By Alex Gonzalez, Public News Service
On Tuesday, President Joe Biden announced the designation of a new national monument near the Grand Canyon.
The latest move will conserve and protect nearly one million acres of greater Grand Canyon landscape which holds sacred value to at least 12 native tribes and nations. The Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition, made up of tribal members and environmental groups, was responsible for the monument proposal and had called on the President to use his authority under the Antiquities Act to protect the area’s wildlife, geology, water and cultural sites from mining activity.
Biden also took the opportunity to tout his administration’s conservation and climate resilience policies.
“Help write the wrongs of the past and conserve this land of ancestral footprints for all future generations,” the President said. “Over the years, hundreds of millions of people have traveled the Grand Canyon awed by its majesty, but fewer are aware of its full history.”
The designation marks the fifth new national monument established by President Biden and a recent poll shows 75% of Arizona voters support the creation of a Grand Canyon National Monument. It comes just months after the announcement of Avi Kwa Ame National Monument in Nevada.
Maya Tilousi Little, a member of the Hualapai and Havasupai tribes and a senior at Cactus Shadows High School in Cave Creek, introduced President Biden. Tilousi Little is the daughter of former Havasupai councilwoman Carletta Tilousi, who has worked to protect the area from uranium mining.
Tilousi Little said Tuesday’s announcement is about ensuring environmental justice for all people.
“I am here representing the next generation that has the responsibility to continue this vital work,” Tilousi Little explained. “This is our home and we are committed to its protection.”
In addition to the President’s visit to Arizona, the Biden-Harris administration also announced $44 million to strengthen climate resilience in the National Park system.
This article originally appeared in Public News Service and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.