President Joe Biden coming to Grand Canyon for this week’s Arizona visit

Aug 7, 2023, 7:45 AM | Updated: 1:55 pm

PHOENIX — President Joe Biden is stopping at the Grand Canyon to start this week’s swing through three western states.

He is due to arrive in northern Arizona on Monday night and speak Tuesday about his administration’s conservation and climate resilience policies.

The White House hasn’t released specifics about what the president will discuss, but it reportedly will be related to efforts to designate a new national monument on more than 1 million acres of land adjacent to Grand Canyon National Park.

Tribes in Arizona have been pushing Biden to use his authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to create a new national monument called Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni. “Baaj Nwaavjo” means “where tribes roam,” for the Havasupai people, while “I’tah Kukveni” translates to “our footprints,” for the Hopi tribe.

Tribes and environmentalists for decades have been trying to safeguard the land north and south of Grand Canyon National Park, while Republican lawmakers and the mining industry tout the economic benefits and raise mining as a matter of national security.

Representatives of various northern Arizona tribes have been invited to attend the president’s remarks. Havasupai Tribal Councilwoman Dianna Sue White Dove Uqualla is part of a group of tribal dancers who will perform a blessing.

“It’s really the uranium we don’t want coming out of the ground because it’s going to affect everything around us — the trees, the land, the animals, the people,” said Uqualla. “It’s not going to stop.”

In 2017, Democratic President Barack Obama backed off a full-on monument designation. The idea faced a hostile reception from Arizona’s Republican governor and two senators. Then-Gov. Doug Ducey threatened legal action, saying Arizona already has enough national monuments.

Opponents of establishing a monument have argued it won’t help combat a lingering drought and could prevent thinning of forests and stop hunters from keeping wildlife populations in check. Ranchers in Utah near the Arizona border say the monument designation would strip them of privately owned land.

The landscape of Arizona’s political delegation has since changed considerably. Gov. Katie Hobbs, Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, an independent, are all on board.

Last month, Rep. Raúl Grijalva and Sinema introduced legislation to direct the specifics of monument. Democratic Reps. Greg Stanton and Ruben Gallego cosponsored the House bill, and Kelly cosponsored the Senate version.

“We would like to thank Sen. Sinema and Rep. Grijalva for their leadership in promoting this important initiative,” Navajo Nation President Dr. Buu Nygren said in a July 18 press release.” 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.”

In May, Hobbs wrote a letter to the Biden administration in support of the monument.

This week’s trip is Biden’s second to Arizona since he became president. The first came in December 2022, when he visited the construction site of the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. microchip plant in Phoenix.

He will also appear New Mexico and Utah this week before returning to Washington.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Facebook Photo/Mountain Vista Medical Center)...

Brandon Gray

Mountain Vista Medical Center, Jersey College partner to open nursing school in Mesa

Mountain Vista Medical Center and Jersey College partnered to establish a School of Nursing on the hospital's campus in Mesa, serving the East Valley. 

4 minutes ago

Alfalfa farm...

Brandon Gray

Arizona terminates lease of Saudi-owned Fondomonte after investigation

Gov. Katie Hobbs announced Monday the state land department terminated one of Saudi-owned dairy company Fondomonte Arizona's four Butler Valley leases.

14 minutes ago

signs displaying rebranding of HonorHealth...

HonorHealth rebrands its Valley cancer care services

HonorHealth announced Monday the rebranding of its cancer care services.

24 minutes ago

(Pexels Photo)...

Man who fell into tracks dead after being struck by train in Phoenix

A man was pronounced dead after being struck by a train following a fall on to the tracks in Phoenix on Sunday evening.

8 hours ago

(Photo by Olivier Touron/AFP via Getty Images)...

Associated Press

Judge affirms Arizona can no longer exclude gender-affirming care from state health plans

A federal judge has approved a final settlement eliminating a ban on providing gender-affirming care under Arizona state employee health insurance.

11 hours ago

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone...

Brandon Gray

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone announces he will not pursue 3rd term

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone announced Monday he is not pursuing a third term and will be departing the office in January 2024.

13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles



Importance of AC maintenance after Arizona’s excruciating heat wave

An air conditioning unit in Phoenix is vital to living a comfortable life inside, away from triple-digit heat.

Home moving relocation in Arizona 2023...

BMS Moving

Tips for making your move in Arizona easier

If you're moving to a new home in Arizona, use this to-do list to alleviate some stress and ensure a smoother transition to your new home.


Mayo Clinic

Game on! Expert sports physicals focused on you

With tryouts quickly approaching, now is the time for parents to schedule physicals for their student-athlete. The Arizona Interscholastic Association requires that all student-athletes must have a physical exam completed before participating in team practices or competition.

President Joe Biden coming to Grand Canyon for this week’s Arizona visit