Bears Ears

Landscape of Refuge and Resistance

Designated in 2016 by President Obama and reduced to 85 percent of its original size one year later by President Trump, Bears Ears National Monument continues to be a flash point of conflict among ranchers, miners, environmental groups, states’ rights advocates, and Native American activists. In this volume, Andrew Gulliford synthesizes 11,000 years of the region’s history to illuminate what’s truly at stake in this conflict and distills this geography as a place of refuge and resistance.
Gulliford’s engaging narrative explains prehistoric Pueblo villages and cliff dwellings, Navajo and Ute history, stories of Mormon families who arrived by wagon train in 1880, impacts of the Atomic Age, uranium mining, and the pothunting and looting of Native graves that inspired the passage of the Antiquities Act over a century ago. The book describes how the national monument came about and its deep significance to five native tribes.
Bears Ears National Monument is a bellwether for public land issues in the American West. Its recognition will be relevant for years to come.
Andrew Gulliford is professor of history at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. He is an award-winning author whose books include Boomtown Blues: Colorado Oil Shale; Sacred Objects and Sacred Places: Preserving Tribal Traditions; and The Woolly West: Colorado’s Hidden History of Sheepscapes.

Table of Contents:


Introduction: Bears Ears and a Deep Map of Place 
1. Hunter- Gatherers and Deep Time: From Pleistocene Mammoths to Archaic Rock Art
2. From Basketmakers to Ancestral Puebloans, ad 50 to 1150
3. Into the Cliffs, 1150–1300
4. Navajos, Utes, and Canyon Exploration, 1300–1859
5. “The Fearing Time” and Mapping Ancient America, 1860–1875
6. “We Thank Thee, Oh God”: Mormons Settle Bluff and Cattle Come to the Canyons, 1876–1890
7. Cowboy Archaeology, a Lady Botanist, a Failed Indian Reservation, and the Antiquities Act, 1891–1906
8. The US Forest Service, Natural Bridges, and the Last Indian War, 1907–1923
9. Lost in Bears Ears, Murder in Johns Canyon, and a Failed New Deal National Monument, 1924–1944
10. Yellowcake, the Atomic Age, and a Golden Circle, 1945–1970
11. U-95, Nuclear Waste, Deadly Daughters, and Pothunting Raids, 1971–1986
12. Tribes Come Together for Bears Ears National Monument, 1987–2016
13. Resistance and Challenge to Bears Ears and the Antiquities Act
14. Tiny Tubers, Dark Skies, and the Future of a Sacred Native Landscape
15. Bears Ears Restored?: Coming Full Circle in Canyon Country


Praise and Reviews:“This is a significant contribution to a current controversy. It presents multiple sides of questions fairly. In the ongoing arguments over Bears Ears, Gulliford’s book will be a resource and a reference. It presents an excellent history of Bears Ears and surrounding southeastern Utah.”
—Steve Lekson, author of A Study of Southwestern Archaeology
“Andrew Gulliford’s long experience with the lands and people of Utah’s San Juan County is apparent in this fair-minded, richly informative historical account. He shows how the Bears Ears National Monument became such a charged public issue and what can be learned from the ongoing struggle to protect it.”
—John D. Leshy, author of Our Common Ground: A New History of America’s Public Lands