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Opinion

Readers React: Why turning over federal land to ‘local control’ deeply disrespects Native Americans

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Bears Ears buttes in the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah on Dec. 13.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: At a time when Japanese Americans are reminding us that their internment during World War II has eerie similarities to the way Muslims are treated by this administration, it is important to be reminded that the dramatic reduction in lands protected in the Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears national monuments is more than a land grab for mining and other environmentally damaging interests.

It is another blatantly racist exclusion of disempowered groups, in this case Native Americans. When the administration declares that it is “returning these lands to local control,” it is clear that what it really means is a return to recent local control by whites.

There has been no consideration of the native groups that lobbied long and hard for these protections. These are groups that trace their heritage, culture and burial of their ancestors to these areas long before this administration’s beneficiaries were present.

The slashing of these national monuments and blatant disregard of native interests and rights are shameful examples of American apartheid.

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Stuart S. Sumida, Riverside

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To the editor: Do L.A. Times readers know that Native Americans are called “First Nations” in Canada? This acknowledges that these people were here first and existed as nations before our forefathers arrived.

Allowing oil drilling on their sacred land is like opening a McDonald’s in Vatican City.

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Nina T. Parkinson, West Hollywood

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