"Today, we celebrate the designation of the Baaj Nwaavjo I'tah Kukveni - Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument with all who cherish this special place." - Theresa Pierno, NPCA's President and CEO
Washington, DC – After years of fighting for a permanent ban on new uranium mining near Grand Canyon National Park, those efforts have paid off today with the Biden administration’s designation of the Baaj Nwaavjo I'tah Kukveni - Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument in Arizona. The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) celebrates our country’s newest national monument alongside the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition, local communities, congressional champions and millions of park advocates who have long called for more protections for this landscape and the waters, wildlife and cultural resources it holds. This is a momentous victory to safeguard Indigenous lands and natural resources in the Grand Canyon watershed.
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 has been at risk for decades from threats such as toxic uranium mining, which put the Canyon’s creeks and waterways at risk. In 2012, NPCA helped secure a 20-year mineral withdrawal for the area which protected it from new mining claims. The Baaj Nwaavjo I'tah Kukveni - Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument will now build upon that effort and permanently 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 Theresa Pierno, President and CEO of National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA):
“We’ve said time again that uranium mining has no place near this national park landscape and its waters that millions of people rely on for survival. Many have fought to protect this place, and we are proud to have stood alongside them. We commend the Biden administration for listening to those voices and taking action to protect this watershed now and forever. Today, we celebrate the designation of the Baaj Nwaavjo I'tah Kukveni - Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument with all who cherish this special place.
“This place holds thousands of years’ of Indigenous history and culture. And thanks to the steadfast vision of the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition, today’s designation ensures that these lands and waters can remain healthy and sustainable for future generations and guarantees Tribal leadership in its management.
“The Grand Canyon is a place of wonder and a symbol of our country’s beauty and grandeur. But the history and importance of this national park landscape runs even deeper than what the eye can see. These lands and waterways have sustained life for centuries, and yet have remained under attack from toxic uranium mining. Today’s designation puts an end to this senseless risk once and for all, protecting the Grand Canyon watershed in perpetuity.”
About the National Parks Conservation Association: Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than 1.5 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit [www.npca.org]
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