opponent of Obama's land grab in Utah, praised Commissioner Benally's impassioned plea.
"I can find no better example of the irony and hypocrisy of an administration bent on railing against neocolonialism and purporting to defend the poor and disenfranchised," Sen. Lee said.
Commissioner Benally, a member of the Navajo Tribe, offered a few words about trust between Native Americans and the federal government.
"I want to tell you about trust. There is no trust. We as Native Americans do not trust the federal government," the Commissioner said.
The people of Utah need these lands. They love these lands, and use them to survive and honor their heritage. Sign the petition to stop Bears Ear National Monument in Utah.
Featured Image: San Juan County Commissioner Rebecca M. Benally speaks about federal overreach in San Juan County.