Sierra Club Celebrates Designation of Baaj Nwaavjo I'tah Kukveni - Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument


Ian Brickey,

GRAND CANYON, AZ -- Today, the White House announced President Biden would designate Baaj Nwaavjo I'tah Kukveni - Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument in Arizona as the country’s newest national monument. The designation protects 917,618 acres of public lands surrounding Grand Canyon National Park, which is home to sacred Indigenous sites.

Tribal Nations have advocated for permanent protections for this iconic landscape for decades and renewed those calls to President Biden earlier this year. The new national monument will preserve priceless cultural, spiritual, and ecological resources that are significant to Tribes, communities and wildlife in the region. 

The monument is home to unique biodiversity, and provides important habitat for rare and endangered species and is also a critical refuge and migratory corridor for hundreds of bird and mammal species.

The monument is the fifth Biden has designated as president and comes less than a month after the designation of the multi-state Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument.

In response, Sierra Club’s Conservation Officer Chris Hill and Grand Canyon Chapter director Sandy Bahr released the following statements:

“The Grand Canyon region has had spiritual, cultural, and ecological significance since time immemorial, and today’s announcement ensures these lands will be protected for generations to come.

“National monuments protect the landscapes and ecosystems that make up this country, but they also preserve the stories, sites, and practices that tell us who we are. For the 12 Tribes who have called the Greater Grand Canyon area home for centuries, it is the center of the universe.

“Today, we celebrate President Biden’s protection of this treasured place, and we urge him to continue to build his monumental legacy by protecting more of the lands and waters that we hold so dear.”

-Chris Hill, Sierra Club’s Chief Conservation Officer


"Sierra Club thanks President Biden for hearing and responding to the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition’s request to establish the Baaj Nwaavjo I'tah Kukveni - Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument. 

“The designation of this monument will safeguard traditional use, regional groundwater and critical springs, and important cultural areas, such as the Red Butte Traditional Cultural Property, from harmful development and toxic uranium mining, making permanent a ban on mining that was enacted administratively in 2012. 

“Today’s proclamation is supported by Tribes, businesses, local community leaders, environmental protection advocates, faith leaders, hunters and anglers, and many more. President Biden has taken a historic step to safeguard the greater Grand Canyon region and to ensure that the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition has a leadership role in the management of these lands going forward as they continue their stewardship roles, which have been in place since time immemorial."

-Sandy Bahr, Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter director

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit