Obama Names Utah, Nevada Monuments Despite Opposition


President Barack Obama designated two national monuments Wednesday at sites in Utah and Nevada that have become key flashpoints over use of public land in the U.S. West, marking the administration’s latest move to protect environmentally sensitive areas in its final days.

The Bears Ears National Monument in Utah will cover 1.35 million acres in the Four Corners region, the White House said. In a victory for Native American tribes and conservationists, the designation protects land that is considered sacred and is home to an estimated 100,000 archaeological sites, including ancient cliff dwellings.

It’s a blow for state Republican leaders and many rural residents who fear it will add another layer of unnecessary federal control and close the area to energy development and recreation, a common refrain in the battle over use of the American West’s vast open spaces.

In Nevada, a 300,000-acre Gold Butte National Monument outside Las Vegas would protect a scenic and ecologically fragile area near where rancher Cliven Bundy led in an armed standoff with government agents in 2014. It includes rock art, artifacts, rare fossils and recently discovered tracks.



Map of Bears Ears:


Gold Butte map


I wonder how much of Europe is considered “sacred” to someone or other, and is any part of it NOT a potential archaeological site? I guess the whole Arabian peninsula is “sacred”, isn’t it, artifacts or no artifacts?

But I guess the real objective is simply to prevent these millions of acres from being utilized by humans in any useful way, particularly if there is oil or mineral there.

Funny how these things can put people in fear of the government. I sometimes hear people say if they found an Indian cave dwelling site they would seal it and say nothing lest their land be seized as “sacred” to someone who can’t even trace a single ancestor to it.

But fortunately, where I live, it rains a lot annually and floods are ferocious in the valleys. So potential archaeological sites are pretty much limited to caves that have been sealed a long time.


Yes, I think that’s the objective.

Almost all of Kentucky was considered sacred hunting grounds 1500 years ago; there was a time when no tribe could settle there. Consequently, southern Ohio is littered with earthworks from Native American settlements, sacred geometric earthworks, burial mounds, and ‘roads’. Most of the earthworks have been destroyed by agriculture and modern cities…the largest ancient sites of Native American earthworks were located in the same places as today’s modern cities. A good example is in Newark, Ohio:


Trump can always undo it, but would he?


Kentucky, Ohio, and a good chunk of the East and Midwest were considered valuable fur territory by the Iroquois Confederacy, which wished to create a monopoly on fur trading with the French and English. Therefore they killed, chased out, enslaved, and otherwise drove into exile most of the tribes native to those areas. (The Erie were massacred to the last person.)

So yeah, in that sense Kentucky was a land where no tribe could settle. Because the Iroquois would kill them.

Later on, when the Iroquois lost power, tribes like the Shawnee returned to Ohio from exile in Tennessee, Georgia, and points west, and went back to their old lands, for the most part. Kentucky remained disputed until white settlers made the point moot.

As for mounds, back in the medieval period, Ohio was the center of a religious culture that liked to build mounds and astronomically aligned stuff. Kentucky was more about Mississippian stuff. There is a certain amount of evidence that Kentucky tribes “farmed” the buffalo and the forests in subtle ways, similar to what we now know about some medieval Amazonian tribes; but they seem to have all died off from epidemics or been driven out by the Iroquois, before any European people got there.

So yeah, they call Kentucky “the dark and bloody ground.”

OTOH, the salt licks, and particularly Big Bone Lick with all the fossils, were considered sacred as well as valuable.


Anyway, look up “Kentucky prehistory”, and you will see that the archaeology of villages was very similar to Ohio… until everybody got killed or exiled.


Depends on what’s in it for him.


The same thing happened in my area; the Ozarks. The local Indians were driven out and/or killed by the invading Osage. The Osage came from the north and settled in the Missouri Valley, but wanted the Ozarks for their private hunting preserve. So they just eliminated all the other Indians.


Great maps. Thank you!


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