Washington, DC – Today Congresswoman Dina Titus, author of the Avi Kwa Ame National Monument Establishment Act, commended President Biden for honoring his pledge to establish Nevada’s Avi Kwa Ame as a national monument and celebrated the protection of this critical sacred land.
Spirit Mountain, known by its Mojave name Avi Kwa Ame, is considered by ten Yuman-speaking tribes and the Hopi and Chemehuevi Paiute to be the sacred center of creation itself. Congresswoman Titus led the legislative effort to permanently safeguard its over 506,000 acres of biologically diverse and culturally significant lands by designating it as a national monument.
“One cannot overstate the importance of the sacred land of Avi Kwa Ame to Southern Nevada’s native tribes,” said Rep. Titus. “And for the Yuman speakers and the Hopi and Chemehuevi Paiute who place it at the center of all creation, along with every Nevadan who knows the value of our cherished public lands, designating Spirit Mountain as a national monument will protect this treasured space for future generations.
“Having led the charge to protect Gold Butte, Basin and Range, and Tule Springs Fossil Beds, I’ve been proud to work with indigenous leaders, environmental champions, and grassroots organizations across Nevada to keep our public lands safe. Without their unflinching dedication over many years this would not have happened. I’m hugely grateful that President Biden and Interior Secretary Haaland have heeded our call to permanently protect Avi Kwa Ame.”
As the New York Times recently wrote, Rep. Titus has “previously shepherded three national monuments (Gold Butte, Basin and Range, and Tule Springs Fossil Beds) through Congress,” and has worked tirelessly to advocate for Avi Kwa Ame’s designation as a national monument.
Congresswoman Titus has been a long-time champion of preserving public lands. From leading the charge to protect Gold Butte and Basin & Range to conserving Tule Springs, she believes that everyone has a responsibility to be good stewards of our nation’s unique landscapes. In February 2022, Congresswoman Titus introduced the Avi Kwa Ame National Monument Establishment Act, legislation to protect nearly 450,000 acres of biologically diverse and culturally significant lands within the Mojave Desert.
The monument features dramatic scenic peaks and canyons, sloping bajadas, some of the oldest and largest Joshua trees in the world, bighorn migration routes, unique grasslands, and a rich history of petroglyphs and other ancient cultural sites sacred to ten Yuman-speaking Tribes in the Mountain West.
Avi Kwa Ame’s designation as a national monument will also boost tourism in Southern Nevada. The state’s outdoor recreation economy lost around 14 million visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic, and some tour companies relying on out-of-state visitors cut staff by up to 70%. The new national monument will create excitement about another outdoor recreation opportunity and will support local tourism, hospitality, and sporting goods industries. That’s why this monument is supported by local governments and the Southern Nevada business community, including both the Boulder City and Laughlin Chambers of Commerce.
Tribal leaders and conservationists have been working for over 20 years to permanently protect Avi Kwa Ame and have coordinated with elected officials, government agencies, outdoor recreation businesses, and environmental organizations to establish the monument’s boundary lines.