Biden’s new Grand Canyon monument champions conservation, preserving ancestral lands and promoting sustainable tourism in Arizona.
President Joe Biden announced the designation of a new national monument near the Grand Canyon during his remarks in Arizona, a critical battleground state in the 2020 election. Encompassing almost 1 million acres, the monument seeks to preserve lands of profound significance to Indigenous communities in the area.
The monument, named Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni — Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument, has been christened using indigenous languages. "Baaj nwaavjo" in the Havasupai language means "where Indigenous people roam," and "i’tah kukveni" in the Hopi language translates to "our ancestral footprints."
Addressing the importance of this move, Biden commented, "Preserving these lands is good not only for Arizona, but for the planet. It's good for the economy, it's good for the soul of the nation, and I believe with my core, to my core, it's the right thing to do." Additionally, Biden suggested that activities such as hiking, biking, and camping in the monument would also enhance the area's tourism sector.
Highlighting the historical relevance of the site, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland remarked, "Native American history is American history, and that’s what today is about."
While the new designation will restrict future mining activities in the vicinity of the Grand Canyon, existing valid mining claims will remain unaffected. On the topic of management, senior administration officials hinted at a co-stewardship approach with local tribes. According to NBC News, this co-stewardship could involve tribes affiliated with the monument's lands joining a commission to provide guidance.
In related developments, the White House disclosed plans for a $44 million investment aimed at bolstering climate resilience across national parks.
President Biden is set to proceed to New Mexico, focusing on his administration's economic strategies, particularly spotlighting the impact of the Inflation Reduction Act on clean energy manufacturing, as the anniversary of the Act's signing looms on Aug. 16.
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