As President Obama’s time in office winds down, your help is needed more than ever to turn up the heat for Bears Ears National Monument (BENM). One of the most effective things you can do—from all corners of the country —is to call on Obama to act in your local newspaper. (Both your region’s largest newspaper and your local town publication are worthwhile targets.)
The Opinion page is frequently the first place Washington D.C. decision makers look to sense the pulse of the nation. By expressing your voice through a letter-to-the-editor (LTE, usually limited to about 200 words) or a Guest Editorial (Op-Ed, a little longer format usually limited to about 600 words) you are literally sending a message to the President that millions of people will potentially see.
We are at a stage in the campaign where a display of nationwide support is absolutely crucial. Please take a little time from your busy day to write and submit a letter to your area newspaper—no matter where you live. This action can make a real difference in the future of Bears Ears.
Here are just a few among the many talking points you might emphasize (for further information, visit suwa.org/bearsears):
- President Obama should act now to proclaim a 1.9 million acre Bears Ears National Monument.
- The Bears Ears monument proposal represents an unprecedented and extraordinary coming together of Native American tribes for a common vision – one that will protect not only their ancestral homelands and sacred sites but also a living cultural landscape used for ceremony and subsistence.
- The Bears Ears is the most significant unprotected cultural landscape in the US, containing an estimated 100,000 archaeological sites, including thousands of ancient rock art panels, cliff dwellings, ancient villages and shrines. Action is desperately needed to prevent ongoing looting and vandalism.
- Utah Rep. Rob Bishop’s Public Lands Initiative legislation is woefully inadequate to protect Bears Ears, excluding a half million acres of deserving monument lands, inviting more off-road vehicle abuse and unchecked looting of sacred sites, minimizing tribal involvement in management.
- As the Tribes have emphasized, a Bears Ears National Monument will bring healing – not only to Native Americans but also to all American citizens and our shared history.
- It is time we expand our system of protected lands to preserves places and stories important to cultures that have been marginalized in the past.
- President Obama would leave an extraordinary legacy appreciated by generations to come by proclaiming a Bears Ears National Monument.
If you have questions or wish to speak with a SUWA organizer, please contact Issues-Action@suwa.org and we will help you with your letter and/or help you submit it. Please also send us a copy of your letter for our files.