Federal agencies hear from tribal leaders and residents about proposed national monument at Grand Canyon
On Tuesday federal officials hosted a public meeting in Flagstaff over a proposed national monument near the Grand Canyon. Supporters for years have advocated for added protections on more than a million acres of public land.
Tribal members, conservationists, elected leaders and others voiced their support of the proposed Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument. The tribally driven effort would make a moratorium on new uranium mining claims in the area permanent and protect sacred sites and water resources. Leaders from nearly a dozen local tribes spoke in favor of the plan.
“It’s a coalition that sees the real need to protect this area from a holistic, spiritual standpoint. This is coming from our elders and those that came before them,” Hopi Chairman Timothy Nuvangyaoma told KNAU.
Supporters want President Joe Biden to make the monument declaration through the Antiquities Act.
But several northern Arizona ranchers worry more federal protection of the area could disrupt the livelihoods of those who’ve worked the land for generations.
Representatives from the uranium industry also oppose the monument proposal along with some Mohave County elected officials.
Bureau of Land Management Director Tracy Stone-Manning and other federal agency leaders listened to the nearly four hours of comments.
In May, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland visited the Grand Canyon area to meet with tribal leaders and others about the monument proposal.
Also on Tuesday legislation was introduced in the U.S. House and Senate by members of Arizona’s congressional delegation to designate the proposed Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument.