Washington, D.C. – House Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today issued the following statement on President Biden’s designation of the nearly 450,000-acre Avi Kwa Ame National Monument in Nevada and the administration’s announcement of several new actions to support Indian Country at today’s White House Tribal Nations Summit.
“I want to extend thanks to President Biden for once again demonstrating that Indigenous voices have a say in this administration,” Chair Grijalva said. “Avi Kwa Ame, also known as Spirit Mountain, has been a sacred and special place for the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe and several other tribes since time immemorial. Today’s designation shows that this administration understands that conservation and respect for tribal cultural and religious spaces go hand in hand. I also want to thank Congresswoman Titus for her work and perseverance in making sure Avi Kwa Ame received the protections it deserves.
“This administration is also continuing to make historic progress in making sure tribal consultation is more than just the checking of a box. As of today, agencies will be putting uniform standards and policies in place that will raise the bar for how they obtain tribal input and incorporate Indigenous knowledge in federal decision making. These important new requirements mirror my RESPECT Act, which would take them a step even further and put them into law. I look forward to the positive impacts of today’s announcements and will continue to work with the administration to keep progress moving in the right direction.”
Avi Kwa Ame National Monument is President Biden’s second new national monument designated using his authorities under the Antiquities Act of 1906. Earlier in November, the Bureau of Land Management held a standing-room-only listening session where tribal leaders and other attendees voiced unanimous support for the national monument designation.
In his remarks at today’s Tribal Nations Summit, President Biden also highlighted several new actions to uphold the federal trust responsibility. These actions include new uniform standards and policies for tribal consultation, extending tribal co-management to waters and fisheries managed by the Department of Commerce, and new guidance for including Indigenous knowledge in federal decision making, among many others.
Chair Grijalva introduced the RESPECT Act (H.R. 3587) on May 28, 2021. In addition to making tribal consultation the law, the bill will establish government-wide standards for identifying agency actions and regulations that have tribal impacts, conducting adequate outreach to tribal governments, documenting tribal consultation, and implementing training to improve federal-tribal relations.
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