Sinema Champions Progress on New Grand Canyon National Monument

Jul 18, 2023

Sinema – joined by Senator Mark Kelly and members of the Arizona Congressional Delegation – introduced legislation outlining details of the new Grand Canyon National Monument

Sinema’s legislation comes as the Administration holds first community meeting to move forward with the national monument

WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema introduced the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument Act – legislation supported by Senator Mark Kelly and Congressman Raúl Grijalva (AZ-07) that establishes over 1 million acres of federal lands as a new Grand Canyon National Monument in Northern Arizona. The Senator’s legislation directs the specifics of the formation of the new Grand Canyon National Monument – which will be authorized by the Administration’s authority under the Antiquities Act.

The legislation comes as Sinema’s office celebrated the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service’s first community meeting in Arizona discussing their progress in establishing the new national monument. 

“The Grand Canyon is a national treasure and an important part of Arizona’s history, heritage, and strength. We’re proud to work side by side with Tribes, sportsmen, wildlife groups, and partners across Northern Arizona to ensure the Grand Canyon remains a place for all to enjoy for generations to come, and we’re glad to see the Administration follow our leadership to make the national monument a reality,” said Senator Sinema, lead sponsor of the Grand Canyon National Monument Act.

“The Grand Canyon is unlike any other place on earth. Protecting this unique natural wonder is critical to our recreation economy and the Arizona communities that depend on it,” said Senator Kelly.   

“The Hualapai Tribe strongly supports Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s efforts to bring about designation of the watershed lands around Grand Canyon National Park as the Baaj Nwaanjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument,” said Hualapai Tribe Council Chairwoman Sherry Parker. “Senator Sinema’s longstanding commitment to Tribal nations is evident in her work to ensure this critical designation by President Biden, which will help protect the Grand Canyon and surrounding watershed lands from current threats of logging, uranium mining and other activities detrimental to the long-term health of these culturally historic lands.”

“The Grand Canyon is the creator’s gift to the people. It is a sacred place where our ancestors’ footprints are preserved. This landscape must be protected for not just its beauty but its cultural and spiritual importance to the Hopi Tribe and our sister tribal nations. I want to thank Senator Sinema for her efforts to protect the Grand Canyon through the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni National Monument,” said Hopi Chairman Timothy L. Nuvangyaoma.

“We would like to thank Senator Sinema and Representative Grijalva for their leadership in promoting this important initiative. The Navajo Nation knows from personal experience the risks of uranium mining, and a monument designation for the Greater Grand Canyon area will protect this sacred landscape from the potential hazards of opening new uranium mines in the region. Our congressional partners have met with the coalition of Grand Canyon tribes numerous times and have really taken our concerns to heart,” said Navajo Nation President Dr. Buu Nygren.

“We are grateful for Senator Sinema’s steadfast leadership in working to preserve the Grand Canyon region from uranium mining, and we appreciate her efforts to establish the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument which has the potential to improve local economies, preserve significant tribal cultural sites, protect natural areas that are essential for the recreation and tourism economy, and prevent further contamination of the critical Colorado River Plateau watershed. The County has passed a resolution in support of the 11 indigenous tribes of the Grand Canyon for the creation of the National Monument and we are grateful to have a federal champion in Senator Sinema to bring this forward,” said Coconino County Board of Supervisors Chair Patrice Horstman.

“We thank Senator Sinema for her commitment to protecting the Grand Canyon region and its many tribal cultural sites from uranium mining, culminating in her support for creating the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukevni Grand Canyon National Monument. It’s been a longstanding position of the Coconino County Board of Supervisors to oppose uranium mining within the Grand Canyon and near the Grand Canyon within Coconino County. This Monument won’t impact grazing permits, recreation, hunting, or visitation, but it will safeguard our natural and cultural resources, our clean drinking water, our wildlife habitats, and our region’s very fragile natural watersheds,” said Coconino County Supervisor Lena Fowler.

“We appreciate that Senator Sinema’s Senate Bill 2262 to designate a Grand Canyon national monument expressly preserves Arizona’s authority to manage and conserve wildlife within the monument, maintains access for hunting and fishing and declares that Arizona’s wildlife management activities do not conflict with the monument’s purposes,” said Ty Gray, Executive Director of the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

“National Monument designations can be difficult to get right because so many people value different uses of our public lands,” said Scott Garlid, Executive Director of the Arizona Wildlife Federation. “From the beginning, Senator Sinema insisted on understanding the different perspectives of Arizona’s hunters and anglers, the Native American tribes, the local communities, and various conservation organizations. As a result of her leadership, the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument proposal is a balanced solution that assures the Grand Canyon watershed will be both protected and actively enjoyed.”

“Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument is broadly supported by Arizonans across party lines and has long been a priority for sportsmen and sportswomen in the state,” said Nathan Rees, Arizona Field Coordinator for Trout Unlimited. “Senator Sinema’s leadership on this issue has been monumental in ensuring that the voices of Tribal Nations, sportsmen and women, and the millions of people who rely on a healthy Colorado River watershed are being heard. This proposed national monument will help us preserve the beauty of this idyllic landscape for generations to come.”

“The Grand Canyon Trust strongly supports the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition’s request that President Biden designate the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument.  Recognizing these lands as a national monument is appropriate, necessary, and deeply respectful to those who have called this place home for time immemorial,” said Ethan Aumack, Executive Director, Grand Canyon Trust.

“Protecting our sacred and cultural landscapes is essential,” said Chairwoman Amelia Flores of the Colorado River Indian Tribes. “I am grateful that Sen. Sinema is leading the way and working to incorporate the traditional ecological knowledge of the indigenous people of Arizona in the process.”

“We thank Senator Sinema, Representative Grijalva, and their staffs, as well as the individuals and other tribes involved with this Tribal Coalition for their endless support of the Havasupai Tribe and our journey as Guardians of the Grand Canyon,” said Edmond Tilousi, Vice Chairman, Havasupai Tribe.

Sinema’s bill – supported by Senator Mark Kelly and Congressman Raúl Grijalva (AZ-07) – establishes approximately 1,069,970 acres of federal lands currently managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service in Arizona as a new Grand Canyon National Monument to protect and enhance the area. The legislation sets standards for the monument, including the formation of a Tribal commission composed of one representative from each of the 12 federally recognized members of the Grand Canyon Associated Tribes to help oversee the development of the monument. The legislation will serve as a framework to work with the Administration as it formally proclaims the monument under the antiquities act.

Today, Sinema’s team celebrated the progress made towards establishing the Grand Canyon National Monument at a BLM and USFS Community Meeting in Flagstaff, Arizona.