Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, July 18, 2023


Taylor McKinnon, (801) 300-2414,

Center for Biological Diversity Rallies for Tribes’ Grand Canyon National Monument Proposal

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.— Center for Biological Diversity members are traveling from across Arizona today to support the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition’s proposed Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument at a federal listening session in Flagstaff. Baaj Nwaavjo means “where tribes roam” for the Havasupai Tribe, and I’tah Kukveni means “our ancestral footprints” for the Hopi Tribe.

“We applaud the Biden administration for coming to Arizona to hear directly from the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition and the many supporters of this historic proposal,” said Taylor McKinnon, Southwest director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument will safeguard Tribes’ long-held cultural landscapes, sacred sites, and the spectacular rimlands flanking the Grand Canyon. It will protect the region’s precious aquifers, life-giving springs and endangered species from uranium mining’s deadly pollution. President Biden should honor the wisdom of Arizona’s Tribal nations and designate this monument immediately.”

The 1.1 million-acre proposed monument enjoys widespread support from the public, regional businesses, governments and elected officials. It encompasses the ancestral homelands of several regional tribes and builds on efforts since 2008 to permanently protect Grand Canyon’s adjoining landscapes from new uranium mining.

The listening session, hosted by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, will solicit feedback on the monument proposal from Tribal leaders and the public. Polling in Arizona shows strong support for permanently protecting the proposed monument area.

“On behalf of the Center’s more than 1 million members and supporters, huge thanks to the Havasupai, Hopi, Navajo and other Tribal leaders for their vision in creating this historic proposal,” said McKinnon. “We join them in urging President Biden to realize that vision and establish his legacy as an environmental and Tribal ally in Arizona by designating the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument.”

The monument’s iconic rimlands form the Grand Canyon’s watershed. It harbors sacred sites like Red Butte, and its diverse ecology includes federally protected species like California condors and dozens of plants found only in the region. Its boundary is similar to the 2012 Northern Arizona withdrawal that banned new uranium mines around Grand Canyon for 20 years. Federal legislation, introduced but never passed, would have made the mining ban permanent.

Uranium mining around the Grand Canyon has damaged sacred sites and depleted and polluted aquifers that feed the iconic canyon’s springs and streams. The proposed monument would permanently ban new mines. Uranium mining on claims predating the 2012 withdrawal, like the Pinyon Plains mine near Grand Canyon’s south rim, would be exempt and still threaten the region’s aquifers, springs and cultural heritage.

The Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition is comprised of the Havasupai Tribe, Hopi Tribe, Hualapai Tribe, Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians, Las Vegas Band of Paiute Indians, Moapa Band of Paiute Indians, Navajo Nation, Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe, Pueblo of Zuni, and Yavapai-Apache Nation.

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Supporters with Chispa Arizona and other groups rally outside Tuesday’s federal listening session in Flagstaff for creation of the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument. Photo credit: Laiken Jordahl, Center for Biological Diversity. Image is available for media use.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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