"BLANDING, Utah — Long after the Black Hawk helicopter carrying Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke flew off into the bright Utah sky, James Adakai stood in the airport parking lot with an angry frown frozen on his face.
As chairman of a tribal commission established to oversee the Bears Ears National Monument, Adakai, who is Navajo, felt he deserved a place in a meeting Zinke arranged at the airport to discuss the monument’s fate. Instead, Zinke met and toured the site in helicopters with Utah government officials and others who adamantly oppose the first U.S. monument designated at the request of Native American tribes to preserve artifacts and sacred lands.
“You see how they do us?” Adakai said.
Zinke was on his first trip to southern Utah since President Trump signed an executive order to review Bears Ears and 26 other monuments. Zinke stepped into the center of a land dispute that is as old as the Indian Wars."