After news broke out that Bears Ears was one of the national monuments that Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke recommended to be reduced in size, there has been outrage from Native American tribe members, environmentalists, and the concerned public alike. Bears Ears has cultural and religious significance for multiple Native American tribes and it is for this reason that the Navajo Nation has announced that it will sue the administration if it does carry out its plan to shrink the monument.

Here’s what the attorney general of the Navajo Nation is saying:

“We are prepared to challenge immediately whatever official action is taken to modify the monument or restructure any aspect of that, such as the Bears Ears Commission,” Ethel Branch, the attorney general of the Navajo NationĀ told Reuters.

The tribe argues changing the boundaries of Bears Ears would violate the Antiquities Act, a century-old law that permits presidents to unilaterally protect sacred sites, cultural artifacts and other historical objects. Some presidents have reduced the size of monuments, but only on a limited scale. The concept has never been tested in court.

The tribe argues changing the boundaries of Bears Ears would violate the Antiquities Act, a century-old law that permits presidents to unilaterally protect sacred sites, cultural artifacts and other historical objects. Some presidents have reduced the size of monuments, but only on a limited scale. The concept has never been tested in court.

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