“NPCA strongly supports the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition’s leadership and vision for Tribal nations’ homelands and the enduring landscape surrounding Grand Canyon National Park" -- Southwest Regional Director Ernie Atencio
WASHINGTON – Long-standing efforts to safeguard Indigenous lands and natural resources in the Grand Canyon watershed advanced today, with a Tribal and Congressional-led call for President Biden to designate the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument. Members of the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition joined alongside Representative Raúl M. Grijalva and Senator Kyrsten Sinema in leading the call for action, which would protect the tribal nations’ Grand Canyon homelands.
While lands within the boundary of Grand Canyon National Park are protected, the long-term health of the surrounding watershed, local communities and economies relies on a protected, connected landscape. The Grand Canyon watershed remains at risk from threats such as toxic uranium mining. The Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument would protect the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon’s rivers, springs, waterfalls, and creeks from future uranium mining pollution, while preserving cultural and archaeological areas and supporting increased recreational opportunities.
The Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition consists of leadership representatives of the Havasupai, Hopi, Hualapai, Kaibab Paiute, Las Vegas Band of Paiute, Moapa Band of Paiute, Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, Navajo Nation, San Juan Southern Paiute, Yavapai Apache, Zuni, and the Colorado River Indian Tribes. Baaj Nwaavjo means “where tribes roam” for the Havasupai Tribe and I’tah Kukveni means “our footprints” for the Hopi Tribe.
Statement by Ernie Atencio, Southwest Regional Director for the National Parks Conservation Association
“The National Parks Conservation Association strongly supports the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition’s leadership and vision for Tribal nations’ homelands and the enduring landscape surrounding Grand Canyon National Park. Designating the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument would ensure Tribal leadership in its management, create stronger linkages with other protected lands, and safeguard the Grand Canyon watershed in perpetuity.”
“Uranium mining has a toxic legacy of soil and water contamination, and the prospect of future mining has been a serious threat to the Grand Canyon watershed. A national monument designation would protect rivers and streams from uranium mining contamination, including the famous blue-green waters of Havasu Creek, the primary water source for the Havasupai Tribe.“
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