- By Darren Thompson
Friday, January 14th, Dina Tutus (D-Las Vegas), stated that she intends to introduce legislation to Congress within the next few days to designate an area south Las Vegas a National Monument.
In a written letter to Deb Haaland (Interior Secretary), Wednesday, January 12, U.S. Rep. Titus wroteWe have the chance to preserve a sacred place filled with natural wonders of many mountain ranges. Avi Kwa Ame, the Mojave name of Spirit Mountain, is the center for creation for Yuman-speaking tribes and the surrounding landscape. Although Spirit Mountain is now protected by Lake Mead National Recreation Area for its permanent protection, the sacred landscape that it surrounds still needs protection.
Spirit Mountain is the area she plans to commemorate. It is located in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, near Laughlin. Some Tribes refer to it as Avi Kwa Ame (meaning Spirit Mountain), and has been on the United States National Register of Historic Places list since 1999 because of its cultural significance for Tribes of Southern Nevada.
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The proposed Avi Kwa Ame National Monument, a 450,000-acre region in Southern Nevada, includes what some Tribes claim is culturally important and biologically diverse. The proposed area of the national park covers 703 square miles. It includes scenic peaks and canyons, Joshua trees and bighorn sheep migration routes. It also includes grasslands and petroglyphs.
Our creation story places our company in the middle of this area.” Shan Lewis, Vice-Chairman Fort Mojave Tribe Tribe During a press conference in Las Vegas on Friday. We are trying to preserve these sacred places and keep their integrity as a place for worship and home. Avi Kwa Ame is also home to nine other tribes.
Over the past few months, support for the proposed national monument has been growing, even from those opposed to a proposed windfarm in the area. Others have supported the proposal as well.
It is good for our people as well as future generations to have land set aside for conservation, stated Amber Torres, Chairman of Walker River Paiute Tribe to Native News Online. We need to protect as much of our ancestral homelands. We need the support and backing of our congressional leaders.
U.S. Rep. Titus’s Wednesday letter to Brenda Mallory, Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory, was sent to them to urge their support for Titus’s forthcoming legislation.
You can also submit a petition online Honor Avi Kwa AmeSupporting the proposed Avi Kwa Ame National Monument. Tribes, conservation groups, business leaders, elected officials, and others support the proposed Avi Kwa Ame National Monument.
If the legislation for the proposed monument was passed, it would permanently protect almost 450,000 acres of land within the Mojave desert.
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About the Author
Darren Thompson (Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe), is a freelance journalist based in the Twin Cities, Minnesota. He also contributes to Unicorn Riot alternative media publication. Thompson has covered political unrest, tribal sovereignty and Indigenous issues for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN), Indian Country Today, Native News Online (Native News Online), Powwows.com, and Unicorn Riot. He has written for the New York Times and Washington Post as well as Voice of America on various Indigenous topics in international conversation. He holds a bachelors in Criminology & Legal Studies from Marquette University in Milwaukee.