NV Tribes, Conservation Leaders Praise New National Monument Plan
Thursday, December 1, 2022
Native American tribal communities and conservation groups got a big win Wednesday as President Joe Biden announced he intends to create a new national monument in Southern Nevada.
Avi Kwa Ame, also known as Spirit Mountain, sprawls across 450,000 acres near Laughlin.
Ashley Hemmers, administrator for the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe, said the area is the Yuman-speaking tribes' holiest site.
"My grandmother is in her late 80s," Hemmers remarked. "I went to her house to go watch it with her, and we were both in tears because we didn't know that this could be possible that we would be able to save the point of our creation; to make sure that it's respected and honored beyond us."
The Fort Mojave tribe has been working on the issue for thirty years. Conservation groups prize the area because it is a crucial piece of the puzzle connecting wildlife migration routes used by bighorn sheep, desert tortoise and mule deer.
The revelation Avi Kwa Ame is now a done deal came in a speech Biden made to the White House Tribal Nations Summit, which ends today.
"When it comes to Spirit Mountain, the surrounding ridges and canyons in Southern Nevada, I'm committed to protecting this sacred place that is central to the creation story of so many tribes that are here today," Biden said.
As part of the Tribal Nations Summit, the administration announced more than a dozen new initiatives to strengthen Indian Country. The Interior Department has not yet announced the date for a formal ceremony to designate the new Avi Kwa Ame National Monument.
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