An Obama Environmental Legacy

Today’s actions will help protect this cultural legacy and will ensure that future generations are able to enjoy and appreciate these scenic and historic landscapes.  President Obama, 3 January 2017

Part of the Cherokee Nation

By Leslie Clague

leslie-clague-the-latestI start this story with some background.

I am 1/16th Cherokee Indian. I am proud of this bit of ancestry, especially since, a few years back, I discovered:

~ the Cherokee Nation is alive and doing very well in the state of Oklahoma

~ it has a newspaper, the Cherokee Phoenix, available on-line and now emailed to me on a regular basis.

The web site is Please go and have a look.

“Cherokee Phoenix”

cherokee-phoenixAlthough a different daily paper from Kapiti Independent News, it is driven by the same passion and commitment to quality journalism.

The stories within the paper share the work of the Nation, the Nation’s commitment to its citizens and also cover national U.S. news relevant to the Nation.

It is done in a style that is non-sensational, fact driven and neutral, including different points of view in a story.

And so I discovered a major contribution of President Barack Obama to the U.S.A.

What has Obama actually done?

Could make an earth-shattering decision for good

I shall side-track once again to note that I am a New Zealand citizen now and happier than ever with this citizenship since the U.S. has been “Trumped.”

However, I have also been one of those individuals wondering what, if anything, Obama has contributed to the U.S. since becoming President.

Mind you, because of the antiquity of U.S. democracy, Obama has been stymied. Without some control of the Legislature (i.e. the Congress), the House of Representatives being fully Republican and now the Senate becoming also, he has not been able to achieve much.

I was aware of Obamacare, but not much else.

The Cherokee Phoenix has enlightened me.

National monuments

Gold Butte (Photo credit: Phoenix Times)
Bears Ears (Photo credit: Phoenix Times)

In an article published on the 3rd of January as a “Staff Report,” it relates that two new national monument designations have been put, by presidential decree, on lands in Utah and Nevada:

The Bears Ears National Monument in Utah will cover 1.35 million acres in the Four Corners region …. In a victory for Native American tribes and conservationists, the designation protects land that is considered sacred and is home to an estimated 100,000 archaeological sites, including ancient cliff dwellings.”

“In Nevada, a 300,000-acre Gold Butte National Monument outside Las Vegas would protect a scenic and ecologically fragile area … It includes rock art, artifacts, rare fossils and recently discovered dinosaur tracks.”

A very positive legacy

Gold Bute
Gold Butte

Now here’s the amazing bit: “Obama’s creation and expansion of monuments over the course of his eight years in office covers more acreage than any other president.” (Italics are mine.)

The latest two monuments restrict oil and gas development, something Republican legislators are not happy about. Interestingly the article points out that the U.S. Antiquities Act that “allows a president to create monuments does not give a president authority to undo a designation, a rule the courts have upheld.”

It is acknowledged that Congress could take action. Let us hope that Trump will be so busy building walls, etc. that he won’t have time to focus on this important historical and environmental legacy by the outgoing President.

(To read the full Cherokee Phoenix article, go to: