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Navajo on Bears Ears Panel Discussion

October 11, 2017 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

7:00-9:00 p.m., S.J. Quinney College of Law Moot Courtroom
The proclamation of Bears Ears National Monument in December 2016 emerged largely through the advocacy of a coalition of Native peoples that included the Navajo Nation.

The designation has incited heated debates in Utah and across the United States. Join us for a screening of the short film Shash Jaa’: Bears Ears, followed by a panel discussion with four Diné (Navajo) scholars who have contributed to the dialogue on the Bears Ears National Monument. Focusing primarily on Diné perspectives, the panelists will address diverse narratives of the Bears Ears and trace how the development of this contested designation has affected Diné communities.

2 hours of CLE. No registration required. Free and open to the public. Watch this event on the S.J. Quinney College of Law YouTube Channel »


Angelo Baca, New York University
Angelo Baca (Navajo and Hopi) creates educational films, in both fiction and non-fiction. A graduate of the Native Voices Program at the University of Washington, he has directed numerous documentaries and collaborative works. His most recent documentary short, Shash Jaa’: Bears Ears, screened at the 2016 Margaret Mead Film Festival in New York City and at the 2016 Society for Visual Anthropology Film Festival. He has been a visiting lecturer in Ethnic Studies at Brown University, where he taught Native American Literature and Media. Angelo is currently completing a Ph.D. in Sociocultural Anthropology at New York University and was awarded a Cultural Resources fellowship with Utah Diné Bikéyah, a non-profit organization dedicated to the defense and protection of culturally significant ancestral lands. His research interests include indigenous international repatriation, indigenous food sovereignty, Native American health and wellness, indigenous cinema and Native youth development. ​

Katherine Belzowski, Department of Justice, Navajo Nation
Katherine Belzowski is a Senior Attorney with the Litigation & Employment Unit at the Navajo Nation Department of Justice. She works representing the Nation in a variety of civil litigation matters, including in Indian Child Welfare cases, jurisdictional disputes, employment disputes, and voting rights. She has appeared in tribal, state, and federal court on behalf of the Nation. Prior to joining NNDOJ she worked for Nevada Legal Services representing tribal members in criminal and civil matters. She is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School and received her L.L.M. in Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy from the University of Arizona.

Micah Daniels, Dartmouth College
Micah Asdzaa To’aheedliinii Daniels is from the Navajo Nation, thirty miles south of Blanding, Utah. She and her family have been actively engaged with the debates regarding Bears Ears, centered in San Juan County, Utah. Micah is a senior majoring in Native American Studies and minoring in Education at Dartmouth College. She is currently the Pre-Orientation Coordinator for the First-Year Student Enrichment Program, where she facilitates and fosters relationships to assist first-generation college students in their transition to college.  In Spring of 2017, Micah co-coordinated the Indigenous Women’s Conference that hosted Winona LaDuke, Ellen Gabriel, Jennifer Denetdale, and Mililani Trask. She participated in the Matariki Student Mobility Program in both New Zealand and Australia, where she contributed to international discourses of Indigenous Human Rights. Micah was awarded by the Native American Council for her voluntary outreach, leadership, and innumerable contributions to the Native American Community at Dartmouth. She also plans to apply for Master’s programs in Education so that she may return home as a teacher.

Nizhone Meza, Utah Diné Bikéyah
Nizhone Meza is an attorney at Utah Diné Bikéyah serving as its Legal and Policy Director. She earned her J.D. from the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University, a degree aimed at serving and advocating for Tribes and members of tribal communities. Her legal experience and interests include issues in Federal Indian Law, Family Law and General Counsel matters. She also earned a Masters of Social Work and bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University. In addition to her legal experience, she has worked as an educator and as a practitioner and counselor for a social services agency.

James Singer, Utah State University
James Singer is one of the co-founders of the Utah League of Native American Voters. He is a sociology doctoral candidate at Utah State University. He teaches sociology courses at Salt Lake Community College and Westminster College and about social change in the Master of Arts in Community Leadership program, also at Westminster. He is involved in activism and politics in his community. He also dedicates his time to Utahns for Fair Wages, advocating for living wage and equal pay policies locally. He has recently joined the board of the Rape Recovery Center.

Moderator: Farina King, Northeastern State University
Farina King is Bilagáanaa (Euro­American), born for Kinyaa’áanii (the Towering House Clan) of the Diné. Her maternal grandfather was Euro­American, and her paternal grandfather was Tsinaajinii (Black­streaked Woods People Clan) of the Diné. She is a Native American historian and Assistant Professor of History at Northeastern State University, Tahlequah, Oklahoma. She received her Ph.D. in U.S. History from Arizona State University. Her teaching and research focus on historical educational experiences of Indigenous peoples in the United States, which interconnect understandings and epistemologies of Indigenous communities and homelands. To learn more about her work and background, visit her website at farinaking.com.

For questions about this event contact Kris (801) 585-3440.


This event is sponsored by the  University of Utah American West Center, the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law Wallace Stegner Center, the J. Willard Marriott Library, and the Utah State Historical Society.

Free parking is available at the Rice-Eccles Stadium. We encourage you to use public transportation to our events. Take TRAX University line to the Stadium stop and walk a half block north. For other public transit options use UTA’s Trip Planner. The law school is on the Red Route for the University’s free campus shuttles (College of Law stop).


October 11, 2017
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
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College of Law
801-585-3440 | 801-585-3479


S. J. Quinney College of Law
383 South University St
Salt Lake City, UT 84112 United States
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