WHITE MESA, Arizona (ABC4) – It takes a team to run important national monuments like Bears Ears.

On Saturday, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service and the five tribes of the Bears Ears Commission formalized and celebrated their partnership for co-managing the Bears Ears National Monument.

They signed a cooperative agreement that formally recognizes their collaboration and traveled to Highway 261 to unveil the monument’s new signage that includes insignias of the Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation, and the Pueblo of Zuni.

“This is an important step as we move forward together to ensure that Tribal expertise and traditional perspectives remain at the forefront of our joint decision-making for the Bears Ears National Monument. This type of true co-management will serve as a model for our work to honor the nation-to-nation relationship in the future,” says BLM Director, Tracy Stone-Manning.

The BLM and U.S. Forest Service also announced that they will provide resources to each tribe through a separate process to support the work that the five Tribes will perform under the new agreements and through their representatives on the Bears Ears Commission.

“Today, instead of being removed from a landscape to make way for a public park, we are being invited back to our ancestral homelands to help repair them and plan for a resilient future. We are being asked to apply our traditional knowledge to both the natural and human-caused ecological challenges, drought, erosion, visitation, etc.,” says Bears Ears Commission Co-Chair and Lieutenant Governor of Zuni Pueblo, Carleton Bowekaty.

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