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Tribal leaders push for creation of Grand Canyon National Monument

The monument would include over 1 million acres adjacent to the Grand Canyon National Park, protecting critical resources in the area and honoring tribal ties.

PHOENIX — A new push from the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition could nearly double the protected land surrounding the Grand Canyon. 

Tribal leaders from the Havasupai Tribe, Hopi Tribe, Hualapai Tribe, and more are joining with Rep. Raúl Grijalva and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema to call on President Biden to create the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument.

The proposed monument would include 1,102,501 acres of land adjacent to the Grand Canyon National Park, and advocates say that it would honor the tribes' deep cultural ties to the region and enhance the area's cultural, natural, and scientific resources.

Multiple Native American tribes call the Grand Canyon region their home, and still maintain significant and sacred ties to the area. The coalition said their proposal would secure those ancestral homelands for the tribes that claim them.

RELATED: 'It is evidence that the Hopi clans traveled through there': New documentary explores real history of the Grand Canyon

Designating the area as a national monument would make a 20-year mining moratorium in the area permanent, which advocates say would halt a "toxic legacy" of health, safety, and environmental damage to local communities in the area.

The area is a hot spot for uranium deposits in the sedimentary stone that makes up the terrain. But the proposal would make the region off-limits for mining.

RELATED: 'For me, it's a matter of time:' Navajo Nation residents share dangers, consequences of uranium mines in the area

A GQR survey found that roughly two-thirds of Arizonans support a mining ban in the Grand Canyon region. The poll found that voters placed large emphasis on "protecting access to clean water and Arizona's public lands."

Proponents of the monument say that it would accomplish both.

The monument would include the Kaibab National Forest to the south of the canyon, as well as an area to the northwest along the Mohave/Coconino county line, and to the northeast adjacent to the Kaibab National Forest. According to the Grand Canyon Tribal coalition, that area would protect the migratory corridor of hundreds of species of birds and mammals, including the endangered California condor.

“The deep wisdom of the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition’s proposal is shown in the irreplaceable Grand Canyon ecosystems and cultural values this monument would protect,” said Taylor McKinnon,Southwest regional director at the Center for Biological Diversity

“I’m so grateful to the Havasupai, Hopi, Navajo and other Tribal leaders for their vision. And I join them in urging President Biden to realize that vision by designating the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument.”

You can see the full proposed area highlighted in red below:

The Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition is comprised of the Havasupai Tribe, Hopi Tribe, Hualapai Tribe, Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians, Las Vegas Band of Paiute Indians, Moapa Band of Paiute Indians, Navajo Nation, Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe, Pueblo of Zuni, and Yavapai-Apache Nation.

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