EDGE OF MORNING
Native Voices Speak for the Bears Ears
Watch this short video for a glimpse of the beauty of Bears Ears and the power of story
With immense gratitude we thank all those who donated to make this important book a reality.
Laurence and Christine Paige
Dyann & Darrell Peck
Jonathan P Thompson
Holly Martin and David Kessler
Nancy Sachs Grey
Billie G Larson
Patrick de Freitas
Meredith and John Vehar
Steven & Laurie Prentice-Dunn
Daniel D Ballard
Grand Valley Books
Marci L. Milligan
Ana Miller-ter Kuile
Karolyn Rim Stein
Kirtly Parker Jones
Maya ter Kuile-Miller
James and Elizabeth Allen
Marc Thomas/Sierra Club-Utah Chapter
"The necessity of being a voice for the earth is built into our ways of life.
We do it for the future of all people but also for the future of our land, flora and fauna."
CUTCHA RISLING BALDY,
Edge of Morning contributor
Edge of Morning: Native Voices Speak for the Bears Ears
is an anthology of potent words and story by eighteen Native writers
who champion the protection of the Bears Ears area.
Bears Ears. It is a land carrying the past of over thirteen native tribes. It is a land of cultural, spiritual, and ecological significance that records the continuous presence of people for more than ten thousand years. It is a land in critical need of protection.
Edge of Morning contributor Martie Simmons (Ho-Chunk) tells us that "to this day, it’s a matter of Land Grab Roulette, no different from broken treaties, a gamble for whose tribe will be next." But this land is not commodity, for contributor Cutcha Risling Baldy (Hupa). "The old stories say we are made of the earth. The earth is like us, living. We are responsible for the earth. The earth is responsible for us. It is not just that land is sacred, it is that land protects, provides and nurtures us, so we should, and it is imperative that we do, the same."
Desecration of Bears Ears cultural sites, of the land, scar more than rock and dirt. Contributor Lloyd Lee (Navajo) shows how: "The land is a physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual presence for the people. The land is the core of what it means to be human and Native. Its vitality, energy, and power is reflected in the Native peoples’ narratives."
A coalition of five tribal governments—Navajo, Hopi, Ute Indian Tribe, Ute Mountain Ute, and Zuni—came together to seek protection for the Bears Ears lands in Southern Utah, a place they call both “home” and “soul.” The area’s hundreds of thousands of cultural sites and incomparable wilderness are threatened daily by reoccurring vandalism and looting, careless off-road vehicle use, and devastating intrusion by mining and drilling.
“We are talking about healing…
Ruining the integrity of these lands forever compromises our ability to heal.”
BEARS EARS INTER-TRIBAL COALITION
Bears Ears is located in Southern Utah and encompasses 1.9 million acres of ancestral land on the Colorado Plateau. Its diverse topography and unique land forms range in elevation from 3,700 feet to over 11,300 feet. Named for two distinctive buttes, the Bears Ears is bordered by the Colorado River on the west, the San Juan River and Navajo Nation on the south, and the White Mesa Ute Reservation on the East.
“We are a spiritual people. However, our holy practices happen right here on earth, not in a church, but in special places like Bears Ears.”
BEARS EARS INTER-TRIBAL COALITION
The anthology is edited by Jacqueline Keeler of the Navajo and Yankton Dakota tribes and published by Torrey House Press, a nonprofit literary press promoting conservation through literature. The book is created in collaboration with representatives from the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition and conservation groups, including the Grand Canyon Trust, Utah Diné Bikéyah, Utah Chapter of the Sierra Club, and Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. These groups are using the published book to galvanize support for protecting the area and educate leaders and readers about its natural and cultural significance and the tremendous need to protect this and other sacred landscapes. Edge of Morning also serves as a tool for other native tribes and coalitions in their efforts to protect sacred places.
The Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, backed by the support of twenty-one other tribes and pueblos, petitioned the Obama Administration to designate 1.9 million acres as a national monument. On December 28, 2016, President Obama issued a proclamation declaring 1.35 million acres as Bears Ears National Monument. The designation protects the landscape and its significant cultural history, thus offering future generations a connection with ancestral land. The proposal is the first instance of collaborative management between tribes and federal government and brings together both science and traditional knowledge.
“We can still hear the songs and prayers of our ancestors on every mesa and in every canyon.”
MALCOLM LEHI, Ute Mountain Ute