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Tribes criticize Utah delegation on monument

Posted at 2:44 PM, Jan 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-03 16:44:57-05

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Tribal leaders in the Southwest say they will no longer meet with Utah's congressional delegation on a proposal to designate a section of southeastern Utah as a national monument, and instead take their interests to the White House.
    
The Salt Lake City Tribune reports that a five-tribe coalition is accusing Utah representatives of lip service and a failure to engage.
    
In a letter sent last week to Republican Reps. Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz, the tribal group says it will petition President Barack Obama directly in regards to the proposed Bears Ears National Monument.
    
Chaffetz told The Associated Press on Sunday that the group's assertions are "hollow in nature and void of fact."
    
In a separate statement, Bishop says the coalition's agenda doesn't incorporate the wishes of Utah Navajos.
    
American Indian and conservation groups are seeking monument status to protect a 1.9 million-acre area.