Biden: Nevada site sacred to tribes to be national monument

Nov 29, 2022, 11:53 PM | Updated: Nov 30, 2022, 6:18 pm
Teddybear Chollas are seen within the proposed Avi Kwa Ame National Monument on Friday, Feb. 12, 20...

Teddybear Chollas are seen within the proposed Avi Kwa Ame National Monument on Friday, Feb. 12, 2022, near Searchlight, Nev. President Joe Biden told a gathering of tribal leaders in Washington on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022, that he intends to designate an area considered sacred by area Native Americans in southern Nevada as a new national monument. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP, File)

(L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP, File)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — President Joe Biden told a gathering of tribal leaders in Washington on Wednesday that he intends to designate an area considered sacred by area Native Americans in southern Nevada as a new national monument.

“When it comes to Spirit Mountain and the surrounding ridges and canyons, I’m committed to protecting this sacred place that is central to the creation story of so many tribes that are here today,” Biden said during a speech at the White House National Tribal Nations Summit.

The site, to be designated Avi Kwa Ame (Ah-VEE’ kwa-meh) National Monument, would encompass a rugged and dry triangular-shaped area roughly from Arizona and the Colorado River to California and the Mojave National Preserve. The area is mostly undeveloped landscape dotted with Joshua trees and bighorn sheep migration routes.

The designation is not final, but the president’s announcement was hailed by Native American tribal representatives, members of Nevada’s congressional delegation and conservationists.

Spirit Mountain, northwest of Laughlin, is the tallest in the surrounding Newberry Mountains. It was called “Avi Kwa Ame” by the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe and listed in 1999 on the National Register of Historic Places as a place sacred to tribes.

The peak, at 5,642 feet (1,720 meters), is already within a 52-square-mile (135-square-kilometer) wilderness area overseen by the federal Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service.

A broad coalition of tribes and conservation groups has advocated for years to widen the protected area, which includes Walking Box Ranch, a Spanish Colonial Revival house that once belonged to 1920s-era Hollywood actors Clara Bow and Rex Bell. That site also is on the national historic register.

A proposal by a Sweden-based company to build a wind energy farm in the area was slow-tracked last year by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

On Wednesday, Biden credited U.S. Rep. Dina Titus and Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen, for pushing the proposal.

Titus called the mountain a spiritual focus for 10 Yuman-speaking tribes, as well as the Hopi and Chemehuevi Paiute.

“Avi Kwa Ame’s story is one of perseverance and passion,” she said in a statement in which Timothy Williams, Fort Mojave Tribal chairman, called the site “a unique cultural landscape that is the center of creation for Mojave people.”

“Knowing our future generations will have the freedom to continue our cultural and religious practices as we have since time immemorial is both a model of inclusivity and a promise to honor the strength of Nevada’s diversity,” Williams said.

At 703 square miles (18,201 square kilometers), the new monument would compare in size to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. Other national monuments in Nevada include Gold Butte, Basin and Range and Tule Springs.

Presidents have authority under the 1906 Antiquities Act to create national monuments. Congress also can designate sites through legislation, and Titus introduced a measure in February to set aside the Avi Kwa Ame site.

U.S. agencies currently manage more than 130 national monuments nationwide. A political and court fight is ongoing over the size of two national monuments in Utah — Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante.

Bears Ears, established by outgoing President Barack Obama in 2016, is about three times larger in area than Avi Kwa Ame.

In October, a Utah-based tribe criticized Biden following the designation of his first national monument, in Colorado, saying the White House failed to adequately consult tribe leaders.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Activists momentarily surround an MPD cruiser during a march for Tyre Nichols, who died after being...
Associated Press

Memphis police disband unit that beat Tyre Nichols

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The Memphis police chief on Saturday disbanded the city’s so-called Scorpion unit, citing a “cloud of dishonor” from newly released video that showed some of its officers beating Tyre Nichols to death after stopping the Black motorist. Police Director Cerelyn “CJ” Davis acted a day after the harrowing video emerged, saying […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Saturday’s Scores

GIRLS PREP BASKETBALL= Bothell 44, Glacier Peak 40 Burlington-Edison 47, Squalicum 33 Columbia River 53, R.A. Long 28 Entiat 60, Cascade (Leavenworth) 9 Evergreen Lutheran 48, Three Rivers Christian School 26 Hermiston, Ore. 66, Pasco 36 Kamiakin 61, Kennewick 35 Kennedy 49, Bainbridge 42 La Conner 81, Skyview 77 Lakeside (Seattle) 71, Seattle Prep 37 […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Saturday’s Scores

BOYS PREP BASKETBALL= Bothell 64, Glacier Peak 49 Cedarcrest 60, Marysville-Pilchuck 57 Inchelium 71, Springdale 70 Kellogg, Idaho 50, Newport 27 Lynden 69, Lakewood 50 Naselle 63, Winlock 59 Sound Christian 69, Pope John Paul II 34 ___ Some high school basketball scores provided by, Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Arizona Republicans pick former Trump official to lead party

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Republicans on Saturday selected former state treasurer and Donald Trump aide Jeff DeWit to be the party’s next chairman, turning to a familiar face with relationships across the fractured party after its worst election in decades. DeWit replaces firebrand Trump ally Kelli Ward, who helped the former president in his efforts […]
18 hours ago
Former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event at the South Carolina Statehouse, Saturday...
Associated Press

Trump says beating of Nichols ‘never should have happened’

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Former President Donald Trump on Saturday said the footage of the brutal beating of Tyre Nichols by five Memphis police officers is “horrible” and that the attack “never should have happened.” “I thought it was terrible. He was in such trouble. He was just being pummeled. Now that should never have […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Bus falls into ravine in northern Peru, leaving 25 dead

LIMA, Peru (AP) — A passenger bus fell into a ravine in northern Peru on Saturday leaving at least 25 people dead and others injured, authorities said. The bus belonging Q’orianka Tours had left the capital of Lima for the Tumbes region near the Ecuador border on Peru’s coastal desert. The early morning accident left […]
18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Biden: Nevada site sacred to tribes to be national monument