The "House on Fire" ruin at Bears Ears National Monument in the Four Corners region in Utah, May 17, 2017.
Bob Strong / Reuters

On August 17, five days after neo-Nazis and white nationalists gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia to protest the city’s decision to remove a bronze statue of the Confederate general Robert E. Lee, President Donald Trump, already under fire for refusing to fully condemn the hate groups, tweeted, “Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments.” He added, “… the beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!” And yet four months earlier, Trump had issued an executive order seeking to roll back protections for roughly two dozen national monuments that Native Americans, historians, and conservationists alike consider of great historical and scientific value.

Since 1906, when Theodore Roosevelt signed into law the Antiquities Act, U.S. presidents have had the authority to protect “

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