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​Biden Poised to Designate New Nevada National Monument Avi Kwa Ame

The Biden Administration announced their intention to protect nearly 450,000 acres of southern Nevada as part of a new National Monument. | Honor Spirit Mountain photo.

This week, The Biden Administration announced that they are preparing to protect nearly 450,000 acres of Nevada land under the 1906 Antiquities Act as the nation’s newest National Monument. The land in question encompasses a sacred tribal site on 5,642-foot Avi Kwa Ame (Spirit Mountain) south of Las Vegas. Congress initially designated the land on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. Sacred to 12 tribes, the proposed Avi Kwa Ame National Monument is at the center of Yuman creation stories and spiritual ideology, and is rich in both history and beauty. The proposed national monument includes petroglyphs; historic mining and pioneer-era artifacts; rare and threatened wildlife such as the Mojave Desert tortoise and desert bighorn sheep. Biden made his announcement at the 2022 White House Tribal Nations Summit.

Native leaders from the Honor Avi Kwa Ame coalition reacted with the following statement:

“We are thrilled and overjoyed by the news of an upcoming announcement by the White House in the near future that the nearly 450,000 acre landscape known as Avi Kwa Ame will be designated as a new national monument. Earlier in November, Tribal leaders and members, monument supporters, and the general public made their voices heard about this culturally and ecologically significant proposal and the need to safeguard these resources for future generations. Over 200 supporters packed a meeting room in Laughlin and were near-unanimous in their support for protecting this special place, based on its spiritual and cultural significance to Tribal nations, its ecological importance for the southwest, and how its breathtaking beauty inspires artists, outdoor recreationalists, & local residents alike. This effort to expand federal protection for Avi Kwa Ame has been years in the making, and finally it is nearing success thanks to the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to supporting locally led efforts across the country to conserve important places.

After Congresswoman Dina Titus opened the door with legislation, and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s visit to the proposed site in September, it is a testament to the hard work by Tribes and supporters of Avi Kwa Ame over the past several months that these plans are nearing fruition. We hope that the final designation respects the original boundaries for the proposed monument put forward by the Tribes who have led this effort. We eagerly await further communications from the White House and Interior Department to finalize this designation and see through this campaign to protect this sacred area for future generations.”

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