As part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic climate and conservation agenda, this week President Biden signed a proclamation establishing the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument in Arizona.

This designation, which marks the fifth new national monument established by President Biden, honors Tribal Nations and Indigenous peoples by protecting sacred ancestral places and their historically and scientifically important features, while conserving our public lands, protecting wildlife habitat and clean water, and supporting local economies.

The Las Vegas Sun editorial board called the designation “a major victory for Native American tribes, outdoor enthusiasts and environmentalists who have spent decades fighting to protect land and waterways that are considered culturally significant and essential to life in the desert Southwest from destruction and pollution caused by mining and development.”

“President Joe Biden delivered big this week, not just for Americans, but for America — the people, the places, the resources and the environment.”

Leaders from across the country praised the announcement. Here’s what they’re saying:

Tribal Leaders

Amelia Flores, Chairwoman, Colorado River Indian Tribes: “… We thank President Biden and his administration for taking this vital step forward to protect the health of the Colorado River, the surrounding lands, and the irreplaceable cultural resources. This designation honors the tribal connections to the surrounding lands and the value of tribal stewardship in protecting the waters that flow through the Grand Canyon down to our reservation.” [Statement, 8/8/23]

Thomas Siyuja Sr., Chairman, Havasupai Tribe: “The Havasupai Tribe celebrates this historic moment in time, but we also pause for a moment to honor our tribal ancestors who started this journey long ago…Biden’s action today will solidify our Tribe’s existence on, under, and over this land forever. Although there is still more work to do, we will sleep easier tonight knowing that our water, sacred sites, and plant medicines are more protected, and that our ancestors’ tears are finally tears of happiness.” [Statement, 8/8/23]

The Hopi Tribe: “Life continues here at Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni. Hopi would like to recognize all those in support of protecting itah tutskwa (ancestral land) and preserving sacred places. Hisat Sinom (ancestors) have left us connected to songs, dances, and ceremonies since time immemorial. As stewards of the land we will continue to safeguard the future for generations to come.” [Statement, 8/8/23]

Buu Nygren, President, Navajo Nation:
“The Grand Canyon is too important to not protect…. We are thankful to President Biden and the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition for their efforts in pushing this initiative to protect our people from the adverse effects of uranium mining.” [Statement, 8/8/23]

Corrina Bow, Chairwoman, Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah: “Thank you, President Biden for listening to the voices of our indigenous people and finally protecting our ancestral homeland. Thanks to everyone who worked diligently to bring this to light. Our land will now be preserved, and our sacred areas and sites protected. Ai Yuk, Thank you.” [Statement, 8/8/23]

Johnny Lehi Jr., President, San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe: “The San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe is honored and grateful that President Biden has chosen to listen to tribes and designate our homelands as a national monument. We have been here for centuries, and are pleased to now have these sacred sites and waters protected today and into the future.” [Statement, 8/8/23]

Hope Silvas, Chairwoman, Shivwits Band of Paiutes: “Ai’uck (Thank You) President Biden, Secretary Haaland and Secretary Vilsack… for hearing our voices on the importance of protecting and preserving our ancestral homelands and for supporting our tribal efforts to designate the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni as a National Monument.” [Statement, 8/8/23]

Deryn Pete, Chairwoman, Las Vegas Paiute Tribe: “The Las Vegas Paiute Tribe is very pleased to witness the ongoing efforts to protect sacred ancestral Tribal homelands. We celebrate, with all of Indian Country, this significant development in recognition of the importance of Native history.” [Statement, 8/8/23]

Greg Anderson, Chairman, Moapa Band of Paiutes: “This is a great day today witnessing our Tribal Nations coming together in the protection and unity of our voices, speaking on behalf of our traditional ancestral homelands of the Grand Canyon; our Holy Lands.” [Statement, 8/8/23]

The Pueblo of Zuni: “The Grand Canyon is the place of emergence of the A:shiwi (Zuni People)…. Through the designation of the Grand Canyon as a national monument, we continue in our ancestors’ footsteps of stewardship responsibilities of this important area, from protecting the lowliest of insects to the humans that rely on the life-giving waters.” [Statement, 8/8/23]

Tanya Lewis, Chairwoman, Yavapai-Apache Nation: “The Yavapai-Apache Nation joins with the Tribes represented by the Grand Canyon Tribal Leaders Coalition, and with all Arizona Tribes, in calling on the Administration to protect the spiritual, cultural, and historical connection of the Tribes to the lands of the proposed Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument.” [Statement, 8/8/23]

