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Tribes who helped create new national monument near Grand Canyon want to help manage it

Native American tribes have filed motions to weigh in on the federal court battles over the new national monument near Grand Canyon National Park. 

The Havasupai, the Hopi and the Navajo tribes all filed motions to intervene in two suits involving the designation of the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni national monument. President Joe Biden designated the nearly 1 million acre monument last summer. In the first court case, Arizona’s Legislature sued the Biden administration over the designation. The second suit involves a rancher who held grazing permits in the region.

"We live here and do practices here that are important to us and we feel that we need to be at the table when these big discussions and actions are taking place," said Carletta Tilousi of the Havasupai tribe.

"But also," said Matthew Campbell, deputy director of the Native American Rights Fund which is representing the tribes, "when President Biden proclaimed the monument, he also created a commission, the Baaj Nwaavjo I'tah Kukveni tribal commission that allows the tribal nations to have a role in managing the land."  

Ten conservation groups have also signed on to intervene in both suits.

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