LAS VEGAS SUN- An executive order by President Donald Trump could potentially eliminate Gold Butte’s national monument status.
Sen. Dean Heller needs to oppose this executive order, because protecting Gold Butte’s designation as a national monument is a matter of social justice. The Moapa Band of Piautes consider Gold Butte’s land sacred and have been using its plants and natural resources since long before European settlers arrived.
As the U.S. expanded west, Native Americans were forced onto designated reservations, with terrain deemed too inhospitable for agricultural or commercial use by the white American settlers being given to the Native Americans.
Gold Butte was originally part of the reservation for the Moapa River Indians, allocated in 1873. Despite being sacred land, the Moapa River Indians are content with the current arrangement of sharing Gold Butte with us in the form of a national monument. Taking away Gold Butte’s national monument status would open it up to being literally destroyed in the form of massive excavation for mining or drilling for oil and natural gas.
While Native Americans seek to preserve and share, President Trump seeks to take and exploit. Heller needs to protect Gold Butte for both Native American and non-indigenous peoples alike from Trump’s callous attempt to redistribute the land to energy corporations.