For Immediate Release, April 11, 2023
Taylor McKinnon, (801) 300-2414, firstname.lastname@example.org
Statement Supporting Tribes’ Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument Proposal
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.— The Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition proposed today that President Biden designate 1.1 million acres of ancestral Tribal and federal public land around Grand Canyon National Park as the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument. Baaj Nwaavjo means “where tribes roam” to the Havasupai, and I’tah Kukveni means “our footprints” to the Hopi.
“The deep wisdom of the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition’s proposal is shown in the irreplaceable Grand Canyon ecosystems and cultural values this monument would protect,” said Taylor McKinnon, Southwest regional director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “I’m so grateful to the Havasupai, Hopi, Navajo and other Tribal leaders for their vision. And I join them in urging President Biden to realize that vision by designating the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument.”
The proposed monument’s iconic landscapes form the Grand Canyon’s watershed and harbor sacred and cultural sites that are significant to the Tribes. Its diverse ecology includes federally protected species like California condors and dozens of plants found only in the region.
The 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 those protections permanent.
Uranium mining around the Grand Canyon has damaged sacred sites and depleted and polluted aquifers that feed Grand Canyon’s springs and streams. The proposed monument would permanently ban new uranium mines. Uranium mining on claims with rights predating the 2012 mining ban, like the Pinyon Plains mine near Grand Canyon’s South Rim, still threaten the region’s aquifers, springs and cultural values.
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.
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.