Susie Johnson Philemon, a local San Juan County Navajo, opposes a national monument. Like many other locals, she was born and raised in the area surrounding the Bears Ears Mountains, and her connection to the land stretches back hundreds of years.
Susie’s ancestors found protection and safety in the mountains after being persecuted and driven from their homes. These ancestors are buried on the Bears Ears and she believes the area still contains the spirit of her ancestors. She, like so many others, feels the area is sacred.
One might ask, wouldn’t Susie want this sacred land protected if she feels so strongly? The answer is simple — yes!