Five Native American Tribes are Suing President Trump

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President Donald Trump announced that he plans to shrink the size of two Utah National Monuments, Bears Ears National Monument and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Well, five Native American tribes are speaking out against the downsize, and are straight-up suing the President in response.

The Ute Mountain Ute, Navajo Nation, Hopi, Zuni, and the Ute Indian tribes are suing President Trump for what they say is an “overstepping of executive branch boundaries.” This comes from Trump wanting to roll back protections for thousands of acres of Utah wilderness surrounding the monuments.

The tribes’ lawsuit reads:

“The President was plainly aware that he lacked the authority to revoke a monument and is thus transparently attempting to evade that strict limitation by purporting to reduce it but, as described herein, the President’s action must be viewed as a revocation, particularly with respect to all objects not included in the two ‘new’ monuments.”

Strangely, Trump’s justification for the shrinkage is the reduction is federal overreach. The Administration claims that President Obama overstepped his boundaries when he declared the lands national monuments in the first place.

Trump says that his decision actually gives the land back to the people of Utah, CNN reports.

Regardless, Conservationists and Native Americans feel this will not help Utah residents and are concerned that this may actually be an open invitation for mining companies who may be interested in the parcels of land created by the breakup.

This could potentially jeopardize around 100,000 archaeological and sacred sites throughout the region, which is why the tribes are pushing the 1906 Antiquities Act to the forefront.

As they explain in their suit, “The Act authorizes Presidents to create national monuments; it does not authorize Presidents to abolish them either in whole or in part, as President Trump’s action attempts to do.”

Meaning, President Trump’s thought that Obama pushed bounds by designating the monuments will have to be tested first in court before he attempts to go forward with the downsizing.

 The White House has refused to comment on the lawsuit.

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