Excerpts from interviews with sources

Jonah Yellowman

Jonah Yellowman is a Navajo traditional healer and board member of Utah Diné Bikéyah, an organization “that works toward healing of people and the Earth by supporting indigenous communities in protecting their culturally significant, ancestral lands.” He has played an essential role as a spiritual advisor to the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, a collaboration amongst five Colorado Plateau tribes – the Hopi, Navajo, Ute Mountain Ute, Uintah and Ouray Ute, and Zuni – whose leaders crafted and presented to the Obama administration a proposal for a 1.9-million-acre national monument in southeastern Utah.

Heidi Redd

Heidi Redd has been a cattle rancher since 1965, when she and her former husband purchased the Indian Creek Cattle Company in San Juan County, Utah, near the border of Canyonlands National Park’s Needles District.  Redd’s interest in long-term scientific study of ranchlands in the West led her to sell her ranch to the Nature Conservancy in 1997.  The arrangement precludes development and retains the land as a working cattle ranch.  Redd served as a member of a stakeholder group tasked with developing a land-use plan for San Juan County and sought to create a compromise that would balance wilderness preservation and economic development.

Regina Lopez Whiteskunk

Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk is a former Ute Mountain Ute councilwoman and former co-Chair of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition. Whiteskunk served as a highly visible spokesperson for the Coalition as it built support for a Bears Ears National Monument. She sees the potential of the Coalition tribes to use their combined sovereign powers as in important step in seeking greater recognition for tribal priorities.  

Alfred and Sahmie Lomahquahu

Alfred Lomahquahu is the Vice Chairman of the Hopi tribe and co-Chair of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition. In addition to his tribal leadership, he has achieved national recognition for his kachina carvings. He believes that he and his fellow Coalition members have been called to the mission of protecting ancestral lands.

Sahmie Lomahquahu is an educator focused on offering opportunities for disadvantaged Hopi youth. She is passionate about Indian education reform and has spent much of her career working in underperforming schools to improve student achievement. She is a strong believer in the potential of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition to inspire youth to become leaders in the movement for indigenous self-determination.

Mark Maryboy

Mark Maryboy is a renowned politician and activist. He was the first Native elected official in Utah’s history, and served for 20 years on the San Juan County Commission and in the Navajo Nation government.  As a co-founder and board member of Utah Diné Bikéyah, he played a pivotal role in conducting interviews of tribal elders and compiling a comprehensive map of cultural resources in southeastern Utah of importance to Navajos. This work laid the foundation for the formation of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition and the national monument proposal its leaders submitted to the Obama administration.

Phil Lyman

Phil Lyman is a San Juan County commissioner and proud descendant of the first Anglos to settle San Juan County. As part of Rep. Rob Bishop’s (R-UT) Public Lands Initiative, he organized a Public Lands Council in response to Bishop’s call for stakeholder-driven input that would inform the PLI legislation. Lyman strongly believes that decisions regarding the future of public lands in southeast Utah should be the province of state and local government. He gained national notoriety for a 2014 ATV protest ride through Recapture Canyon challenging the closure of roads on BLM land.

Kay and Patsy Shumway

Kay and Patsy Shumway are longtime residents of Blanding, with roots in San Juan County extending back six generations. Following an academic career as a botanist with a PhD in plant genetics, Kay returned to Blanding to help launch and grow Utah State University Eastern - Blanding campus. Patsy is a retired schoolteacher who spent her formative years herding sheep with her family and working alongside one of the foremost cattlemen in San Juan County. The Shumways are members of Friends of Cedar Mesa, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting and preserving the landscapes and archaeological sites in San Juan County.

Ken Sleight

Ken Sleight is a river guide who traversed the Colorado River systems in Utah. His favorite place as a river runner was Glen Canyon before it disappeared under Lake Powell. Sleight was the model for Seldom Seen Smith in Edward Abbey’s classic The Monkey Wrench Gang.