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.”[…]