WASHINGTON, D.C. — Creation of the nearly 1-million-acre Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument will safeguard Indigenous communities, wildlife populations, and water supplies from harmful uranium mining. The National Wildlife Federation applauded the Biden Administration for listening to and working with the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition to enact these long-overdue protections – and to uphold its commitments to free, prior, and informed consent and other legal obligation to the Tribes. The Tribal Coalition, which has shown tremendous knowledge and leadership in advocating for these reforms, includes representatives of the Havasupai Tribe, Hopi 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.
“Generations of Indigenous Peoples and other residents of Arizona carry with them the mistakes of dangerous uranium mining. The creation of the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument cannot make them whole, but it will help spare future generations of people and wildlife from irreparable harm,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “We will continue to work with the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition and Biden Administration to steward this landscape and ensure it is managed for the benefit of people and wildlife alike.”
“We applaud President Biden for listening to the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition and the overwhelming support of the community to protect the Grand Canyon watershed from uranium mining,” said Camilla Simon, executive director of Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting, and the Outdoors (HECHO). “With unparalleled cultural, historical, ecological, recreational, and economic value, this designation honors the ancestral homelands of the original stewards, the Tribes; ensures that generations to come can enjoy all the recreational activities this unique landscape offers; and safeguards vital water supplies for wildlife and people in the region.”
“The Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument will protect water that is vital to the existence of wildlife, Indigenous communities, and 40 million other users downstream. The new protections will also safeguard important recreation areas so that future generations can to continue to hunt, fish, hike, and raft on the lands and waters that surround this great natural wonder,” said Scott Garlid, executive director of the Arizona Wildlife Federation. “We are grateful to the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition, the Biden Administration, and Arizona’s Congressional delegation for working tirelessly to create a balanced and reasonable designation that assures the Grand Canyon watershed will be both protected and actively enjoyed.”
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