IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Biden announces a new national monument near the Grand Canyon

The national monument, which encompasses nearly 1 million acres, will conserve and protect ancestral places significant to Indigenous people in the region.
Get more newsLiveonNBC News Now

President Joe Biden on Tuesday highlighted his designation of the latest national monument in remarks in Arizona, a vital swing state that went Democratic by just over 10,000 votes in the 2020 presidential election.

The new national monument encompasses nearly 1 million acres of land near the Grand Canyon, conserving and protecting ancestral places significant to Indigenous people in the region, according to a White House fact sheet.

Biden said that by preserving the land for activities like hiking, biking and camping, the monument will also grow the area’s tourism economy.

Image: President Joe Biden speaks at Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona on Aug. 8, 2023.
President Joe Biden speaks Tuesday at Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.Jim Watson / AFP - Getty Images

"Preserving these lands is good not only for Arizona, but for the planet," Biden said. "It's good for the economy, it's good for the soul of the nation, and I believe with my core, to my core, it's the right thing to do."

The monument is dubbed the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni — Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument in Arizona. "Baaj nwaavjo" translates to "where Indigenous people roam" in the Havasupai language, and "i’tah kukveni" translates to "our ancestral footprints" in the Hopi language, the White House said.

“Native American history is American history, and that’s what today is about,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in remarks before Biden spoke.

The designation would limit mining near the Grand Canyon, but valid existing mining claims will not be affected, a senior administration official told reporters on a media call.

When senior administration officials were asked during the call about whether the new monument would be co-managed by local tribes that have been pushing for the designation, a senior official said the declaration will support co-stewardship of the monument. The official said tribes connected to the monument's lands could participate in a commission to guide what co-stewardship means.

Biden took a swipe at "MAGA extremists in Congress" trying to undo his administration's climate and infrastructure efforts. He also weighed in on debates over how to teach history.

"At a time when some seek to ban books and bury history, we're making it clear that we can't just choose to learn only what we want to know. We should learn everything that's good, bad and the truth about who we are as a nation," Biden said to applause. "That's what great nations do, and we are the greatest of all nations."

The White House on Tuesday also announced a $44 million investment to strengthen climate resilience in national parks.

Biden will travel to New Mexico on Tuesday and participate in a campaign reception. On Wednesday, he is expected to tout the Inflation Reduction Act's impact on clean energy manufacturing.

Both stops are part of the administration's effort to highlight Biden's economic policies ahead of the Aug. 16 anniversary of his signing the Inflation Reduction Act into law.