Tribes fight to defend national monument near Grand Canyon

May 7, 2024

The Hopi, Havasupai, and Navajo Nation are fighting a lawsuit filed by Arizona lawmakers against the Biden administration. The lawsuit argues that the recently-designated Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni — Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument negatively impacts the state’s ability to generate revenue and should not exist.

“The tribes fought very hard for the establishment of the monument and are here to defend it,” Mathew Campbell, legal counsel for the Havasupai Tribe and the Hopi Tribe, told Grist.

At the heart of the lawsuit is the Antiquities Actwhich gives U.S. presidents the ability to designate national monuments. Arizona’s lawsuit aims to undo this power, leaving the creation of national monuments to Congress. Campbell said it will likely take months before the Tribes’ intervention is ruled on by the court and years before the lawsuit is settled.

A similar lawsuit filed by lawmakers in Utah over the designation of Bears Ears National Monument failed in court last year. It is now in appeal. The Antiquities Act has been challenged in court many times and has always emerged stronger.

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Picture This

buffalo surrounding car on road


Rush hour traffic can look a little different in Yellowstone, so “Enjoy the ride.”

Drive defensively and cautiously. The park has hazards on the road you aren’t used to at home (like 2,000-lb. bison). Follow speed limits and stay with your car if you’re stuck in a wildlife jam. When you want to take a photo or look around, use pullouts to avoid blocking traffic and damaging vegetation. #YellowstonePledge


Feature image: Tribal leaders and allies at the designation of Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument. Source: BLM, Flickr