In late 2016, President Barack Obama declared 1.35 million acres of public lands in southeast Utah as Bears Ears National Monument. A land rich in human history and unsurpassed in natural beauty, Bears Ears is at the heart of a national debate over the future of public lands.
In Bears Ears Country, Rebecca Robinson and Stephen Strom tell the story of a unique place with an exceptional history, and the people who call it home. It is also a story of the cultural cross currents that roil our times: the struggle to maintain tradition and culture in the face of a rapidly changing world, the lines we draw to define and defend what is ours, the ties that bind us together, and the fear that threatens to tear us apart. It is about the pain of past injustices, and the efforts to heal age-old wounds to create a shared future; it is about voices that haven’t been heard and stories that haven’t been told. It is about the opportunity to honor land held sacred by Natives and Anglos, and to transform contested ground into common ground.
All photography by Stephen Strom