Fawn Sharp, President of the National Congress of American Indians: “President Biden’s designation of the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument – is a profound recognition of the historical and contemporary significance of these lands. This monumental decision honors our integral role in the conservation process, amplifies Native voices, and protects these sacred homelands for generations yet to experience them.” [Statement, 8/10/23]

Elected Officials

Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs: “I was proud to join tribal leaders as we celebrated the designation of the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon national monument. The designation will preserve water supplies, support our economy, and preserve a cultural and natural treasure.” [Tweet, 8/8/23]

Arizona Representative and House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Raúl Grijalva: “…I also want to thank President Biden, Secretary Haaland, Secretary Vilsack, and CEQ Chair Mallory for their support and commitment to listening to tribes and preserving our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural treasures for good. The Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument would not be possible without their vision and leadership.” [Statement, 8/8/23]

Arizona Senator Krysten Sinema: “Today’s designation is the product of hard work and relentless determination of thousands of Arizonans from diverse backgrounds and interests, including Arizona tribal communities, local leaders, conservationists, sportsmen, and many more — all with a shared passion for protecting Arizona’s air, land, and water for future generations. ” [Statement, 8/08/23]

Arizona Senator Mark Kelly: “President Biden’s designation of this new national monument is a welcome decision that will protect cultural sites as well as the communities and recreation jobs that depend on this land. It’s also the result of years of advocacy by Arizona community and tribal leaders who I was proud to support by leading this effort alongside Senator Sinema in the United States Senate.” [Statement, 8/8/23]

Arizona Representative Greg Stanton: “Great to join @POTUS and tribal leaders today to establish 1 million acres of land as a national monument. @RepRaulGrijalva has fought to protect sacred land around the #GrandCanyon from mining since 2008—I’ve been proud to join him in this effort. Our national parks are the crown jewels of our country. We’ll be using nearly $44 million from the Inflation Reduction Act to restore ecosystems, conserve water, protect trees & animals, & help keep these parks special places for future generations.” [Tweet, 8/8/23]

Arizona Representative Ruben Gallego: “The Grand Canyon is one of the natural wonders of the world and the ancestral home of numerous tribes…I applaud the Biden Administration for following the leadership of tribes and Members of Congress by designating the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument.” [Statement, 8/8/23]

Massachusetts Representative and Democratic Whip Katherine Clark: “This is a huge win- for Arizona’s indigenous peoples, for our public lands, and for our planet.” [Tweet, 8/8/23]

Minnesota Representative Betty McCollum: “The designation of the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni National Monument is a victory for clean water, tribal rights, and the preservation of our natural treasures! I joined Rep. Grijalva & colleagues on a letter asking @POTUS to #KeepItGrand.” [Tweet, 8/8/23]

Michigan Representative Debbie Dingell: “This is great news for the future of conservation and climate resiliency. Thankful @POTUS is continuing to take steps to ensure our country’s beautiful outdoors are protected for generations to come.” [Tweet, 8/8/23]

Missouri Representative Emanuel Cleaver: “The @GrandCanyonNPS is one of our planet’s most cherished landscapes. Today, @POTUS is protecting nearly a million more acres of pristine land and tribal & cultural heritage around the Grand Canyon, ensuring future generations can enjoy it as we have. #KeepItGrand” [Tweet, 8/8/23]

New Mexico Representative Melanie Stansbury: “These lands are sacred lands. That’s why @POTUS just designated nearly a million acres near the Grand Canyon as our newest National Monument—Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Protecting these lands from uranium mining and for generations to come!” [Tweet, 8/8/23]

California Representative Tony Cárdenas: “The @GrandCanyonNPS is one of our planet’s most cherished landscapes. Thanks to the dedication of tribes, @POTUS is protecting nearly a million more acres as part of the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument. #KeepItGrand.” [Tweet, 8/8/23]

Texas Representative Jasmine Crockett: “The news we NEED! @POTUS just designated the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument to safeguard ancestral homelands…one of our most cherished places. Thanks to the administration for protecting our #PublicLands! We #KeepItGrand” [Tweet, 8/9/23]

