Behind the Bears Ears: Exploring the Cultural and Natural Histories of a Sacred Landscape

Torrey House. Oct. 2020. 320p. ISBN 9781948814300. pap. $19.95. NAT HIST
Bears Ears National Monument, located in southeastern Utah, was established by President Barack Obama in December 2016; President Donald Trump reduced the size of the area by 85 percent in 2017. The ensuing controversy continues. Archaeologist and conservation advocate Burrillo describes the area’s physical geography and human cultural history as well as its meaning and value to those who have been shaped and impacted by the land. For Burrillo, this includes a heartfelt identification with the area’s healing power and force of place. Divided into 12 chapters, the book follows a time line from the Paleoindian Period to the present day, with extensive details on Pueblo Indians and their lasting influence. The author shows how over time the region was host to Indigenous peoples, colonizers, explorers, and scientists. Chapters are a primer on archaeology basics and are written in a spirited manner that readers of all academic levels can understand and appreciate. The author’s goal, successfully achieved, is to weave a narrative that will impart to readers the importance of the Bears Ears and the surrounding region.
VERDICT This splendidly crafted book will appeal to regional specialists and general readers.
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