US President Joe Biden is poised to announce the official designation of a national monument encompassing the expansive Grand Canyon region during his upcoming visit to Arizona on Tuesday.
This milestone is the culmination of extensive endeavors by Native American tribes and environmental advocates to safeguard this remarkable landscape.
The envisaged proclamation will cover an area of about 1,562 square miles (4,046 square kilometers), situated adjacent to the Grand Canyon National Park. This momentous step constitutes President Biden’s fifth monument designation, underscoring his unwavering dedication to conservation and the betterment of the environment.
Named “Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni,” this monument pays homage to the Havasupai and Hopi tribes, holding deep cultural and historical significance. “Baaj Nwaavjo,” translating to “where tribes roam,” encapsulates the profound connection of the Havasupai people to the land.
Meanwhile, “I’tah Kukveni,” meaning “our footprints,” symbolically represents the ancestral bonds of the Hopi tribe.
Beyond its political implications, this monument declaration ushers in a fresh era of collaboration and partnership with indigenous communities, as highlighted by US Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, a trailblazing figure as the first Native American to hold a cabinet secretary position.
President Biden’s decision also carries political resonance, as Arizona retains its status as a pivotal battleground state. His triumph in the state during the 2020 election marked a significant turning point, and the prospect of securing Arizona’s support once again holds crucial implications for his reelection aspirations in 2024.