In Utah today, Monday December 4th 2017, the Trump administration has reduced the Bears Ears National Monument by 85%, splitting the monument into two unconnected smaller tracts of land and reducing the protection of this vast cultural landscape.
This is the landscape, which made me a photographer and an activist. This landscape taught me that I could not be one without the being the other. This landscape taught me to love the night and to appreciate things I do not understand.
This vast and amazing area was designated a National Monument in December of 2016 after approximately 80 years of petitioning by Native groups, scientists and environmentalists. The land is filled with deep canyons, steep cliffs and is home to the highest concentration of archeological sites within the United States.
The Bears Ears National Monument is one of the darkest spots within the continental United States. Sadly, a thick veil of light pollution hides this sky in the majority of the United States. Our dark skies are a rapidly diminishing luxury. This is one of the few spots where one can literally see the same sky native people witnessed hundreds of years ago. The same prehistoric sky that guided the ancient architects, which has inspired our religions, mythologies, mathematics, and sciences is only visible in a few precious regions. The Bears Ears National Monument is one of the rare few.
It is here I fell in love with the night sky and the visualization of prehistoric art beneath these skies. When the sun’s light is concealed below the horizon darkness masks the modern world. Peering into the night sky one literally stares in to the past, at ancient light millions of years old. The photography of ruins and mysterious petroglyphs beneath ancient starlight allows me to fleetingly step into the past and remember an older human consciousness.
And most importantly, this monument is a living cultural landscape to this continent's native inhabitants. For them the land is a family member, which needs to be cared for. We have done these original people enough harm. They have not asked for much. It saddens me that when our government, after 200 years, finally produced a proclamation that, for the first time, acknowledged “…tribal expertise and traditional and historical knowledge…” we revoke this acknowledgment before a single year has passed.
More info: ancientskys.com