Bears Ears Utah's Original Continued Inhabitants.
As the original continued inhabitants and heirs to our sacred lands in and around Bears Ears, Utah,
in 2008 our community organized this organization as a grassroots movement to regain our true existence and inheritance as Dine' descendants of Hastii K'aayelii - leader of the thousands of free Dine' who never surrendered to the US during the American-Indian Wars.
The History Behind Our Organization
In 1933 by an Act of Congress, our people were forcibly relocated to an extension to the Navajo reservation known as the "Aneth Extension." Since our people never surrendered to the US along with thousands of other Navajo at Fort Sumner, NM in 1864, our people were not openly welcomed as members of the Navajo tribe. This remained the case until the discovery of oil on our given lands. In 1956, the first wave of oil production began and years of pollution and waste have resulted to present day - as a result, we have no drinkable water and abandoned oil rigs throughout the extension.
Millions of dollars in royalties earned were never properly administrated within our community as US Law deemed. A "trust" fund (Navajo Utah Trust Fund) was created and throughout it's history, funds have been abused and misappropriated by various parties, depriving our people of our share and preventing our community from advancing - directly resulting in the third world conditions our people dwell in today.
History has long revealed a history of deceptive treaty practices between the US Government and the indigenous tribes of North America. It is well understood that many of our tribal elders and leaders did not comprehend US Law nor understood the English language. As one of the last unconquered remaining tribes, our distance from Western Society became the bridge we now need to gap today. Those who have held our inheritance in "trust," have used this gap as a way to deprive us our rights and have used our royalties for their gain.
A Community United
In order to organize and establish a community led organization to seek ammends and bring to light our overlooked history, we created this organization. Our elders have spoken and as their descendants raised in these modern times and ways, it is our duty to honor them by giving them a voice they never had long ago. Our Grandfather, Hastii K'aayelii fought so that we today may live freely in our ancestral homelands in and around Bears Ears. Our relatives are buried there past and present, our sacred ties are deeply rooted within its boundaries. Our people today still rely on its resources, our ceremonies are still held on these lands. Bears Ears is the lifeblood of our culture and holds the key to our future as K'aayelii Dine' - its true inhabitants and rightful heirs.
Threat To Our Existence
In our quest to become an independent self-stained productive community, we the K'aayelii Dine' fully understand that our ancestral and given lands are vital to our survival as a people. The proposed designation of our homelands in Bears Ears as a National Monument will threaten our existence today. You take away the roots of a tree - it will never grow and flourish, our ancestral and given lands represent our nation's roots. If President Obama rules in favor of designating 1.9 million acres of our homeland as a National Monument, our future generations may never have the chance to succeed and connect with their true birthright and inheritance.
If groups seeking shared control such as the Bears Ears Coalition are successful, our children will be robbed of their birthright and true inheritance. Our homeland will be depleted of its bountiful resources, its beauty and history desecrated, and again, our people will never receive our benefits or royalties. The very future of our people is at risk. President Obama has the power of the United States of America - to make amends and deal fairly with an indigenous tribe as human equals, not as an inferior conquered nation. As a show of good faith and a humanitarian gesture to the world that, although the US cannot change the decisions of the their forefather's past, they can change the decisions of the future today. We the Descendants Of K'aayelii urge President Obama to hear our plea before he makes a decision that could potentially eliminate our history and our future.
From the Voices of Our People and the Blood or Our Ancestors - We Stand United - We Are the K'aayelii Dine,' the Hope of Our Children's Future.