Tags: Trump Administration | American | Indians | Orrin Hatch | Bear Ears

American Indians: Sen. Hatch Comments 'Blatantly Racist'

Image: American Indians: Sen. Hatch Comments 'Blatantly Racist'

By    |   Tuesday, 09 May 2017 04:01 PM

Tribal leaders in Utah want a swift apology from Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, after the veteran lawmaker implied American Indians were being "manipulated" in their support of a Bear Ears National Monument on sacred tribal lands.

Hatch, who campaigned to get President Donald Trump to reconsider the monument approved by President Barack Obama last December, said Sunday that Native Americans are "manipulated sometimes by people.'"

He added the "far left" is eying the 1.35 million acres in southeastern Utah for other purposes.

"The Indians, they don't fully understand that a lot of the things that they currently take for granted on those lands, they won't be able to do if it's made clearly into a monument or a wilderness," Hatch said, per The Salt Lake Tribune.

"Once you put a monument there, you do restrict a lot of things that could be done, and that includes use of the land. . . . Just take my word for it."

The Utah League of Native American Voters demanded an apology from Hatch for his "blatantly racist, misinformed, and condescending tone and words about Native American Nations in the state of Utah."

"Since 2011, Tribes have sent their best and brightest attorneys, medicine people, policy researchers, anthropologist, ethnologists, and economists to assess, evaluate, and make recommendations about the Bears Ears National Monument designation," the group said in a statement posted on Facebook.

"These individuals informed Tribes, the State of Utah, the Utah Congressional Delegation, the White House, the Interior Department, and the Agriculture Department about the concerns of local residents, non-tribal members, and the outdoor and energy industries. Sen. Hatch dismissed without compunction and with impunity that Tribes do not understand the tradeoffs connected to Bears Ears."

Navajo Nation Council Delegate Nate Brown added: "Sen. Hatch is not being honest and his words are racially charged, inflammatory and incredibly disrespectful to me as Tribal Councilman, and to all our highly educated tribal members working on the Bears Ears."

Willie Grayeyes, chairman of the Utah Diné Bikéyah a Native American nonprofit, said it was offensive to think Native Americans "do not have a will of their own, or if they do take a position that their position is influenced by a non-native person.

"[We] understand the special and sacred landscapes at Bears Ears National Monument better than anyone," he said. "We are very pleased with the language used in the proclamation that protects the things we care about and gives us a voice in our future."

On Twitter, Hatch said:

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, who is surveying the area, said Sunday he saw no evidence Native Americans were deceived, calling them "smart, capable, passionate," with "a deep sense of ties to their culture."

The Bears Ears are a sweeping pair of mesas located in Utah's San Juan County.

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Tribal leaders in Utah want a swift apology from Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, after the veteran lawmaker implied American Indians were being "manipulated" in their support of a Bear Ears National Monument on sacred tribal lands.
American, Indians, Orrin Hatch, Bear Ears
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2017-01-09
Tuesday, 09 May 2017 04:01 PM
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