Conservation Leaders

Vianey Olivarria, Executive Director, Chispa AZ: “… We are ecstatic that our state has a new national monument, grateful that the Biden administration listened to the call of Tribal leaders and relieved that the unique ecosystems, wildlife and water sources found in and around the Grand Canyon are now protected for future generations.” [Statement, 8/8/2023]

Scott Garlid, Executive Director, Arizona Wildlife Federation: “The Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument will protect water that is vital to the existence of wildlife, Indigenous communities, and 40 million other users downstream. We are grateful to the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition, the Biden Administration, and Arizona’s Congressional delegation for working tirelessly to create a balanced and reasonable designation that assures the Grand Canyon watershed will be both protected and actively enjoyed.” [Statement, 8/8/23]

Sandy Bahr, Director, Grand Canyon Chapter, Sierra Club: “Sierra Club thanks President Biden for hearing and responding to the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition’s request to establish the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument… President Biden has taken a historic step to safeguard the greater Grand Canyon region and to ensure that the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition has a leadership role in the management of these lands going forward as they continue their stewardship roles, which have been in place since time immemorial.” [Statement, 8/8/2023]

Ethan Aumack, Executive Director, Grand Canyon Trust: “Today’s news has been years in the making…And we extend our most heartfelt thanks to the Biden administration, Congressman Grijalva, and Senator Sinema for listening to tribes and Arizona communities and taking one more step toward protecting the Grand Canyon region, its cultural heritage, and water resources forever.” [Statement, 8/8/23]

Michael Cravens, Vice Chair of the Board, Arizona Chapter, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers: “Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument is a wild landscape that supports a world-renowned mule deer herd. Declaring this iconic landscape a national monument, along with preserving recreational access and keeping authority over wildlife management in the capable hands of our Arizona Game and Fish Department, not only successfully protects this region from the adverse effects of uranium and hardrock mining; it also preserves the imperative connection that people have to the land.” [Statement, 8/8/23]

Alicyn Gitlin, Program Manager, Grand Canyon Chapter’s Restore and Protect Grand Canyon Campaign, Sierra Club: “We’re thrilled to see today’s action by the President and in addition to thanking him, we want to send our heartfelt thanks to the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition for their leadership in advancing this important action..” [Statement, 8/8/23]

Kelly Burke, Executive Director, Wild Arizona: “This is a huge success–a legacy for those tribal leaders, communities and organizations who have worked for at least 20 years to protect these magnificent rimlands of the Grand Canyon. We applaud this new Monument as a key component in protecting a highly-threatened cultural and biological link in Arizona’s landscape and we wholeheartedly thank President Biden and the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition for the leadership expressed by today’s action. Arizona’s essential webs of life, including our natural waters, wildlife pathways and the fabric of Tribal cultures are the big winners in this designation.” [Statement, 8/8/23]

Taylor McKinnon, Southwest Director, The Center for Biological Diversity: “With this historic designation, President Biden is permanently safeguarding the magnificent rimlands that flank the Grand Canyon, their rich biodiversity, and life-giving springs and aquifers.” [Statement, 8/8/23]

GreenLatinos: “Big protections are coming to the Grand Canyon region! Thanks to the hard work of the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition & AZ communities, @POTUS is set to designate Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument! #KeepItGrand” [Tweet, 8/8/23]

Native American Rights Fund: “BREAKING: Grand Canyon protected! NARF applauds President Biden’s designation of the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni monument, protecting Native homelands in the Grand Canyon landscape.” [Tweet, 8/9/23]

Maite Arce, President and CEO, Hispanic Access Foundation: “We applaud President Biden for listening to Indigenous tribes and the Tribal Coalition in protecting the ancestral lands of the Grand Canyon and designating the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument.” [Statement, 8/8/23]

Theresa Pierno, President and CEO, National Parks Conservation Association: “…We commend the Biden administration for listening to those voices and taking action to protect this watershed now and forever. Today, we celebrate the designation of the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument with all who cherish this special place.” [Statement, 8/8/23]

Camilla Simon, Executive Director, Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting, and the Outdoors: “We applaud President Biden for listening to the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition and the overwhelming support of the community to protect the Grand Canyon watershed from uranium mining.”  [Statement, 8/8/23]

Jamie Williams, President, The Wilderness Society: “President Biden’s designation of Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni-Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument underscores his administration’s commitment to cultural preservation and safeguarding the greater Grand Canyon region’s clean air and water sources.” [Statement, 8/8/23]

