This is an archived article that was published on in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

I attended the recent hearing of the Commission for the Stewardship of Public Lands at which the Bears Ears National Monument was discussed.

Local media coverage reported that "Republican commission members showed little interest in what Wilson, Lopez-Whiteskunk or other monument supporters had to say, cutting off their comments before they could finish." This description vastly understates what occurred.

The visuals were stunning. The commission consisted entirely of older, white men. The speakers were predominantly Native American and female.

The behavior was shocking. Sen. David Hinkins, R-Orangeville and commission co-chair, merits special mention. With obvious disdain, he interrupted and dismissed the testimony of those with whom he disagreed, repeating questions with no regard for the answers given.

He twice demanded to know why a male tribal representative was not present to testify, clearly communicating that a woman's voice was insufficient, despite her position as a Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Council leader and co-chair of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition.

Even putting aside the racist and sexist implications, Hinkins should be faulted for appalling rudeness. His conduct is simply unacceptable in a society that values respectful discourse.

Joanne Slotnik

Salt Lake City

comments powered by Disqus