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Tribal leaders, Sinema, Grijalva call on Biden to create Grand Canyon National Monument

More than a dozen Native American tribes called on the Biden administration Tuesday to designate a Grand Canyon National Monument in order to permanently ban mining in the area. 

Tribal leaders and members of Congress want to have the White House forever protect more than 1 million acres adjacent to the national park. 

Its proposed name is Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument, adopted from the Havasupai for "where the tribes roam" and from the Hopi for "our footprints."

"I, as a Haualapai tribal leader, stand strong against any mining on any tribal lands and ask that you support us in this fight to stop mining," said Hualapai Tribe Vice Chair Scott Crozier.

Crozier and other leaders argue not only will it protect the region from mining but it also would honor the deep cultural and historical ties many tribes have to the land. 

Flagstaff’s mayor and the Coconino County supervisors also voiced their support.

U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema said, "Luckily for the administration, we’ve already done the hard work. We’ve proposed the framework that we’ll use to work with the administration and our coalition over the coming months to create the monument under the Antiquities Act."

In 2012, the Obama administration banned new mining claims in the region. That moratorium expires in 2032.

Fronteras Desk senior editor Michel Marizco is an award-winning investigative reporter based in Flagstaff.