Biden will announce a historic Grand Canyon monument designation during his Arizona visit

by Ryan Lee

During his visit to Arizona on Tuesday, President Joe Biden is set to make a formal declaration of a national monument for the broader Grand Canyon area, fulfilling a dream held for decades by Native American tribes and environmentalists to protect the land.

Biden’s announcement will reveal plans to designate around 1,562 square miles (4,046 square kilometers) just outside Grand Canyon National Park as a national monument. This news was confirmed by national climate adviser Ali Zaidi, and the designation will be the president’s fifth monument declaration.

The president has been urged by Arizona’s tribes to invoke the Antiquities Act of 1906 to establish the new national monument, called Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni, meaning “where tribes roam” in the language of the Havasupai people, and translating to “our footprints” for the Hopi tribe.

For years, tribes and environmental advocates have endeavored to shield the land north and south of Grand Canyon National Park, contrasting with Republican politicians and mining interests who emphasize economic gains and link mining to national security concerns.

The U.S. Interior Secretary, Deb Haaland, characterized the designation as heralding a “new era” of cooperation and guardianship with Native tribes. Haaland emphasized that this move will support indigenous people’s continued access to the area for religious, hunting, and gathering purposes and will safeguard historical and scientific interests.

Upon his Monday arrival at Grand Canyon National Park Airport, Biden was welcomed by Democratic representatives Raúl Grijalva and Ruben Gallego. Grijalva, who is on the House Natural Resources Committee, has repeatedly sought to establish the monument through legislation.

Biden’s speech location will be situated between Pinyon Plain Mine, an under-development site, and Red Butte, an area of cultural significance to the Havasupai and Hopi tribes. Tribal representatives from northern Arizona, including leaders of the Yavapai-Apache Nation, Colorado River Indian Tribes, Navajo, and Havasupai Tribal Council, are invited to the president’s address.

The designation does not affect existing mining claims but surrounds about 1.3% of the country’s identified uranium reserves. While mining companies and specific areas that could profit from mining oppose the proposal, others, including Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs, Sen. Mark Kelly, and independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, support it.

Opponents, such as Mohave County supervisor Buster Johnson, argue that the proposal is politically motivated and doesn’t address issues like drought or forest thinning. But proponents emphasize environmental and cultural protection.

No uranium mines are currently operational in Arizona, but the designation does not impact the potential opening of mines with established claims before 2012.

Following his Arizona visit, President Biden will travel to Albuquerque and Salt Lake City, discussing new job opportunities through fighting climate change and marking the anniversary of the PACT Act, which aids veterans exposed to toxic substances. He will also conduct reelection fundraisers in both cities.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about fokus keyword Grand Canyon

What is President Biden’s announcement regarding the Grand Canyon?

President Biden is set to announce a national monument designation for the greater Grand Canyon area during his Arizona visit. This will preserve about 1,562 square miles just outside the Grand Canyon National Park and marks his fifth monument designation.

What does the new national monument’s name, Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni, mean?

The name Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni means “where tribes roam” for the Havasupai people, and “our footprints” for the Hopi tribe. It symbolizes the connection and significance of the land to these Native American tribes.

Will existing mining claims be affected by this designation?

No, existing mining claims will not be affected by this designation. However, the monument site does encompass around 1.3% of the nation’s known and understood uranium reserves.

Who are some of the opponents and proponents of the monument designation?

Opponents include Republican politicians, mining companies, and some ranchers, who argue that it’s politically driven and won’t help with issues like drought. Proponents include Democratic leaders in Arizona, Native American tribes, and environmentalists who emphasize the cultural and environmental importance of the area.

What are the cultural significance and environmental implications of this designation?

The designation aims to protect land that holds cultural significance to Native American tribes, such as the Havasupai and Hopi, and to ensure their continued access for religious and traditional practices. It also seeks to protect the environment from potential effects of mining, especially uranium extraction.

What is President Biden’s agenda following the Arizona visit?

After Arizona, President Biden will visit Albuquerque, where he will discuss fighting climate change and job creation, and Salt Lake City to mark the first anniversary of the PACT Act, which provides benefits to veterans exposed to toxic substances. He will also hold reelection fundraisers in both cities.

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GaryM August 8, 2023 - 3:57 pm

Whats the point of not mining? we need those resources for the country dont see why a new monument helps us out??

Sarah1985 August 8, 2023 - 6:39 pm

so proud of this decision! the grand canyon is a treasure and preserving more land around it is a no brainer 🙂

SteveR August 8, 2023 - 7:02 pm

I live near the canyon and have mixed feelings… Good for nature but worried about my town’s economy. Let’s see how it plays out.

EconomyFirst August 9, 2023 - 12:40 am

Monument, schmonument. its all political play, what about the jobs and economy. Always the same with the Democrats.

CulturalHeritageFan August 9, 2023 - 1:51 am

Its about time that native american tribes’ voices are heard. This is a big win for them and for all of us who care about history and culture.

JohnDoe42 August 9, 2023 - 4:44 am

Can’t believe Biden’s doing this! Finally something good for the environment. Why we always gotta think of mining, what about the land?

NatureLvr August 9, 2023 - 10:14 am

wow, this is huge for the Native tribes. Hope it’s just the beginning, they’ve been fighting for it for decades…


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