Almost 5 million people visit We cruise the Grand Canyon every year, but few know that the site has always been sacred to the region’s indigenous peoples – and that the region’s designation as a national park practically drove them from their homeland a century ago.
On Tuesday, President Biden acknowledged that history to name the almost one million hectare region including the Grand Canyon and its surrounding areas such as Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument in Arizona. The announcement comes after 15 years make an effort by a coalition of tribes to protect the region from the uranium mining that has polluted the Colorado River. Baaj Nwaavjo means “where tribes roam” to the Havasupai tribe, while I’tah Kukveni means “the footprints of our ancestors” in Hopi.
“With the construction of Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument, we are fulfilling our solemn pledge to tribal peoples to respect their sovereignty, preserving America’s iconic landscapes for future generations, and furthering my commitment to preserving at least 30% of them.” Protect and Preserve “To protect our nation’s land and waters through 2030,” Biden said in a statement.
Previously former President Barack Obama forbidden He built new uranium mines in the Grand Canyon area in 2012, but his policy was due to expire later that year. This is the fifth new national monument established by the Biden administration to protect the nation’s natural landscapes, following the designation of Nevada’s Avi Kwa Ame National Monument in early 2023.
The new designation permanently protects the region from uranium mining, which Republican leaders quickly denied and sent in a motion letter to Biden, who claimed that the safeguards put in place for the Grand Canyon would cause the US to over-rely on foreign countries like Russia for uranium. However, The guard reported that proponents say the region contains only about 1% of the country’s uranium reserves and that uranium is best mined elsewhere.
“The Grand Canyon is home to life of all kinds and is an ecosystem that we must protect,” Buu Nygren, president of the Navajo Nation, said in a statement Opinion. “We know from our own experience the damage that uranium mining and uranium processing can cause, contaminating our water and poisoning our animals and our children.”