DENVER—Today, President Joe Biden designated nearly 1 million acres surrounding the Grand Canyon as Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument.
The monument will help protect the region surrounding the Grand Canyon from new uranium mining, a current and ongoing threat to Grand Canyon National Park, the Colorado River, and the Tribal communities that call the Grand Canyon region home.
The monument was proposed by a large group of Tribes called the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition, which includes members of the Havasupai, Hopi, and Hualapai Tribes, as well as the Kaibab Paiute Tribe, the Las Vegas Band of Paiute, the Moapa Band of Paiutes, the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, the Navajo Nation, the San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe, the Yavapai-Apache Nation, the Pueblo of Zuni, and the Colorado River Indian Tribes. Protecting the area from uranium mining will help safeguard underground aquifers and critical drinking water supplies for nearby communities and the entire Colorado River Basin.
The Center for Western Priorities released the following statement from Executive Director Jennifer Rokala:
“Today’s designation of Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument is a historic event. The Grand Canyon is one of the crown jewels of the West, and it is now better protected for future generations thanks to the historic advocacy of the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition.
“By designating the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument, President Biden has honored Tribes and safeguarded critical drinking water supplies for Tribal communities as well as the entire Colorado River Basin. The monument will also protect the natural, recreational, and scientific resources of the region.
“Today’s designation moves the country closer to the Biden administration’s goal of protecting 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030. I’m grateful to President Biden for his strong commitment to conservation and urge him to continue using his power under the Antiquities Act to protect imperiled ecosystems and other important natural areas.”
The Center for Western Priorities had the pleasure of speaking with two Havasupai Tribal members about Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument prior to today’s designation: Carletta Tilousi, a former tribal councilwoman who has helped lead the effort to establish the monument, and Stuart Chavez, a former tribal councilman who serves on the Havasupai Anti-Uranium Subcommittee. Listen to this special episode of CWP’s podcast to hear about their involvement in the fight for the monument and how it will help protect their homeland.
- Tribes propose new Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument [Grand Canyon Trust]
- Whiteboard video: It’s time to ban uranium mining around the Grand Canyon [Center for Western Priorities]
- Report: Uranium mining in the Grand Canyon region [Grand Canyon Trust]
Featured image: Marble Canyon by Jim Dublinski