Ideas. Stories. Community.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Voices from the Bears Ears Debate

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell's visit to Bluff brought over 1,000 people from all over the county, state, and country. My editor and I got to the Bluff Community Center early, registered as members of the media, and found a seat near the front of the room.

Before the event started, I overheard part of a conversation from two men sitting behind me. Lewis Singer, from Blanding, was wearing a brown shirt to show his opposition to the Monument. His wife Donna and his friend sat on either side of him. I turned around and asked if I could to record some of their thoughts on my phone. They said yes, and I asked them some questions about their views.

After the event started, recorded many of the speakers who addressed the audience. You can hear some of their thoughts, as well as excerpts from the interviews on this page by clicking here.

As the event finished, I went outside the Community Center to talk to people who hadn't come inside. Standing by one of the tents I found Hilary Hunger-Ford and Dustin Joe, who said they had come from the Salt Lake area to hear people's views about the monument. They both said that they didn't have specific positions in the debate, but that they were there to hear what others had to say.

Interview--Hilary Hunger-Ford and Dustin Joe

I then ran into Amanda Nichols, a Bluff resident and member of Friends of Cedar Mesa, a group that supports a national monument designation.

Interview--Amanda Nichols

After I finished talking with Amanda, I went over to a group of people sitting in camp chairs in the shade of a large umbrella. They also wore brown shirts in opposition to the monument. I recorded an interview with two of women in the group, Sasha Singer and Dara Whatcott, both from Blanding.

Interview--Sasha Singer and Dara Whatcott

Shortly after I finished their interview, I noticed that the card on my sound recorder was full. I headed back to my car in the 108-degree heat, facing west, the direction of the Bears Ears region that we had been hearing so much about. It had been a long and hot day of hearing voices from all different sides of the debate, but I felt lucky to have been there to hear them.

Author's note: these interviews have undergone minor edits for listening quality. However, none of the interviewees' words have been removed or changed.

Related Content