Robison on Tribal-Federal Cooperative Management of the Grand Canyon

Jason Robison has posted “Indigenizing Grand Canyon,” forthcoming in the Utah Law Review, on SSRN.

Here is the abstract:

The magical place commonly called the “Grand Canyon” is Native space. Eleven tribes hold traditional connections to the canyon according to the National Park Service. This Article is about relationships between these tribes and the agency—past, present, and future. Grand Canyon National Park’s 2019 centennial afforded a valuable opportunity to reflect on these relationships and to envision what they might become. A reconception of the relationships has begun in recent decades that reflects a shift across the National Park System as a whole. This reconception should continue. Drawing on the tribal vision for Bears Ears National Monument, this Article advocates for Grand Canyon tribes and the Park Service to consider forming a Grand Canyon Commission for cooperative management of Grand Canyon National Park. Establishing this Commission would mark the vanguard of the relational reconception, and, in this precise sense, the Commission would lay a foundation for “indigenizing” Grand Canyon.

Briefs on Federal Motion to Dismiss in Bears Ears Litigation

Here are the materials in Hopi Tribe v. Trump (D. D.C.):

48 DCT Order Denying Transfer Motion

49-1 Federal Motion to Dismiss

50 Intervenors Motion to Dismiss

61 TWS Brief

63 GSCE Brief

71 UDB Brief

72 NRDC Brief

74 Tribal Response

74-1 Exhibits

75-1 Law Profs Brief

82-1 Members of Congress Amicus Brief

87-1 Local Elected Officials Amicus Brief

89 States Amicus Brief in Opposition to MTD

91-1 Archeological Orgs Amicus Brief

93 NCAI AAIA Bears Ears Amicus Brief

94-2 Outdoor Alliance Brief

Prior posts here.

Atlantic: “Trump’s Nativism Is Transforming the Physical Landscape”


An excerpt:

Last December, Trump issued two orders that removed more than a million acres of federal land from Bears Ears National Monument and more than 800,000 acres from the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, both in southern Utah. The immediate effect was to open much of the declassified land to mining for coal and uranium and drilling for oil and gas. This was also a dramatic assertion of presidential power, marking the first time national monuments have been shrunk in more than half a century. With suits underway before a federal judge in Washington, D.C.,  it will be the first time the president’s power to shrink or eliminate monuments has been tested in court. But it is also a first look at how Trumpian nationalism could shape the American landscape.

Sarah Krakoff on Bears Ears

Sarah Krakoff has posted “Public Lands, Conservation, and the Possibility of Justice” on SSRN. The paper is forthcoming in the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review.

Here is the abstract:

On December 28, 2016, President Obama issued a proclamation designating the Bears Ears National Monument pursuant to his authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906, which allows the President to create monuments on federal public lands. Bears Ears, which is located in the heart of Utah’s dramatic red rock country, contains a surfeit of ancient Puebloan cliff-dwellings, petroglyphs, pictographs, and archeological artifacts. The area is also famous for its paleontological finds and its desert biodiversity. Like other national monuments, Bears Ears therefore readily meets the statutory objective of preserving “historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest.” Unlike every other monument since the passage of the Antiquities Act, however, Bears Ears was proposed by a coalition of American Indian Tribes. The Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, which submitted the proposal to protect Bears Ears, included representatives from the Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain Ute, Uintah and Ouray Ute, and Zuni tribal governments.

Historically, the Antiquities Act and other federal conservation laws played very different roles in the lives of Native people. Conservation laws divested Tribes of their lands and cultural heritage in the name of preserving these resources for others. Moreover, federal laws and policies designed to destroy tribal political structures were at their apex during the same period that early conservation policy was formed. Together, and complemented by laws that privatized vast swathes of the federal public domain, conservation law and federal Indian law effected a joint project of Indian elimination. This Article explores that dark side of conservation history, and describes the very different process that led to the Bears Ears designation. It argues that by restoring tribal connections to the landscape, Bears Ears National Monument serves as a partial act of reparations.

Today, Bears Ears National Monument is under threat. President Trump reduced the Monument to a small fraction of its size and divided it into two parcels. The Tribes, along with conservation groups, have sued, arguing that the Antiquities Act authorizes the President only to create monuments, not to eliminate or shrink them unilaterally. As that legal battle plays out, the story of Bears Ears remains worth telling. Its saga explores the intertwined histories of the development of racial attitudes and environmental thought, and fills in an important chapter in the larger story of Indian appropriation. The inter-tribal effort to establish Bears Ears will leave its mark on public lands and conservation law, regardless of the ebbs and flows of current legal disputes.