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Hold Our Ground

Hold Our Ground

The Upper Missouri River Breaks is safe for now because 24,000 Montanans stood up for our national monuments during a recent federal review.

But Senator Steve Daines and Congressman Greg Gianforte are supporting legislation that would cripple our ability to designate any more monuments.

Photo by Entropy Images

Take Action

Signed by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, the Antiquities Act is a cornerstone of America’s conservation legacy and a vital tool for preserving our heritage and culture. It gives U.S. presidents the authority to designate national monuments — that is, to set aside and safeguard public lands with outstanding natural, cultural, historical, and scientific value to the people of this country.

Over the past 110 years, 16 presidents — eight Democrats and eight Republicans — have used the Antiquities Act to designate 157 national monuments, including Montana's Upper Missouri River Breaks and Pompeys Pillar.

But Sen. Steve Daines and Rep. Greg Gianforte are supporting legislation that would cripple the Antiquities Act.

Sen. Daines is co-sponsoring a bill, deceptively called the “Improved National Monument Designation Process Act” (S. 33), that wraps the Antiquities Act in so much bureaucratic red tape that it would cease to function as President Roosevelt intended.

Rep. Gianforte has already voted for a bill, called the “National Monument Creation and Protection Act” (H.R. 3990), that would allow the current and future presidents to shrink existing national monuments.

Both bills would prevent future presidents from creating additional national monuments — from being able to act on groundswells of support for permanently protecting certain places that embody our cultural heritage. Had either bill been law in 2001, the Upper Missouri River Breaks would never have been protected as a national monument, and neither would dozens of other national monuments across the U.S.

Call Sen. Daines at 202-224-2651 and Rep. Gianforte at 202-225-3211 and tell them to withdraw their support of S. 33 and H.R. 3900 (respectively) and instead support the preservation of places that define who we are as a people.

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Photo by Tony Bynum

What's at Stake

Our history, our culture, and our heritage are under attack by special interests hell bent on gutting the Antiquities Act, the tool for creating national monuments and a central pillar of America's public lands legacy.

If S. 33 or any other bill aimed at crippling the Antiquities Act ever becomes law, we will lose our ability to permanently protect the places that embody our shared legacy as Montanans, and as Americans. It would also undermine Theodore Roosevelt’s conservation legacy and severely weaken our ability to preserve the shared cultural identity we’ve inherited.

Monument protection of the Upper Missouri River Breaks, for instance, ensures that future generations will enjoy the same opportunity we now have to experience some of the best big game hunting in the world; to view tipi rings, rock art, and other artifacts that go back thousands of years; and to camp and hike in the same riverside spots that Lewis and Clark did in 1805. Monument protection of Pompeys Pillar similarly enables future generations to physically connect with a moment that changed the course of Montana’s history.

But national monument protection of these places did not occur out of thin air. Thousands of Montanans wrote comments, attended meetings, and spoke up for protecting the Upper Missouri River Breaks, a place that means so much to our history, culture, and outdoor heritage. S. 33 would make it difficult, if not impossible, for any future president to act on this kind of groundswell.

Without a functioning Antiquities Act, we would lose our ability to protect places like the Breaks, like Pompeys Pillar, like the Little Bighorn Battlefield – places that tell us what it means to be a Montanan and an American.

Videos

 

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Our Shared Inheritance Educator and Crow tribal member Shane Doyle reflects on the cultural significance of the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
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History is about Place Lewis and Clark historian Larry Epstein looks back on how much the Missouri Breaks and its history have shaped his life
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A Huge Part of My Life Owner of Missouri River Outfitters, Nicole Fugere discusses what the Missouri Breaks Monument means for her livelihood

Videos by Eric Ian

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Our Ground

Certain places in Montana, especially our national monuments, tell us who we are, where we come from, and whom we might become — as Native Americans, as European Americans, as Montanans.

Montana is home to three national monuments — the Upper Missouri River Breaks, Pompeys Pillar, and the Little Bighorn Battlefield. Each of these places evokes a crucial part of Montana and America’s history, culture, and outdoor heritage. Seventy-seven percent of Montanans support existing national monuments, according to a 2017 Colorado College poll.

Defending our past for the sake of our future, Hold Our Ground is a community of Montanans standing up for the places that define us as a people.

Photo by Tony Bynum

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Larry Epstein

A descendent of Montana homesteaders and native of Cut Bank, Larry served as the Glacier County attorney and deputy attorney for 33 years and is former president of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation. In the 1960s his Boy Scout troop discovered the site of a skirmish between Meriwether Lewis and a group of Blackfeet and documented Lewis and Clark campsites in the Missouri River Breaks. He and his wife Callie live in Essex and Helena.

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Shane Doyle, EdD

A Crow tribal member, Shane grew up along the outskirts of the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument in Crow Agency, Montana. A 17-year teacher in public schools, he has served as an education consultant — for PBS, the History Channel, and the National Park Service, among others — on numerous projects involving Native American history and culture. He, his wife Megkian, and five children live in Bozeman.

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Nicolle Fugere

A Billings native and a former school teacher, Nicole is the owner of Missouri River Outfitters in Fort Benton, the longest-running river outfitter in the Missouri Breaks. She has been rafting and guiding on the Missouri through the monument for the last ten years.

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Hilary Hutcheson

A world-renowned fly fisherwoman, Hilary grew up in and around Glacier National Park. She is the host of Trout TV. She owns Lary’s Fly and Supply in Columbia Falls and has worked as a fly-fishing guide on the forks of the Flathead River since she was a teenager. She and her two daughters live in Columbia Falls.

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“More than just scenery, national monuments are also historic and often sacred places that tell the story of who we are and where we came from.”
Shane Doyle
Educator and Crow tribal member at Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
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Press

 

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Contact Us

If you’d like to get in touch with someone at Hold Our Ground, please email holdourground@gmail.com.

Photo by Entropy Images