Today, the Washington Post reported that President Biden plans to designate Avi Kwa Ame as a national monument to protect the ancestral lands of the Fort Mojave Tribe, advancing towards the goal of protecting 30 percent of America’s lands and waters by 2030. In response to the commitment, Maite Arce, president and CEO of Hispanic Access Foundation, released the following statement:
“We applaud President Biden for listening to Indigenous tribes and pledging to protect Avi Kwa Ame as a national monument. Located in southern Nevada, the 450,000 acres is the ancestral home of 10 Yuman-speaking tribes. The land is rich in both its beauty and history, and now, it can be protected for future generations to come.
“About 30 percent of Nevada’s population is made up of Latinos. Protecting this public land increases access to nature for its nearby Latino communities, so they can enjoy the benefits of the outdoors. A National Monument will increase recreational opportunities like hiking, stargazing, bird watching, etc. for everyone to enjoy.
“For many years, the Yuman tribes have held beliefs that the mountain is the spiritual birthplace of the tribes, where ancestors emerged into this world. In addition to its spiritual history, the land has important natural wonders. It’s home to some of the oldest and largest Joshua trees and has the largest area of high quality tortoise habitat. It also provides a migration corridor for wildlife like bighorn sheep and migratory birds.
“We all share a strong moral obligation to be good stewards of our public lands and to intentionally preserve and celebrate the diverse cultural heritage that makes up this nation. By establishing the Avi Kwa Ame National Monument, we can ensure that future generations can enjoy and learn from these special places, and more national monuments represent the diverse communities that make this country great.
In September 2019, the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe first sent a letter to the Nevada delegation requesting the area be protected as a national monument. Avi Kwa Ame will be the fourth national monument in Nevada and will be President Biden’s second new monument designation since he took office.