What benefit to the Navajo people would ever come from the Navajo Nation threatening to sue the federal government over Bears Ears National Monument being reduced?
Suing the government over the anticipation of reducing Bears Ears National Monument pays more lip service on the land issues then it actually does protecting it. Not to mention the resources needed for filing fees and court costs that are probably going to come from resources that could be utilized elsewhere, needed elsewhere and should be used elsewhere.
Unemployment hovers around 42 percent on the Navajo Nation (compared with a 4.4 percent national average). A further 19 percent of the Navajo Nation is right at the poverty line. And 43 percent of Navajos exist below the federal poverty line of $24,250 for a family of four. With numbers like those, who can afford to support a Navajo Nation that pushes for a frivolous lawsuit against the federal government on land that was already federally protected prior to a massive 1.35 million Bears Ears monument designation?
The monument designation is entirely outside the borders of the Navajo Nation. It would have zero impact on the everyday lives of our Navajo people who struggle to simply put food on the table every day. The only economic impact the monument has is for the very people who initially pushed for its creation in the first place: radical environmentalist organizations with extremely close ties to the tourism industry.
More urgent issues on the Navajo Nation far outweigh the need to initiate costly lawsuits. All over the reservation, we have roads that need improvements, with kids missing class because they can’t even make it to bus stops. We have families living in the 21st century still with no electricity, no running water or adequate housing at all. Around “34,000 new homes are needed on the Navajo Reservation,” according to AZCentral. All important and pressing issues each, yet threats of frivolous lawsuits are all we have to look forward to?
It’s unfortunate that the Navajo Nation would rather sue the government for the needs of business owners and clothing companies when we need the attention of our Navajo leaders for our everyday struggles here on the Navajo Nation.
Montezuma Creek, Utah