120 faith communities and 189 spiritual leaders in 42 states urge the Trump administration to preserve national monuments
The prayers come at a time when it is reported that the Trump Administration will impose the most significant loss of conservation protections for public lands in U.S. history. On Monday, December 4, President Trump is expected to make an announcement in Utah about the fate of Bears Ears National Monument as well as Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
Jonah Yellowman, UDB Board Member and Spiritual Advisor said, “Bears Ears National Monument honors Native Americans and provides a path for healing. Bears Ears holds our prayers, medicine, and sacred grounds. President Trump should leave it alone and respect our people.”
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has recommended dramatically downsizing or reducing conservation protections for ten national monuments nationwide.
Along with the prayers, 189 spiritual leaders from 42 states and the District of Columbia signed a letter to President Trump, noting
“during Native American Heritage Month, we call special attention to the fact that every American lives in the traditional territories of Indigenous peoples. The presence of Indigenous peoples is imbued in the lands and waters around us.”
The letter urges President Trump to
“reject any proposals to diminish the size and protections for any national monuments, including Bears Ears, Cascade-Siskiyou, Gold Butte, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Katahdin Woods and Waters, Northeast Canyons and Seamounts, Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks, Pacific Remote Islands, Rio Grande Del Norte, and Rose Atoll National Monuments.”
One of the signers of the letter, The Reverend Dr. Bradley Hauff, Missioner for Indigenous Ministries of The Episcopal Church, explained why he signed: “Indigenous people have a relationship with the land that is sacred and central to our way of life. Our culture, spirituality, identity, survival, and understanding of life is centered in the Earth and the Cosmos. If the land is desecrated, so are we."
Some of the signers of the letter were also part of a Native American Heritage Month spiritual journey to Bears Ears National Monument.
Creation Justice Ministries represents the creation care policies of 38 Christian communions, including Baptists, mainline Protestants, Historically Black Churches, Peace Churches, and Orthodox communions. Learn more at www.creationjustice.org