Washington, D.C. – During a virtual press conference held earlier today, House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Senator Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) joined members of the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition as they launched an effort to call on President Joe Biden to use his authorities under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to designate the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument. Baaj Nwaavjo means “where tribes roam” for the Havasupai Tribe and I’tah Kukveni means “our footprints” for the Hopi Tribe.
CLICK HERE to watch the full recording of the press conference.
CLICK HERE for a fact sheet on the designation effort.
CLICK HERE for a map of the proposed National Monument boundaries.
The proposed boundaries of the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument include 1,102,501 acres adjacent to Grand Canyon National Park. The National Monument designation would honor the tribes’ deep cultural ties to the Grand Canyon and protect the area by permanently banning uranium mining, while also enhancing the cultural, natural, recreational, and scientific resources of the region. The area is also an important watershed for the Colorado River, which provides water to 40 million Americans.
The Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition consists of leadership representatives of the Havasupai Tribe, Hopi Tribe, Hualapai Tribe, Kaibab Paiute Tribe, Las Vegas Band of Paiute Tribe, Moapa Band of Paiutes, Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, Navajo Nation, San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe, Yavapai-Apache Nation, Pueblo of Zuni, and the Colorado River Indian Tribes. These tribes maintain important historical, cultural, traditional religious, and spiritual connections to the landscape.
Designation of the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument has received widespread support from tribes, environmental groups, hunters and anglers, and others. CLICK HERE to read various statements of support.
QUOTES FROM TODAY’S PRESS CONFERENCE
Havasupai Tribe Vice Chair Edmond Tilousi: “We are proud to have never left the Grand Canyon. Our home is still in the Grand Canyon, and we are the only tribe that has remained here. We know this place intimately. The Canyon is a part of each and every Havasupai person. It is our home, it is our land, and our water source, and our very being. … Designating these areas as a National Monument will protect them from contamination, destruction, or exploitation and the other harmful effects of mining. We simply cannot live without these clean waters. As guardians of the Grand Canyon, we have a duty, not only to our ancestors like Captain Burro who tirelessly fought for protection of these scarce sites, but also a duty to our children and future generations.”
Hualapai Tribe Vice Chair Scott Crozier: “I, as a Hualapai tribal leader, stand strong against any mining on any tribal lands and ask that you support us in this fight to stop mining. We have heard that southwest tribes have originated from this Canyon. Many of us go back home into the Canyon to pay our respects to this land. We see many visitors come to this Canyon to see the vast canyons that display a wonderful color during the sunset. And again, I urge that President Biden use his executive authority to make this a monument for southwest tribes to call home.”
Hopi Tribe Chair Tim Nuvangyaoma: “The Creator gave us a gift. And that gift is in the form of the Grand Canyon. That gift is not only to the tribal nations that have that intimate connection with it, but it’s a gift to the state of Arizona. It’s a gift to the United States. It’s a gift to the entire world. So, we do have to protect the beauty and grandeur for this area that we call home—many tribes call home. And for the Hopi Tribe, the Grand Canyon holds significant cultural and religious value for the Hopi people, which is part of our history and heritage.”
Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians Chair Ona Segundo: “We need to preserve the beauty of [the Grand Canyon] and we need to remind ourselves that it’s not only for us here in the present, but for those that are coming behind us, that they too can enjoy this beautiful scenery, that they can learn from the land, from the culture, from our spiritual endeavors that we participate in. And so, I call upon on the President to designate this monument to help the tribes, to assist the tribes, so that we can preserve an important part of our culture and our history and our spiritual needs here on the Grand Canyon.”
Colorado River Indian Tribe Chair Amelia Flores: “We are all working to preserve our histories and our places in the landscape along the Colorado River—which is Colorado River Indian Tribe’s namesake—and using our language for the new National Monument at Avi Kwa Ame, and now to use the Havasupai and the Hopi language to rename this national monument, are very important to preserving our place along the Colorado River.”
San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe Councilmember Richard Grey Mountain: “We are in support of banning the uranium mining, as well as other aspects of the Grand Canyon [National Monument]. We’re actually sister tribes of the rest of the other tribes, what their origins and their stories are—we always are involved in them as well. So, I would just like to extend our support to the rest of the tribes, as well as Havasupai and Hualapai, and their efforts to ban uranium mining.”
Director of the Navajo Nation Heritage and Historic Preservation Department Richard Begay: “We also are in support of the ban on uranium mining within the Grand Canyon region. As everyone knows, the Navajo Nation is a close neighbor of the National Park and there are access roads that the mining companies will use to access and transport uranium and waste, probably through the Navajo Nation. We are very concerned about that, so we do support the ban on uranium mining in this area. And finally, we do want to thank the representatives here, and the Coalition. And we do ask that Biden use his powers under the Antiquities Act to establish this monument, and co-management is something we would like to see all tribes involved in.”
Flagstaff Mayor Becky Daggett: “I am here to voice Flagstaff’s support for this and to thank Congressman Grijalva and Senator Sinema. And I’m here not only to voice Flagstaff’s support, but mostly to voice our support and gratitude to all of the Indigenous nations that have worked so hard to bring this about and to make it happen—and to show our sincere support for you all and your work.”
Coconino County Supervisor Lena Fowler: “The Grand Canyon is one of the most visited parks in the United States. And it’s been a longstanding [stance] of the Coconino County Board of Supervisors to oppose the mining within the Grand Canyon and near the Grand Canyon within Coconino County. So, this is a great day. All the tribes are here and I really want to thank Senator Sinema and Congressman Grijalva and all those that have been working on this for many years. This has been ongoing, and this is a great effort and we are very excited to have the designation proposed for the Grand Canyon area national monument.”
Senator Sinema: “The Grand Canyon is one of Arizona’s many natural treasures and an important part of our history and heritage. That is why we worked side by side with Tribes and other partners to find agreement on the location and size of the monument to protect the Grand Canyon.”
Ranking Member Grijalva: “Since time immemorial, it is the Indigenous people—the tribes—who have served as the principal protectors, guardians, and stewards of the Grand Canyon, their real and spiritual home. Their history, their identity, their sacred beliefs are inseparable from the Canyon. I cannot adequately thank the tribal representatives and their people for the adversity they endured while providing our entire country this opportunity to balance our climate transition with justice. They deserve our gratitude and our respect. The national splendor and sustenance of the Grand Canyon deserves protection. The meaning and spirit of the Grand Canyon deserves protection. Our sacred heritage deserves protection.”