By Josh Kilburn
By Scott Gaudinier
Lyman, in response to Native American criticism, stated that it would be possible for ATVs to ride through the area while preserving sacred ancient artifacts. However, Jessica Goad from the Center for Western Priorities strongly disagreed with Lyman’s statement, explaining how ATV riders ruined any chance of riding through the area when two men were discovered by authorities using picks and shovels to construct another trail for ATVs before the original ban had been instituted.
The ATV rally to ride through sacred Native American burial sites has since spurred anger among Natives, as well as environmentalists and other groups opposed to the rising threat of right-wing action in Western states. According to these groups, not only do these actions show extreme lack of respect to Native cultures, but it also shows a high amount of ignorance about the government’s involvement in the lives of citizens. This is due to both far-right individuals like rancher Cliven Bundy and the conservative group Americans for Prosperity, who each provoked the event.
Bundy supporters defy feds by riding ATVs in off-limits Utah canyon
"Damage to archaeological sites is permanent and the information about our collective past is then lost forever," Jerry Spangler, of the Colorado Plateau Archaeological Alliance, said to the Salt Lake Tribune. "It is sad that irreplaceable treasures of importance to all Americans would be sacrificed on the altar of anti-government fervor. It is worse that protesters would be so blinded to their own insensitivity as to what others consider to be sacred treasures of their past."
Palma also pointed out in his statement that there are more than 2,800 miles of trails on public lands that are open to ATV use within a short drive of Blanding. He also noted that BLM-managed public lands in Utah provide $490 million in local and national economic benefits in 2012.
By Christina Rose
“The trail within the closure area is very narrow. There are many points throughout the closed area where there are remains, relics, artifacts.” Crandall said. “Some are right next to the trail and some are even on the trail. You are risking those resources by using those vehicles.”
In a letter to the Salt Lake Tribune, Willie Grayeyes, chair of a nonprofit that lobbies to protect Navajo land, wrote that a Veterans Retreat had to be cancelled because of the rally.
“This opportunity for healing, to help these men and women has been postponed due to the threats of illegal activities by San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman on behalf of those who desire to drive their ATV toys over the sacred ruins of others.” Grayeyes wrote. “Contrary to the beliefs of many, southeastern Utah was not an empty place that no one wanted just waiting to be inhabited by European settlers or discovered as a recreation playground, but rather it was and remains our home.”
Lyman has complained that Blanding’s ancestors used that path 150 years ago to travel north and the townspeople have a right to the area, which is still legally accessible on foot and on horseback.
“I understand the viewpoint that many of the descendants of the original Blandings were there 150 years ago, but I would also say that the Native Americans have been here for two millennia,” Crandall responded.
Land Rights activists like to invoke ‘ancestral rights’ to federally owned land, even as they run roughshod over preservation sites for ancient Native American cultures.
By Caitlin Dickson
“Damage to archaeological sites is permanent and the information about our collective past is then lost forever,” the Colorado Plateau Archaeological Alliance’s Jerry Spangler told The Salt Lake Tribune in response to the protest. “It is sad that irreplaceable treasures of importance to all Americans would be sacrificed on the altar of anti-government fervor. It is worse that protesters would be so blinded to their own insensitive as to what others consider to be sacred treasures of their past.”
Libertarians—the proponents of hands-off government, including land rights activists—are fond of appropriating Native American imagery to evoke negative sentiments toward the federal government, especially with regards to gun control. Last year, several gun control opponents warned that federal gun regulations would lead to a massacre akin to that of nearly 300 Lakota Indians by U.S. soldiers near the South Dakota’s Wounded Knee Creek in 1890. “Wounded Knee was among the first federally backed gun confiscation attempts in United States history,” one blogger at Libertarian politician Ron Paul’s website DailyPaul.com wrote last year. “It ended in the senseless murder of 297 people.” A popular Internet meme picturing a Native American tribal leader surrounding the words, “I’m all for total gun control and trusting the government to protect you…After all, it worked great for us,”promotes the same message.
That believers of the same ideology would try to appeal to the emotions of Native Americans to promote one agenda, while shamelessly ignoring the rights of those same people in an effort to further another cause, is ironic to say the least. So, too, is Bundy, a literal freeloader in every sense of the word, suggesting that black people would be better off as slaves than “under government subsidy.”
BLM Says It Will Prosecute Illegal ATV Riders at Recapture Canyon
By Public News Service
Motorized vehicles have been banned in the area, which contains ancient Native American cultural assets, since 2007.
For more on Cliven Bundy, see ATV Rally in Off-Limit Canyon and What Bundy and Sterling Tell Us.