Help us tell the untold stories of the struggle to find common ground amidst the beauty and grandeur of Bears Ears.

Rebecca Robinson and Jonah Yellowman

With your help we can elevate the voices of the individuals at the heart of the Bears Ears debate. We made the conscious choice to place individual voices and personal histories at the center of our narrative. We believe opportunity for meaningful change starts with understanding people whose viewpoints are informed by life experiences very different from our own. We seek to create rich human connections that lead to robust and honest discussions about the future of Bears Ears and contested landscapes across the West.  With your help, we can distribute books broadly, connect people who care deeply about public lands, and catalyze conversations aimed at finding common ground and a positive way forward. 

Bears Ears Canyon

Since beginning this work in early 2015, we’ve interviewed nearly 80 people, both supporters of Bears Ears National Monument and those against its designation. Time and again, they described their deep familial, cultural, and spiritual connection to the land. Despite their profound differences, they used the same words to describe their relationship to place. “The land is who we are.” In their shared reverence for Bears Ears lies hope.

In telling their stories, in depth and with compassion and respect, our hope is that people will have a chance to be heard and to hear others with an openness to their different life experiences. Perhaps, through deep listening and a commitment to civility, people can come together in respectful dialogue and find solutions to challenging problems that have eluded previous generations.

The story continues to evolve with drastic changes to the monument's boundaries. San Juan County, Utah, home to Bears Ears, is facing key decisions about its economic future. Native American tribes and their allies are fighting the decision to reduce the size of the monument. The battle over Bears Ears and other public lands in Utah and beyond is likely to continue for years to come.  

WITH YOUR Support, We can achieve two goals:

Get our books out into the world! DONE - THANK YOU!!!

Cover expenses related to initial research, printing, and distributing of Voices from Bears Ears: Seeking Common Ground on Sacred Land and Bears Ears: Views from a Sacred Land

  • transcribing interviews

  • sound editing

  • map creation

  • initial print run of books

  • research and writing 

  • distribute books to selected leaders, policymakers, and educators with the goal of humanizing the debate so that people are able to listen more openly and think more creatively about a productive path forward

Coordinate with outside groups to create opportunities for constructive dialogue. ONGOING.

The challenge today is finding ways to initiate respectful conversations that might, over time, lead to finding common ground on sacred land. Toward that end, we are working with the Four Corners School of Outdoor Education and the Canyon Country Discovery Center in Monticello, Utah to engender community dialogue based on a shared understanding of what the lands in eastern Utah are and what they mean to the people who live here.

  • Support of our efforts will allow us to continue to engage with the Four Corners School with a commitment to advancing constructive dialogue and will enable us to broaden our outreach to other partners across the west interested in furthering inclusive dialogue about public lands.

  • Enable expanded printing and distribution of the books.

  • Mount educational photography exhibitions documenting Bears Ears landscapes and sharing stories from people we interviewed.

Help us initiate constructive conversations