Washington, D.C. – Today, House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) issued statements heralding continued progress on the tribal-led effort to ensure permanent protection of more than 1 million acres of public lands by designating the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument.
This past April, the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition—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—relaunched a decades-long effort to call on President Biden 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 ancestral footprints” for the Hopi Tribe.
In an important step toward this effort, officials from the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service hosted a community meeting in Flagstaff, Arizona, yesterday to hear more about public lands management needs in the area, including the tribes’ proposal. U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland previously met with the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition this past May at Grand Canyon National Park to hear more about their efforts.
Last week, Ranking Member Grijalva and Rep. Gallego also introduced legislation to provide a framework for the proposed Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument. The legislation, along with the Senate companion bill, outlines how the national monument designation will protect the region’s many cultural, natural, recreational, and scientific resources while still ensuring existing uses like hunting and grazing. The legislation also establishes a tribal commission with one representative from each of the 12 tribes in the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition to ensure lasting opportunities for tribal co-stewardship throughout the landscape.
“The tribes have protected and stewarded the Grand Canyon area, their ancestral homelands, since time immemorial. Their deep ties to and knowledge of the region deserve our respect and reverence,” said Ranking Member Grijalva. “Our legislation is a testament to their perseverance and a sign of our continued support for protecting this global treasure for generations to come. I also want to extend my sincere gratitude to Secretary Haaland and the Biden administration for their commitment to listening to the tribes’ proposal, and I encourage them to continue engaging the tribes and local community moving forward.”
“There may be no greater symbol of Arizona’s rich natural landscape than the Grand Canyon,” said Rep. Gallego. “It is a national treasure that has amazed visitors from around the world and served as a home for tribes for centuries. That’s why it is essential we protect the Grand Canyon. And just as the Administration did when it followed my leadership to protect Bears Ears, I look forward to them engaging Arizona’s communities to make this national monument a possibility.”
Timeline of Past Legislative and Executive Actions to Protect the Grand Canyon CLICK HERE for the pdf version