The hum of traffic, the smell of exhaust fumes, sights of infrastructure, all fade away. My mood enhances and time slows as I enter the wilderness. Nature and wildlife are things I admire and that inspire me. When out in nature, my senses open up – I smell the flora and fauna, and the earth, feel the cool or warm air on my skin, birds sing, a waterfall roars, a frog croaks, an owl hoots, a river rushes through the land… Leaving behind my attachments in society, I connect with the earth and with myself while leaving distressed and renewed and with even the slightest connection with the people who use to live off the land.
Through reading, my personal love for the wilderness and admiration to those who are able to live off the land, I have developed a deep respect for Native Americans and their lifestyle. Of course, primitive camping does not come near to having to hunt for my food every day, compete with other tribes for resources, survive harsh weather, use natural resources to make a fire so I can boil my water and eat, etc. However, spending time in nature and learning how to use the natural surroundings to live on, gives me an appreciation and some understanding of how the Native Americans lived off the land. With society expanding across the habitats where wildlife lives and the Native American’s sacred ground, the opportunity for people to bond with nature and connect with the Natives is also shrinking. National Monuments and National Parks are under threat, which raises the need to take action to protect them, so we and generations to come have the chance to leave everything behind and explore and appreciate the wilderness Native Americans called home.
President Trump aims to shrink Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, where ancient artifacts exist and Native American’s have sacred land. Natives have invited Trump to visit Bears Ear and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in the hope he will gain an understanding of why it is special to the Natives and others who visit the land. Shrinking these monuments would move out graves, ceremonial grounds, and ancient cliff dwellings that have been a part of Native Americans’ lives for ages.
The Antiquities Act established more than a century ago, gives the President the right to protect the natural resources on land; but Trump intends on building roads and buildings on the land. The Navajo Nation plans to challenge this in court. Part of Trump’s reason for reducing the two monuments is related to giving people in Utah the right to mine, frack, and dig for fossil fuels.
Tribes and the government had many conflicts in 2017. One example is the Dakota Access Pipeline. Another one included the lack of health care for the Rosebud Sioux Reservation. Malnutrition, alcoholism, and diseases such as diabetes, depression, and suicide have been issues in Indian Reservations for years. It has been an uphill battle for the tribes and looks to be a tough battle as join forces to defend Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments.
Check out the links below for more information on this issue.
- Here is a link to information about The Antiquities Act: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/legal/american-antiquities-act-of-1906.htm
- Trump is Being Sued by Bears Ears National Monument: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/12/11/trump-is-being-sued-to-stop-him-from-shrinking-bears-ears-national-monument-by-85-percent-who-will-win/?utm_term=.8e777b949da0
- Another link concerning our National Parks being threatened: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jan/29/national-parks-repair-backlog-grand-canyon-zion?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+USA+-+Collections+2017&utm_term=262182&subid=17249810&CMP=GT_US_collection