President Trump dramatically downsized two national monuments in Utah Monday. Documents leaked last week indicate that Bears Ears National Monument may be cut by 85 percent and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monument may be shrunk by half.
The tribes are joined by conservation groups and clothing company Patagonia that plan to take the decision to court.
The legality of Trump's decision and of the ensuing lawsuits remains murky, as they center on the rarely used Antiquities Act signed into law by former President Teddy Roosevelt in 1906. But it's not clear whether this is something that Trump can even do: The courts have never ruled on whether the president actually has the power to shrink a national monument.
"It's an attack on all of our National Monuments, an attack on one in an attack on all, so we want to come out here and stand in solidarity of protection of our national treasures", Gabriel Otoro, organizer of the rally, said.
"Americans have overwhelmingly spoken out against the Trump Administration's unprecedented attempt to shut down our national monuments", Patagonia President and CEO Rose Marcario said in a statement, according to AdAge. The plans would break Bears Ears into two national monuments and Grand Staircase-Escalante into three separate monuments.
The Outdoor Industry Association said the move would hurt the economy and jobs, two of Trump's declared priorities. "And the Antiquities Act was never meant to prevent, it was meant to protect".
Both monuments span millions of acres in Utah and are among 27 national monuments that Trump ordered his Interior Secretary to review earlier this year.
But there's another tricky issue here.
These five tribes were part of the coalition that for years pushed for the Bears Ears region to become federally protected, as these tribes consider the land sacred ground. The Antiquities Act also expressly states that presidents should protect the important sites while using the smallest amount of land possible.
Earlier, Trump met with Mormon leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and toured Welfare Square, the Mormon social services complex during his first trip to Utah as president.
"It was more about control than it was about protection", says San Juan County Commission Chair Bruce Adams. He says these designations take everything off the table, like expanding cattle grazing or mining.
"These are federal lands, these are our lands, they're everyone's, they're not just one state's" lands", said Mary Hertert, protester. "He understands what rural communities are about".
"It's not surprising that the Trump administration moved to sell out our national monuments". If they press forward, more legal challenges are sure to follow.