Bears Ears Cultural Landscape and Indigenous-Informed Conservation Strategies

An On My Watch Event

This event is part of the On My Watch series and took place virtually on Thursday, January 20, 2022, at 12 PM (EDT). See below for more information on the discussion, including the event description and speaker information. 

In an act of spatial and social justice, the boundaries of Bears Ears National Monument in Utah were restored on October 8, 2021. This decision reversed a 2017 decision to reduce the protected area by 85%, exposing large swaths of ancestral territory to drilling, mining, environmental degradation, vandalism, and looting. 

Join World Monuments Fund (WMF) on January 20 as we explore the historical and social significance of Bears Ears, home to at-risk places of immense meaning to the Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Pueblo of Zuni and Ute Indian Tribe, and other Indigenous peoples. With a focus on our work with Friends of Cedar Mesa through the 2020 World Monuments Watch, the discussion will highlight the importance of cross-collaboration between tribal organizations, cultural heritage specialists, and public lands agencies to protect historic sites and implement Indigenous-informed project planning processes and collaborative management strategies. 

Guest speakers will feature Brandy Hurt, Inter-Tribal Liaison and Traditional Knowledge Advocate at the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition; Joe Neuhof, Executive Director at Friends of Cedar Mesa; and Kevin Cooeyate, a member of the Pueblo of Zuni and Zuni Pueblo Manager at the Ancestral Lands Conservation Corps. The event will be moderated by Ann Cuss, WMF Regional Director for North America, and feature photography and film courtesy of the Ancient Art Archive

Date: Thursday, January 20
Time: 12:00 noon (EST) | 10:00 am (MST) | 5:00 pm (GMT)


About the Speakers

Kevin Cooeyate

Member of the Pueblo of Zuni and Zuni Pueblo Manager at the Ancestral Lands Conservation Corps

Kevin Cooeyate comes from the Pueblo of Zuni and represents the Sun and Child of Corn Clan. He first joined the AL movement back in 2016 as a crew member. Since the establishment of the AL Zuni office, he has dedicated his time and service towards the introduction and development of the Ancestral Lands operations in the Pueblo. With continued support, Kevin has worked his way up to fulfill the duties of a Crew Leader, Field Supervisor, Program Coordinator, and now humbly holds the position as a Program Manager. Kevin is blessed to have the opportunity to welcome in hopeful participants to help better their path through the service work ALCC has to offer.


Brandy Hurt

Inter-Tribal Liaison and Traditional Knowledge Advocate, Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition

Brandy Hurt leads the Bears Ears Cultural Resources Subcommittee for land management planning and facilitates communication between Leadership, Tribal departments, and Traditional Practitioners within and between Coalition Tribes. Her work advances Traditional Knowledge in decision-making and policy and supports collaborative monument management. Brandy also organizes and leads Elder and Youth conservation programs at Bears Ears, writes grants and provides opportunities for Indigenous communities to reconnect with the land. As a project archaeologist and ethnographer with over fifteen years of professional experience in cultural resources and heritage management, Brandy has served 22 Tribes in the Southwest, Great Basin, Midwest, California, and Alaska, and many federal and state agencies across the US. She specializes in cultural mediation and consultation support and has managed and participated in various archaeological, ethnographic, and TCPs studies to comply with NHPA and NEPA. Brandy believes in community empowerment to effect change and is deeply committed to advancing Tribal sovereignty and Traditional Knowledge for Ancestral land management. She holds a B.S. in Applied Sociology and Anthropology from Texas State University and is currently pursuing an M.A. in Cultural Resource Management with an emphasis in Tribal-federal relations from Adams State University.


Joe Neuhof

Executive Director, Friends of Cedar Mesa

Joe Neuhof has more than 20 years of experience in conservation nonprofit work, much of it dedicated to the Colorado Plateau. Prior to joining Friends of Cedar Mesa, Joe served as the founding executive director of Forever Our Rivers Foundation. His previous work also includes serving as executive director of  Colorado Canyons Association – one of the most successful groups in the Friends Grassroots Network and a nationally recognized partner to the Bureau of Land Management. Joe has also performed as the West Slope Director for Conservation Colorado, Executive Director of Save our Streams in Baltimore, MD, and as a board member for various nonprofits including Conservation Lands Foundation, The Civil Conversations Project, Colorado Plateau Coalition, Community Impact Council, and Red Rock Forests, among others.


Ann Cuss

Regional Director for North America, World Monuments Fund

Ann joined World Monuments Fund as Regional Director of North America in 2021. Her work encompasses all aspects of cultural heritage for a variety of public, private, and government partnerships with a particular focus on public lands. Ann’s professional role is multifaceted and involves a mix of performing on-site condition assessments, hands on-treatments, and training young emerging historic preservation professionals in the care of historic materials. She coordinates multidisciplinary teams of tradespeople, architects, historians, and stakeholders for a holistic preservation approach. Ann holds a BA and MA in Archaeology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

About On My Watch

On My Watch is a series of conversations inviting architects, urban planners, preservationists, local stakeholders, and WMF project managers to explore the political, cultural, and technical issues around the preservation of at-risk cultural heritage sites on the World Monuments Watch around the world. 

About Ancient Art Archive

The Ancient Art Archive was founded by award-winning National Geographic photographer Stephen Alvarez. Producing a lengthy story on why humans became artists took him to ancient rock art sites from the southern coast of Africa to Paleolithic art caves in southern Europe, including the spectacular 30,000-year-old paintings in France’s Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc. These powerful experiences inspired him to start the Ancient Art Archive, a non-profit organization dedicated to using cutting-edge photographic technology to preserve and share humanity’s oldest stories with everyone.

Currently, the Ancient Art Archive is focused on its Mural of America initiative: Stephen and a team of extraordinary archaeologists, artists, educators, and tribal community leaders are collaboratively documenting and exploring the richness of the art and cultures behind ten truly spectacular North American rock art sites. The immersive digital experiences they create will be freely available via Google arts & Culture and the Ancient Art Archive website in time to coincide with the United States’ 250th anniversary in 2026.

Tips for Enjoying & Preserving Archaeological Sites

Learn more about what you can do to protect ancient and sacred places with Friends of Cedar Mesa's Visit with Respect initiative. 

World Monuments Fund’s work at Bears Ears is made possible, in part, by support from Butler Conservation and Manitou Fund.

This event is hosted in cooperation with the Ancient Art Archive. It is also hosted in partnership with the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIANY), and is pending AIA CES approval.