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Utah Rep Being Bit Of A Racist, Lying Dick To The Indians
It's a plausible theory, at least
In the great state of Utah, there's this seriously endangered area that a coalition of Native American tribes has petitioned President Obama to declare a national monument using his powers under the Antiquities Act. The proposed Bears Ears National Monument would comprise about 1.9 million acres, and is estimated to include over 100,000 cultural and archaeological sites that currently have little protection from grave robbers, artifact looters, and plain old asshole vandals whose idea of preserving wild lands amounts to carving "FUCK YOU BLM" into sandstone rock faces.
Mind you, not everyone in Utah thinks a national monument is a good idea. Mostly people who worry they won't be able to go four-wheelin' anymore, or dig up and drill for the stuff God put in the earth for people to dig up and drill for, or otherwise commercially exploit the area the way it's meant to be commercially exploited. For instance, there's Utah state Rep. Mike Noel, who insists that in pushing for the national monument, the Navajo Nation, the Hopi Tribe, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, the Pueblo of Zuni, and the Ute Indian Tribe have all simply let themselves be manipulated by wily environmentalists who want to ruin everyone's fun. Destruction of grave sites, looting of artifacts, people rooting through archaeological sites in hopes of finding some ancient pottery they can make a quick buck from? None of it is really happening, says Rep. Noel, who has an alternative explanation of what's going on: Badgers. Duh.
"There is no immediate threat. It's a scam," said Noel, a Kanab Republican ... "There is no fresh digging. All we can see today are badger holes. We have to get a handle on these badgers because those little suckers are going down and digging up artifacts and sticking them in their holes."
The Center for Western Priorities is somewhat skeptical of Noel's theory. As they point out, those would have to be some pretty smart badgers if they've learned to:
Not to mention the "FUCK YOU BLM" carving. You might almost get the impression Noel is making this shit up. Sadly, local journalists appear not to have challenged him for evidence of his claim, else we'd be bringing you his angry reply that he doesn't have to show us no stinking badgers.
Rep. Noel does have a gift for creative explanations, such as his evidence-free claim in April that the tribal leaders petitioning for the creation of a national monument simply had to have been pushed into it by nasty white environmentalists. He even called for a state investigation of the supposed conspiracy -- the obvious assumption being that the simple Native folk would never cause all this trouble on their own. That didn't sit too well with at least one member of the Navajo Nation Council, who explained that Native Americans can give a damn about their cultural heritage all on their own, thank you very much:
"We speak for ourselves and our tribal members who have overwhelmingly called on us to make sure Bears Ears becomes a national monument," said Davis Filfred, a Navajo Nation Council delegate who represents Utah's Mexican Water, Aneth, Teec Nos Pos, Tolikan and Red Mesa chapters.
Nonetheless, Noel claimed the intertribal petition for a national monument was nothing more than
a "charade" manufactured by meddling outside environmental groups that pay Utah Dine Bikeyah board members and bankroll their lobbying forays to Washington. His call for a probe into the group's finances and relationships drew numerous rebukes.
Racism and hating the federal government... say, where have we seen that combination in the Great Southwest before?
Oh, yes! Would you believe there's a Bundy family connection here, too? The proposed monument also includes Recapture Canyon, the very same sensitive archaeological area where in 2014 Ammon Bundy and some pals removed some roadblocks and went YEEEHAAW in an ATV convoy through a closed area to show, as daddy Cliven emailed supporters, "who is in control of the land." Which certainly isn't the federal government tyrants. Nominally led by San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman, the motorized dickbags made a virtue of riding straight through the areas that were designated as culturally sensitive.
The Bundy crowd even rejected Lyman's suggestion that they go ahead and ride into the canyon, but avoid the off-limits areas, because what kind of patriot bows down to government archaeologists? Is archaeology even mentioned in your pocket Constitution? IT IS NOT:
Wielding a pocket-sized Constitution, Bundy said that the land belonged to San Juan County residents and that they had a right to ride it.
One man said: “Rosa Parks didn’t have a case until she sat in the front of the bus.” Another added: “The BLM has guns and mace and Tasers and shackles, but we’ve got guns too!”
Despite his suggestion that maybe they should stay out of the most sensitive areas, Lyman went ahead with the ride -- because who's going to disagree with the Rosa Parks of defiling the land -- for which he was rewarded with a 10-day jail sentence and $1,000 fine. He and another ride organizer also had to pay restitution of $96,000 for damage caused by the ride. He was very, very sorry he did all that, you bet. Lyman has also said Navajos need to butt out of western land management questions, since they lost any right to comment on federal land use policy when they "lost the war."
So we've got Bundyite sovereign citizens, liars, and racists against this national monument proposal. Hell, all we need now is some good old-fashioned ratfucking. Which we have! In late May, a dirty tricks campaign got rolling, complete with fake press releases claiming to be from the Department of the Interior, as well as distribution of phony flyers, supposedly from tribal supporters of the monument and environmental groups, announcing a big party to celebrate the monument but telling Utah Navajos to "stay away from our party."
The actual tribal organizers of the monument campaign denounced the flyers and press releases for "spreading lies, inciting racism and impersonating federal officials... "These tactics are despicable and likely criminal."
Yeah, but it's all for a good cause: saving the land from being saved by the Feds. That makes just about anything OK, doesn't it? All we need now is for Cliven Bundy to invite Donald Trump to add his two cents to the clusterfuck.
Late Update: By permission, a cartoon on Mr. Noel's comments by Pat Bagley of theSalt Lake Tribune:
[ Center for American Progress / Salt Lake Tribune / Center for Western Priorities via tip from alert Wonkette Operative "Greg" / Salt Lake Tribune / ThinkProgress / High Country News / Salt Lake Tribune / top image based on photo by Al Hartmann, Salt Lake Tribune ]