Bears Ears 2017

David Kelly-LA TImes
David Kelly-LA TImes

October 01-07

The Inter-Tribal coalition of the Diné, Ute Mountain, Hopi, Zuni, and Ute was successful in creating  Bears Ears National Monument, with President Obama signing it into existence in December 2016.  However, forces are currently at work to change the makeup of the monument.  During the fall 2017 gathering, participants will have an opportunity to hike a portion of the monument, speak with Tribal leaders on why the monument is important, and learn how to best become an advocate for this public landscape.

This new national monument bumps up against Canyon Lands to the north and includes Arches National Monument to the south (more info at Grand Canyon Trust).  To preserve ancient people’s sites and preserve the landscape, Bears Ears maintains this scared western land for tomorrow’s children.

This last year, events at Standing Rock helped faith communities become aware of how little they know of rural Native America and how to think of the landscape spiritually.  During the last century, the US American landscape has flip-flopped from an 80% rural population in 1900 to an 80% urban population in 2016.  Following this same trend, the church has lost the acute awareness of the landscapes spirituality.

In an effort to enhance a re-awareness of sacred landscape and humanities deep relationship with the American land, Yakama Christian Mission will host five days in the Bears Ears landscape.  Over the course of those days, participants will have the opportunity to backpack and/or day-hike a region of the proposed monument.  Participants will also sit and converse with the peoples whose lives are historical bound to the landscape.

While an exact place and schedule for this pilgrimage is being worked out, the gathering is likely to be in a rural area without a major airport.  Therefore, plan on flying into Salt Lake City and driving the 5.5hrs to the Bears Ears landscape.  Participant will receive a list of registrants two weeks before the event so folk can set up carpools.  Work is going on to find the trails and campsites we will use during our stay.  Much hiking will occur during these days, however Yakama Christian Mission’s goal is to make this accessible to all folk who would like to attend, so when you register speak to your abilities—there is much to do for non-hikers!  Of critical importance, we want our elders to attend!  Yakama Christian Mission will work with our elders to attain adequate housing so as to include their presence in this critical conversation!

Please give this prayerful thought.  The American landscape needs voices who intimately know her curves and ridges and are willing to lend their voice to her wellbeing.

The Mission’s Newsletter will have updates on Bears Ears in the months to come.  While changes are sure to come in the next few months, please go ahead and sign up.  We will keep you updated!

A small fee will be determined.