The list of NPS areas is growing as the Biden administration announced a new National Monument on Tuesday. Officially named the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument, the designation aims to protect land near the Grand Canyon that’s sacred to Indigenous people.
The name celebrates the multiple tribes who have called the area home. Baaj Nwaavjo is “where Indigenous peoples roam” in the Havasupai language, while I’tah Kukveni means “our ancestral footprints” in Hopi.
The new protections are for land in three areas: south, northeast and northwest of the National Park. The land includes creeks, rivers, plateaus, deep canyons, and a dozen places registered as National Historic sites.
Tribal leaders have called for these additional protections for years. The area has a messy history, as the federal government forcibly removed Indigenous people from the Grand Canyon in the late 19th century to create the National Park. The new designation will not impact private property within the monument’s boundaries.
In many ways, a national monument is similar to a national park but is easier to establish as you only need a Presidential Executive Order to designate the protections. So far, the Biden administration has created five national monuments.