They are known, in almost every local indigenous language, as “Bears Ears,” and when you look at photos, you can see why. The two buttes, ruddy and gentle-sloped, rise above the scrub and canyon land that surrounds them. Thousands of years ago, now-forgotten indigenous peoples scribbled pictograms of men and animals on their rusty walls. A century and a half ago, Navajo leaders took refuge in those same caves and canyons as the U.S. government forcibly evicted them from their territory. On Monday, their history gained another chapter. President Donald Trump has significantly shrunk the size of two national monuments in Utah, completing the largest rollback of public-land protections in U.S. history and opening a legal battle that could determine the fate of conservation in the United States. One of these monuments includes the land surrounding Bears Ears, which President Barack Obama protected in a poetic and immediately controversial declaration during the final days of his administration. Obama extended federal protection to 1.3 million acres of land, roughly the area of Delaware; Trump has shrunk that to 220,000 acres, roughly the size of Dallas. Grand Staircase–Escalante, another large monument created by President Bill Clinton in 1996, will be nearly halved in size. “Some people think that the natural resources of Utah should be controlled by a small handful of very distant bureaucrats located in Washington. And guess what? They’re wrong,” said Trump, speaking in front of the Utah state capitol building. Bears Ears was created after half a decade of lobbying by five indigenous tribes: the Hopi, the Navajo, the Ute, the Ute Mountain Tribe, and the Zuni. The nations had long sought special status for the land, which all five consider sacred. But when talks broke down with Utah lawmakers several years ago, they pressed Obama to protect the buttes through a national monument. The five tribes have promised to sue the Trump administration, asserting that the president does not have the right to shrink national monuments. Environmental groups, united in anger at the president’s actions, have also said they will sue to preserve Grand Staircase–Escalante at its