Biden Designates National Monument Near Grand Canyon

President Joe Biden today will designate a new national monument north and south of Grand Canyon National Park to preserve Native American cultural sites and protect the region from uranium mining.

The Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni-Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument protects thousands of sites that are sacred to the Havasupai, Hopi, Hualapai, Paiute, Navajo, Yavapai-Apache, Zuni and Colorado River Indian Tribes. Its name comes from the Havasupai words baaj nwaavjo for “where Indigenous peoples roam,” and the Hopi words i’tah kukveny for “our ancestral footprints.”

“Native American history is American history,” U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said, and this monument will give tribal members a voice in managing lands where they and their ancestors have lived, farmed and prayed.

Biden will place management of the monument under a co-stewardship system among the tribes with connections to the canyon and region. A commission will be appointed to determine how co-stewardship will progress.

The monument will span 917,618 acres of federal forest and range lands, including the Marble Canyon area in the northeast, Kaibab National Forest lands south of Grand Canyon, and areas around the Kanab Creek drainage on the west side of the Kaibab Plateau.

The monument will be smaller than the 1.1 million-acre footprint proposed.

The designation will make permanent the moratorium on new uranium claims in much of the acreage where President Barack Obama imposed it in 2012. It will protect existing livestock grazing leases and hunting, fishing and recreational access.