By renaming new Utah monument Shash Jaa, is Trump trying to divide Native American tribes? via Salt Lake Tribune

President Donald Trump not only trimmed and broke up the Bears Ears National Monument when he visited Utah last week. He also renamed it with the Navajo-language term for Bears Ears, a gesture that could be courting trouble with many Native Americans.


But according to Navajo Nation Attorney General Ethel Branch, who is leading the multiple tribe-backed lawsuit to halt the action, the Interior did not consult Navajo tribal officers about any aspect of Trump’s proclamation establishing a diminished and renamed monument.

Nor did the Interior run anything past Utah Dine Bikeyah, the local grass-roots Navajo group deeply involved with the Bears Ears proposal, according to executive director Gavin Noyes, who views the rename as a cynical attempt to divide the tribes by exploiting historic grievances among them.


“The tribes have all gotten together and they have designed themselves as a commission and chosen a name that works for everybody. It’s collaborative and it’s in English,” Noyes said. “Even though every single tribe has a name for Bears Ears in their own language, the selection of the Navajo name tramples the Native American true history of the place.”




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