I was dismayed to read your July 5 editorial on the Department of the Interior’s ongoing review of dozens of national monuments. Not only did the Review-Journal suggest that the Antiquities Act should be repealed — an act that has protected lands such as the Grand Canyon from short-sighted destruction and corporate developers — but you also claimed the Obama administration issued national monument designations from afar, without consulting Nevadans.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
I know because, as an advocate for the Gold Butte area for many years and as a member of the Las Vegas Paiute tribe, I have personally seen how indigenous communities and local stakeholders were involved for years in making these designations a reality. There were public town halls, guided tours and letters of support (from Nevada’s tribes included), as well as visits and in-person consultations with federal and BLM officials.
Southern Nevada tribes worked with partners at the state and federal level to ensure these lands, our ancestral lands, would be given proper consideration and care. Nevadans — urban and rural, native or not — were deeply invested in the process. It was because of our years of involvement and passionate advocacy for Gold Butte and Basin and Range that these sites were protected, and justly so.
If others disagree with the designation, they had ample opportunity and time to make their case. They failed to do so successfully because the majority of Nevadans want ancestral indigenous lands and cultural sites protected and understand the importance of preserving Gold Butte and Basin and Range.
It is shameful to advocate for policies that don’t value the importance of Nevada’s monuments.