Biden announces new national monument near Grand Canyon

Biden announces new national monument near Grand Canyon

Preserving these lands 'good for the economy,’ says president

By Iclal Turan

WASHINGTON (AA) - US President Joe Biden designated on Tuesday nearly 1 million acres of land (404,000 hectares) near the Grand Canyon as a national monument.

The move followed a years-long demand by Indigenous leaders and environmentalists for environmental protections surrounding the area.

The Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon monument will be protected from uranium mining with Biden's signature of the proclamation.

"Baaj nwaavjo (pronounced BAAHJ – NUH-WAAHV-JOH) means “where Indigenous peoples roam” in the Havasupai language, and i’tah kukveni (EE-TAH – KOOK-VENNY) means “our ancestral footprints” in the Hopi language," the White House said in a statement.

"The name reflects the significance of the Grand Canyon area, not just to one, but to many Tribal Nations," it added.

The White House said the designation, which marks the fifth new national monument established by 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."

"Preserving these lands is good not only for Arizona, but for the planet," Biden said at a news conference in the state of Arizona, "It's good for the economy. It's good for the soul of the nation."

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