The Joe Biden and Deb Haaland team have done remarkable things in Indian Country. There have been the boarding schools investigation, the appointments of tribal figures to key government posts, the saving of Bears Ears, and then the Grand Canyon National Monument this week!
And–as we live tight against ancient Nez Perce lands, many managed by the US Forest Service, I thought I would reach back and remind you of this effort at joint management. Maybe it will come our way someday soon!
Press release: US Dept of the Interior, August 8, 2023.
“Today [August 8], President Biden established the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni -Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument in northern Arizona, an area considered sacred by many Tribal Nations in the Southwest and renowned for its natural, cultural, economic, scientific and historic resources and broad recreation opportunities.
“This national monument designation, which marks the fifth national monument created by President Biden, builds upon decades of efforts from Tribal Nations, state and local officials, conservation and outdoor recreation advocates, local business owners, and members of Congress to recognize and conserve these landscapes in perpetuity…
“The new national monument consists of three distinct areas to the north and south of Grand Canyon National Park, totaling approximately 917,618 acres of federal lands in northern Arizona. The lands will continue to be managed by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service (Forest Service). The monument designation honors valid existing rights and does not apply to private property or Tribal, state or local government lands.”
Press release: USDA, March 10, 2023
“The Forest Service recognizes its unique, shared responsibility in ensuring decisions related to federal stewardship of lands, waters and wildlife consider how treaty rights and spiritual, subsistence and cultural interests of American Indian and Alaska Native Tribal Nations are considered. The agency’s tribal action plan provides a framework for advancing existing laws, regulations and policies, and provides steps that can be applied through existing programs and processes based on four focus areas:
• Strengthening Relationships Between Indian Tribes and the USDA Forest Service;
• Fulfilling Trust and Treaty Obligations;
• Enhancing Co-Stewardship of the Nation’s Forests and Grasslands; and
• Advancing Tribal Relations Within the USDA Forest Service.
“Announcing these agreements reflects the Forest Service’s commitment to put the Tribal Action Plan into action and make investments that support the plan’s goals.”