In support of tribal efforts to protect the Bears Ears, a national monument located in San Juan County in southeastern Utah. Native writers bear testimony to the fragile and essential nature of this sacred landscape in America's remote red rock country. Through poem and essay, these often-ignored voices explore the ways many native people derive tradition, sustenance, and cultural history from the Bears Ears.
"To us, these places represent more than grass, hills, mountains, and trees...they hold the links to our past and our future."
– Martie Simmons, Ho-Chunk
The fifteen contributors are multi-generational writers, poets, activists, teachers, students, and public officials, each with a strong tie to landscape and a particular story to tell. Willie Grayeyes, Chairman of Utah Diné Bikéyah, shares his ancestral ties to the Bears Ears. Klee Benally, Diné activsit, musician, and filmmaker, asks, "What part of sacred don't you understand?" Morning Star Gali, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer at Pit River Tribe, speaks to the fight for cultural preservation. The fifteen contributors speak for the Bears Ears and elevate the conversation around tribal sovereignty and sacred places across the U.S.
Part I: Origin Stories
Interviews with Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition Organizers
- Regina Lopez Whiteskunk (Ute), Ute Mountain Ute Council
- Willie Grayeyes (Diné), Chairman of Utah Diné Bikéyah
- Jonah Yellowman (Diné), Utah Diné Bikéyah
- Jim Enote (Zuni), director of the Colorado Plateau Foundation and the director of the A: shiwi A: wan Museum and Heritage Center
- Alastair Bitsoi (Diné), journalist, graduate student at New York University
Part II: For this Land, For the Diné Bikéyah
Navajo Activists and Academia Speak for Bears Ears
- Elizabeth Woody (Diné/Warm Springs), Oregon Poet Laureate
- Lloyd Lee (Diné), Associate Professor of Native American Studies, University of New Mexico
- Louise Benally (Diné), activist
- Jacqueline Keeler (Diné/Dakota), writer, producer and activist
- Klee Benally (Diné), musician, activist and filmmaker
- Andrew Curley (Diné), Deputy Director of Diné Policy Institute
- Luci Tapahonso (Diné), professor of English Literature and Language at the University of New Mexico, 2013 poet laureate of Navajo Nation
Part III: In Our Usual and Accustomed Places
Indigenous leaders on Bears Ears and the Fight for Cultural Preservation and Access to Public Lands in the United States
- Morning Star Gali (Pitt River), Tribal Historic Preservation Officer at Pit River Tribe
- Heid E. Erdrich (Turtle Mountain), poet and author
- Faith Spotted Eagle (Ihanktonwan Dakota), a founding grandmother of the Brave Heart Society and Chair of the Ihanktonwan Treaty Council
- Cutcha Risling Baldy (Hupa), professor in the Department of American Indian Studies at San Diego State University
- Wayland Gray (Muscogee), activist
- Martie Simmons (Hochunk), writer
Jacqueline Keeler, editor of Edge of Morning, is a Navajo/Dakota writer who lives in Portland, Oregon. She is co-founder of Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry, which seeks to end the use of racial groups as mascots, as well as the use of other stereotypical representations in popular culture. Her work has appeared in The Nation, Indian Country Today, Earth Island Journal, Salon.com, and elsewhere.