Today, on April 11, House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Senator Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) joined local tribes and the rest of the members of the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition in a virtual press conference to call on President Biden to use the Antiquity Act to designate the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument. In response to the announcement, Maite Arce, president and CEO of Hispanic Access Foundation, released the following statement:
“We’re honored to support the Tribal Nations in their effort to protect their ancestral lands of the Grand Canyon and we applaud Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Senator Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) for their support of the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition in this effort. Protecting these lands that hold a spiritual connection for tribes would also protect its biological, scientific, and watershed significance for future generations.
“Latinos and other communities of color continue to face the Nature Gap, lacking the benefits that nearby nature brings. Because the Grand Canyon region is at the foundation of the Colorado River Basin, protecting the watershed would provide opportunities for recreation for its nearby communities like hiking, wildlife viewing, fishing and more.
“When it comes to historical landmarks, less than eight percent represent the stories of Native Americans, African Americans, American Latinos, Asian Americans, women and other underrepresented groups. At least 11 tribes maintain cultural connections to the Grand Canyon and more than 3,000 native archaeological sites have been documented in the region. Designating the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument would make sure we are moving towards placing an importance in community-led efforts and celebrating the diverse cultures and contributions of all American.”
Recently, President Biden designated the Castner Range National Monument and Avi Kwa Ame National Monument. Adding the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument would continue his progress towards protecting more historically significant sites.