Collin O’Mara, President and CEO, National Wildlife Federation: “Generations of Indigenous Peoples and other residents of Arizona carry with them the mistakes of dangerous uranium mining. The creation of the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument cannot make them whole, but it will help spare future generations of people and wildlife from irreparable harm.” [Statement, 8/8/23]

Katie Murtha, Vice President of Federal Relations, Trust for Public Land: “Trust for Public Land applauds President Biden and his Administration for designating the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument. The Grand Canyon region encompasses an ecologically rich landscape that is deeply significant to more than a dozen Indigenous tribes, nations and tribal associations, with the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument permanently protecting 1.1 million acres in the Colorado River Basin and the countless natural, cultural, and historical resources found within it.” [Statement, 8/8/23]

Lauren Bogard, Director of Campaigns, Center for Western Priorities: “The Grand Canyon is one of the most iconic and widely recognized natural features in the world, drawing millions of visitors each year to marvel at its grandeur and appreciate the winding path of the Colorado River through its canyons. What is less well known is the human history of the Indigenous people who trace their ancestral roots to this area and want to see this sacred landscape protected from the threat of uranium mining. The establishment of this monument is driven by a large group of Tribes and it is both timely and critical that their narrative be a central part of the story of what makes this area magnificent and worthy of greater protection and respect.” [Statement, 8/8/23]

Ellen Montgomery, Public Lands Campaign Director, Environment America:
“This is a grand day for the Grand Canyon region. Thanks to the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition, this critical region and our most precious resource, the water that flows into the Colorado River, are protected for future generations. From the soaring bald eagles and California condors to the gila monsters and desert tortoises, hundreds of species are now safer from the toxic pollution that comes with uranium mining and other dangerous development. President Biden is making good on his pledge to protect more nature and we’re celebrating this new monument.” [Statement, 8/8/23]

Blaine Miller-McFeeley, Senior Legislative Representative, Earthjustice: “This is an historic moment for the Tribes that hold such deep cultural connections to the lands surrounding the Grand Canyon and every American who will now be able to enjoy this region in perpetuity. Not only does this designation protect the vast cultural and natural resources significant to the Tribes, it also protects the threatened Colorado River watershed and its abundant biodiversity..” [Statement, 8/8/23]

John Gale, Vice President of Policy and Government Relations, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers: “Today’s announcement marks a win for millions of Americans, including Tribal members, Arizonans, and hunters and anglers, who have for years advocated for the long-term conservation of the unique landscapes, pristine waterways, cultural values and vital fish and wildlife habitat in the Grand Canyon region. We offer our thanks to the Biden administration for heeding our collective calls, and we are grateful to the voices of many, in particular the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition, who set us on a path toward the victory we now have attained.” [Statement, 8/8/23]

Nicole Gentile, Senior Director of Conservation, Center for American Progress: “…This move provides permanent protections that will conserve valuable U.S. landscapes for generations to come. It honors long-standing connections of the Havasupai and Hopi Tribes while protecting one of the most ecologically significant areas left in the West. President Biden continues to build on his legacy of equitable conservation and his historic promise to conserve 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030.” [Statement, 8/8/23]

Mike Murray, Chair, Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks: “Today, we join the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition and a strong community of supporters to celebrate President Biden’s designation of the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument. This new national monument is home to critical natural and cultural resources, and numerous Tribes maintain cultural connections to these ancestral lands..” [Statement, 8/8/23]

Gene Karpinski, President, League of Conservation Voters: “Thanks to President Biden, Secretaries Haaland and Vilsack, the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition, and local leaders and advocates, the iconic Grand Canyon region is now permanently protected. In addition to helping to preserve the stories, histories, and sacred sites of the Havasupai, Hualapai, Hopi, and Navajo people, this new monument helps protect a vital source of clean drinking water in the Southwest and will create jobs in the outdoor recreation economy. President Biden is building an incredible conservation record by working with local communities and Tribal Nations, and we look forward to working together to strengthen protections for more parks, lands, and waters.” [Statement, 8/8/2023]

Chris Hill, Chief Conservation Officer, Sierra Club: “The Grand Canyon region has had spiritual, cultural, and ecological significance since time immemorial, and today’s announcement ensures these lands will be protected for generations to come…Today, we celebrate President Biden’s protection of this treasured place, and we urge him to continue to build his monumental legacy by protecting more of the lands and waters that we hold so dear.” [Statement, 8/8/2023]

