15 Jan *VIDEO INCLUDED* Congresswoman Titus, Commissioner Naft Join Tribal Leaders and Local Advocates in Calling for Interior Designation of Avi Kwa Ame as Nevada’s next National Monument
NEVADA – Friday morning, advocates representing the Honor Avi Kwa Ame coalition were joined by Congresswoman Dina Titus and Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft for a press conference held at the Springs Preserve announcing her support for and her lead in writing a bill to designate Avi Kwa Ame (the Mojave name for Spirit Mountain and its surrounding landscape) as Nevada’s newest National Monument.
Tribal leaders and conservation groups have called for the designation since the launch of the Biden Interior Department’s ‘America the Beautiful’ initiative, under the leadership of the first Native American Interior Secretary, Deb Haaland, to conserve 30% of the nation’s land and water resources by 2030. Speakers at the event explained why Avi Kwa Ame is an ideal landscape for a National Monument designation, as well as steps the Administration must take to preserve the sacred cultural and natural history of the area. Congresswoman Titus will soon be introducing legislation marking the territory of Avi Kwa Ame as the site of a future National Monument.
“With the support of over two dozen tribes, conservation and recreation groups, business leaders, and elected officials, I believe it’s time we designate Avi Kwa Ame as a national monument. That is why I am introducing federal legislation to protect these areas and am working with the Interior Department and the Administration to garner their support,” said Representative Dina Titus. “Protecting our treasured public lands has always been an important issue to me, from leading the charge to protect Gold Butte and Basin & Range to preserving Tule Springs. I believe that we all should be good stewards of our unique landscapes and keep them in trust for future generations to enjoy.”
“When you’re standing with Congresswoman Dina Titus, particularly on the issue of protecting public lands, you know you’re in the right place. I want to begin by thanking her for demonstrating with action what it means to be a strong advocate for our planet.”, said Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft. “Congresswoman Titus has worked to develop clean energy and build Nevada’s clean energy economy and has fought for protection of our public lands including Basin and Range National Monument, Gold Butte, and Red Rock Canyon.
Since 2001, Clark County has invested $2.7 million on conservation projects that will benefit the proposed National Monument. Later this year, the County will be investing another $3.8 million in restoration work within the area. These efforts will work to decrease habitat fragmentation, and improve the quality for habitats and species, such as our iconic desert tortoise. We invest in this land not only because it is the right thing to do for future generations, but it is truly the prudent financial move as well. Nevada’s outdoor recreation economy supports 49,000 jobs and generates $3.9 billion for the state in annual economic activity… I am pleased to sponsor a resolution demonstrating the support form Clark County and call on my colleagues to join me in signing the resolution – I’ll be placing it on the February 1st agenda of the Board of County Commissioners. I’m confident they will support Congresswoman Titus, our Indigenous community, our residents, and our advocates that are here today.”
“The Fort Mojave Indian Tribe applauds the announcement by Congresswoman Titus and County Commissioner Naft for their support to establish the Avi Kwa Ame National Monument,” Vice Chairman Shan Lewis of the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe,
“Today’s event announcing legislation marks an important milestone in the long campaign to protect these lands that we all care about. The actions by Congresswoman Titus and Commissioner Naft are critical to getting this campaign across the finish line, and we lend our full support to their efforts.”
“I’d like to acknowledge those within the Fort Mojave Tribe who have worked over the years to bring us to this historic occasion, including the Tribal Council, Tribal Elders, and the Fort Mojave Tribal Cultural Department and Committees. Special thanks to Linda Otero and Nora McDowell just to name a few. The Fort Mojave Indian Tribe have been stewards of these ancestral lands since time immemorial. Our creation story places us directly in the center of this area. There are 9 other Tribes whose creation story begins at Avi Kwa Ame. Today, we continue to move forward and protect that which is sacred and significant to the Mojave People and so many other tribes. Our efforts are to protect these places of significance and sacredness while maintaining their integrity as a place of home and worship.”
“A marker of a good coalition is in the diversity of it’s membership,” said Taylor Patterson, Executive Director of Native Voters Alliance Nevada and Bishop Paiute Tribe member. “From the business community to Tribal governments, we all agree that Avi Kwa Ame is a sacred space full of biodiversity that must be protected by a national monument. We are thankful to Congresswoman Titus and Commissioner Naft for recognizing Avi Kwa Ame and taking steps to protect it.”
“Our town was born in the mining boom of 1900, and we proudly identify as a historic mining and ranching town,” said Kim Garrison Means, Searchlight resident and owner of Mystery Ranch. “When those activities declined, our economy suffered, along with our identity as a town. But we have had another, hidden economy all along, based on people’s love of our paradise – the scenic vistas, plants and animals, and clear skies, have always attracted people to visit, own second homes, and retire in the Searchlight area. That is, in part, why our town advisory board voted unanimously to support the monument proposal — because our community will benefit from gentle economic growth and additional resources as a gateway town. Our town also supports this proposal because we love recreating on our nearby public lands, and better protecting them for the future is the right thing to do. Our public land use, including hiking, camping, hunting and exploring on back roads, is something we treasure, and we especially appreciate that the monument coalition team, Commissioner Naft, Representative Titus and our other political representatives are making this goal a priority.”
“The monument as it is presented today is not only a testament to the commitment of the individuals who undertook this project but the willingness to work together for everyone, to endorse this monument and bring it to fruition,” Laughlin Town Advisory Board Chair Kathy Ochs, said. “We know this will improve the lives and future of all the communities it touches. This ecological corridor extends from the Mojave reserves in California all the way to our Lake Mead Recreation Area via the Arizona Heritage Trail, the Black Canyon, and our Mojave National Water Trail. We now have a continuous monument that spans a vast range of landscapes with diverse undisturbed beauty.”
Spokespeople in Spanish or English are available for individual interviews.