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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.


Suzanne Ewy

Laurence and Christine Paige

Linnea Noyes

Dyann & Darrell Peck

Jonathan P Thompson

Stephen Trimble

Christine Ballard

Midge Cross

Tom Yulsman

Allen Bealle

Nina Simons

Scott Abbott

Amy Brunvand

Jeffrey Fuller

Carol Kasza

Lisa Jones


Suzanne Kelly

Mike Whelan

Ann Whittaker

Simmons Buntin

Jessica Soza


Allison Jones

Liz Selene

Michelle Raheja

Joseph Kelly

Patricia Karamesines

Erin Bowers

Holly Martin and David Kessler


Cubs Farr

Nancy Sachs Grey

Cindy L.

Kati Soleil

Meike Rottermann

Billie G Larson

Mary Sojourner

Suzanne Jamison

Patrick de Freitas

Jimmy Charley

Sam Rushforth

Dave Gens

Meredith and John Vehar

Penny Ruckd

Steven & Laurie Prentice-Dunn

Mark Maynard

Jeff Oberdorfer

Daniel D Ballard

Donald Simonis

Melinda McIlwaine

Marion Lennberg

Dorothy Bohntinsky

Pat Leigh

Stirling Adams

Thomas Woolf

Grand Valley Books

Marci L. Milligan

Barbara Theroux

Abigail Johnson

Ken Mitchell

Sue Fassett


Braden Hepner

Autumn Bauman

Renee Thompson

Sarah Bell

Ana Miller-ter Kuile

Tim Peterson

Amanda Holloway

Conley L.

Joel Soto

Glen Alberts

Amy O'Connor

Chris Hakim

Robert Eckman

Bill Doelle

Victoria Bell

Robert Parker

Roxann Holloway

Anita Phagan

Don Christensen

John Stewart

Isabelle Fleuraud

Nan Rothschild

Mark Franklin

Esther Clark

Lauret Savoy

Bob Springmeyer

Kelly Naylor

Chip Thomas

Karolyn Rim Stein

Chris O'Neil

Tena Boswell

Nancy Mulvany


Luci Malin

Alec Kercso

Anne Holman

L. Beaudreau

Andy Nettell

Raymond Berry

Kirtly Parker Jones

Adam Keene

Doug Varn

David Wright

Will Burhans

Charlie Quimby

Heidi Dexter

John Heisey

John Schoettler

Shauna Sudbury

Don Gomes

William Hyder

Nancy Sears

Cliff Mcelroy

Pamela Denning

Graham Gardner

Gillian Hearst

Maya ter Kuile-Miller

Marie Keeler

James and Elizabeth Allen

Chris Jones

Christine Arthur

Kristy Larsen

Marc Thomas/Sierra Club-Utah Chapter

David Meyer

Renata Golden

Diane Stewart

"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."


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 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.”


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

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