We are putting off the Bears Ears gathering for the moment! There are two reasons. One, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has recommended to reduce the National Monument. We want to be ready to gather with others should a public witness be necessary. So, we watch and wait and save traveling expenses should the need arise! Second, we are in the process of developing this gathering alongside a journey along the Otoe Trail of Tears that will conclude at Bears Ears. In either case, please sign up below and we will let you know what is going on when it occurs!
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 three days in the Bears Ears landscape. Over the course of those days, participants will have the opportunity to backpack, day-hike, and drive the landscape. Participants will also sit and converse about this ancient and historical landscape.
We will gather at Dead Horse Point about 25 miles west of Moab, Utah. If you are not driving there are options of where to fly into. The lowest cost airport is likely Salt Lake City. The drive from there to Bears Ears is about 5.5 hours. Participants will receive a list of registrants two weeks before the event so folk can set up carpools. This gather is based in prayer, so regardless of abilities everyone is welcome! Both backpacking and day hiking will occur, but others will drive the landscape as well. 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.