San Juan celebrates
Two rallies took place on Saturday, December 2 that involved San Juan County residents and their response to the news that President Donald Trump was expected to significantly trim the boundaries of Bears Ears National Monument.
Dueling rallies were held by those both for and against the monument changes.
The events were in marked contrast to December 28, 2016, when Barack Obama created Bears Ears NM.
Many people celebrated that day when the monument was created. The protest in Monticello the following day was defiant and impassioned.
Less than a year later, on December 2, the celebration was in Monticello and the impassioned defiance was in Salt Lake City.
The Utah Highway Patrol estimates that 5,000 people participated in the protest at the Capital Building in Salt Lake City.
The event was organized by Utah Dine Bikeyah and included speeches by several local residents.
The rally in Monticello was attended by about 250 people.
Commissioner Bruce Adams thanked three people: Senator Orrin Hatch, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, and President Donald Trump. Adasm said that Trump had listened to the 15,000 people in San Juan County.
Commissioner Rebecca Benally discussed many sleepless nights and long prayers and said that the people of San Juan County had been bullied by special interest groups. Benally said, “My little voice was speaking in behalf of the 15,000 people of San Juan County” and added that the grassroots voices from San Juan County helped.
Commissioner Phil Lyman said, “Right is right and wrong is wrong. Truth is so much simpler than pursuing a false narrative.”
Lyman praised Representative Jason Chaffetz, who he called a great friend of San Juan County. He also praised State Representative Mike Noel and Senator Mike Lee, and expressed relief that Donald Trump had been elected, saying, “We are full of Christmas miracles.”
Lyman used a quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson that discussed the tragedy of “waking up homeless in a continent that our forefathers conquered.”
Jerry Taylor, of the Garfield County Commission, discussed the 21 years that Grand Staircase had been a monument. Taylor said, “Finally, our voice is being heard.”
Also speaking were State Senator David Hinkens, Grand County Commissioner Curtis Wells, Weber County Commissioner Kerry Gibson from Ogden, Johnny Miller from the Utah Association of Counties, and Kelsey Berg of the Utah Farm Bureau.
Berg encouraged county residents to “stay unified as we pursue the ultimate goal, rescind the Antiquities Act.”
Local resident who spoke include Betty Jones, San Juan County Sheriff Rick Eldredge, Jami Bayles from the Stewards of San Juan, Mariah Harris, and Susie Philemon.