Interior Secretary Haaland Upholds Commitment to Visit Proposed Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument, Meets with Tribal Leaders
GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz. – Today, House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and staff from Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s (I-Ariz.) office joined U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on a visit to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and the area that the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition has proposed for designation as the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument. Secretary Haaland accepted Ranking Member Grijalva’s invitation to visit the proposed national monument at a Committee hearing last month.
During the visit, Ranking Member Grijalva and Secretary Haaland met with members of the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition, other partners and stakeholders, and officials with the National Park Service, Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management to discuss the national monument proposal and its importance. Additional opportunities for public input on the proposal are forthcoming.
“It has been an honor and privilege to meet with Secretary Haaland at the Grand Canyon for a very historic meeting with tribal leaders,” said Carletta Tilousi of the Havasupai Tribe and Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition Coordinator. “The Secretary is listening and engaging with tribal leaders and will take our message to President Biden. We feel it is time to designate the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument to protect the waters and the canyons for our future generations.”
“The Grand Canyon deserves our protection. Based on the productive conversations we’ve had with Secretary Haaland, tribal leaders, and officials of the National Park Service, Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management, I’m encouraged that we can make the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument a reality,” said Ranking Member Grijalva. “This effort is not just about making history; it’s about honoring and respecting the Indigenous peoples who have called the Canyon home since time immemorial. I am proud to stand with the tribes and the vast coalition of allies across Arizona, the country, and the globe who want to protect the sacred heritage of these lands for good. I look forward to future opportunities to hear directly from the American people about this historic proposal.”
On April 11, 2023, members of 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—joined by Ranking Member Grijalva and Senator Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), launched an effort to call on President Joe Biden to use his authorities under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to designate the monument.
WATCH Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition’s April 11 press conference to call on President Biden to designate the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument.
The proposed Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument would include 1,102,501 acres adjacent to Grand Canyon National Park. Baaj Nwaavjo means “where tribes roam” for the Havasupai Tribe and I’tah Kukveni means “our footprints” for the Hopi Tribe. The area is also an important watershed for the Colorado River, which provides water to 40 million Americans.
The national monument designation would honor the tribes’ deep cultural ties to the Grand Canyon and protect the area by making the temporary 20-year mining moratorium permanent, while also enhancing the cultural, natural, recreational, and scientific resources of the region.
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