Brian Sybert, Executive Director, Conservation Lands Foundation: “We celebrate President Biden’s use of the Antiquities Act to designate a new monument and unit to the National Conservation Lands that honors requests from a dozen Tribal Nations; local elected officials such as Rep. Raul Grijalva; and business and community leaders in Arizona and throughout the country..” [Statement, 8/8/23]

Chris Kuzdas, Senior Water Program Manager, Environmental Defense Fund: “EDF is thrilled to see President Biden designate the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument. The new monument will protect nearly a million acres of public lands from new mining, permanently stopping any new uranium mines from operating in the region. We extend a warm congratulations to the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition, and we acknowledge the tribal leaders and others who have fought for decades to protect their homelands, the Grand Canyon landscape, and its waters.” [Statement, 8/8/23]

Faith, Veterans, and Business Leaders

Cassandra Carmichael, Executive Director, National Religious Partnership for the Environment: “The land of Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni is a sacred, unique part of God’s creation and is now rightfully protected. In preserving this special part of God’s creation, President Biden not only safeguards the ecological integrity of the area by prohibiting dangerous mining activities but recognizes the religious liberty of Tribal communities.” [Statement, 8/8/23]

Reverend Katie Sexton Wood, Executive Director, Arizona Faith Network: “On behalf of the Arizona Faith Network, we are elated by President Biden’s declaration of the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon as a national monument. This momentous proclamation, eagerly awaited, is a testament to the unwavering dedication of the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition, Representative Grijalva, countless Arizona advocates, and nonprofit organizations. As representatives of diverse faith traditions, we firmly believe safeguarding sacred land is fundamental to all spiritual and religious principles.” [Statement, 8/8/23]

Janessa Goldbeck, CEO, Vet Voice Foundation: “From their first day in office, the Biden Administration has been committed to operating with an open door and a focus on listening to community groups and safe-guarding places sacred to some and important for all. Today’s designation is another shining example of that commitment and the administration’s dedication to our nation’s public lands and the goals laid out in their America the Beautiful agenda. “At least eleven Tribes maintain cultural connections to the Grand Canyon. Because of its connection to Native peoples – a group that has the highest per-capita representation of any in the U.S. Armed Forces – the Grand Canyon, and the extended area surrounding it, is by default a special place for veterans and military families. [Statement, 8/8/23]

Shoren Brown, Vice President for Public Affairs, The Conservation Alliance: “The Conservation Alliance applauds President Biden for designating the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument…On behalf of The Conservation Alliance and its coalition of 270 businesses, we thank President Joe Biden, Representative Raúl Grijalva, and Senator Krysten Sinema for their efforts to protect public lands. We look forward to continuing to work alongside.” [Statement, 8/8/23]

Ben Steele, Executive Vice President & Chief Customer Officer, REI Co-op: “REI Co-op celebrates the tireless advocacy of the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition and others who have worked to protect their ancestral homelands for the benefit of all and applauds the Biden Administration’s actions to protect this culturally significant recreation destination..” [Statement, 8/8/23]

Patagonia: “This achievement is the result of the hard work of the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition and local organizations. Let’s celebrate this victory and continue to fight for future land protection! Read more below.” [Tweet, 8/8/23]

Kestrel Kunz, Protection Director of Southern Rockies Program, American Whitewater: “American Whitewater is pleased to celebrate the tribally led effort to protect the greater Grand Canyon area in the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument and today we thank the Biden Administration for honoring the wishes of tribes, communities and visitors that cherish the clean water, endangered species, and recreation opportunities within the National Monument.” [Statement, 8/8/23]

Danny Giovale, Founder, Kahtoola: “Today, President Joe Biden announced the designation of a Tribally led proposal to designate 917,618 acres of lands surrounding Grand Canyon National Park as the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument. This is really something worth celebrating. It marks a momentous time in history, and we extend our deepest gratitude to the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition for boldly leading this effort.” [Statement, 8/8/23]

Jim Dublinski, Owner, Xplore Outside: “As a business that values both the beauty of this land and its indigenous significance, we express our gratitude for the creation of the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon Monument. This monument protects this iconic landscape, aquifers, wildlife, and cultural values essential to the greater Grand Canyon Region. Thank you, President Biden, for taking counsel with tribal leadership to preserve the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon Monument.” [Statement, 8/8/23]


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