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Bears Ears National Monuments Attendees and Statement of Purpose

On November 16th, the New Mexico Wildlife Federation traveled with leaders from various faith communities to Bears Ears National Monument to discuss the importance of protecting this sacred space. Please find our statement of purpose and list of attendees below:

Statement from Rev. Andrew Black

Presbyterian Minister & Director Community Relations and Education New Mexico Wildlife Federation

“This trip was an opportunity for spiritual leaders from all four corners, from various faiths, denominations and traditions to all come together to protect America’s sacred places. We recognize that an attack on one sacred place is an attack on all sacred places and we have come together to highlight for the nation the moral and ethical implications of such attacks on our land, water, wildlife and the whole of creation.

Bears Ears National Monument is one of the most unique and picturesque landscapes in the southwest. Filled with incredible wildlife and biodiversity, this area provides not only an amazing opportunity for sportsmen and outdoor recreationalists, but is also sacred to many tribes throughout the area who deeply value the land, water and wildlife within the National Monument.

Aldo Leopold once said, ‘we abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.’

This trip was first and foremost about being in community with the land and the people who have been on this land for thousands of years. It was about listening, being in relationship and understanding about how we can best be in solidarity with our tribal sisters and brothers. It was about learning from them what message we can take back to our communities and to the nation. It was also an opportunity for spiritual leaders to pray and reflect about the various challenges facing America’s public lands and environment and what role faith communities must play in protecting creation.

With leaders coming together from all four corners of the southwest, we also hope to highlight that Bears Ears National Monument is not only a symbol of tribal sovereignty and a place of great sacredness, but also a place of incredible regional value and national importance.”


  1. Rev. Andrew BlackFirst Presbyterian Church Santa Fe & Director of Community Relations and Education New Mexico Wildlife Federation
  2. Rev. Lorrie Gaffney–Holladay UCC, Salt Lake City, Utah
  3. Woody Lee—Diné (Navajo) Leader and Utah Diné Bikéyah, Sweetwater, Arizona
  4. Sister Marlene Perrotte—R.S.M. Sisters of Mercy, Catholic
  5. Rev. Dr. William Lyons—UCC Southwest Conference Minister (Arizona & New Mexico)
  6. Joseph Brophy ToledoTraditional Leader Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico
  7. Rev. Larry Davis—Trinity Lutheran Church, Farmington, NM & Rocky Mountain Synod ELCA
  8. Rev. Karen WinkelUCC Pastor Montrose, Colorado
  9. Ruling Elder Conrad RochaStated Clerk/Executive Synod of the Southwest (PCUSA) (New Mexico & Arizona)
  10. Rabbi Nahum Ward-Lev—Scholar-in-Residence, Temple Beth Shalom, Santa Fe
  11. Jeff SwansonMilitary Chaplain & Pastor, ELCA—(Alamogordo, NM) 
  12. Eldon CripsenKewa/Santo Domingo Pueblo, Mentor Pueblo Pathways Project
  13. Rev. Norma McCabe Diné Leader, Presbyterian Pastor of 10 Churches on the Navajo Nation; Grand Canyon Presbytery staff
  14. The Rev. Canon Archie “Chan” Anaya–Canon to the Ordinary, Navajoland Area Mission
  15. Rev. Jim BrownHR Santa Fe Presbytery & Executive Director General Assembly Council (92-96)
  16. Sister Joan Brown—O.S.F., Franciscan Sister & Executive Director NM Interfaith Power and Light
  17. Rev. Pamela ShepherdTaos United Church of Christ
  18. Ruling Elder Milinda Benallie Diné (Navajo) leader, Clerk of Session, Kayenta Presbyterian Church
  19. Rev. Virginia BairbyFirst Presbyterian Church Taos, New Mexico
  20. Pastor James TherrienDirector Lybrook Community Ministries and Pastor of Tokahookaaddi Church of the Brethren
  21. Rev. Dr. Harry EbertsFirst Presbyterian Church Santa Fe, New Mexico
  22. Jeremy RomeroRoman Catholic Layman
  23. Carol Keeney—UCC Parishioner Montrose, Colorado
  24. Sister Maureen WildS.C., Catholic Nun  
  25. Donna Swanson—ELCA Parishioner, Alamogordo, New Mexico
  26. Shelley Mann-LevTemple Beth Shalom
  27. Sophie ShemasPublic Lands Fellow at the New Mexico Wildlife Federation