Watch: Joe Biden speaks about creating Grand Canyon monument

Aug 8, 2023, 10:50 AM | Updated: 2:07 pm

PHOENIX — President Joe Biden delivered remarks in northern Arizona on Tuesday about creating a national monument on land surrounding the Grand Canyon.

Biden talked for 15 minutes about his administration’s investments in conservation and protecting natural resources from the defunct Red Butte Airfield, a few miles south of Grand Canyon National Park.

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and Rep. Raul Grijalva were among those who spoke before the president took the stage during the outdoor event.

After Biden’s speech, he signed a proclamation establishing the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument.

“Baaj nwaavjo” means “where Indigenous peoples roam” in the Havasupai language, and “i’tah kukveni” means “our ancestral footprints” in Hopi, according to the White House.

Tribes in Arizona and conservationists have been pushing Biden to create the monument under the authority of the Antiquities Act of 1906.

The declaration protects around 1 million acres surrounding Grand Canyon National Park from uranium mining.

“The threat of contaminating our water is real and current,” Havasupai Tribe Chairman Thomas Siyuja Sr. said in a statement released Tuesday morning.

“The pure water that flows through Supai Village is under constant attack by uranium mining. We know the threat is real, but with these protections, our suffering from the harmful effects of mining is lessened.”

Biden flew into northern Arizona on Monday to kick off a swing through three western states. He was scheduled to fly to New Mexico on Tuesday afternoon and visit Utah later in the week.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Watch: Joe Biden speaks about creating Grand Canyon monument