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Havasupai Urge Obama To Reconsider Designating Grand Canyon A Monument

Published: Thursday, January 12, 2017 - 5:07pm

A Native American tribe in Arizona is calling on President Obama to reconsider designating a national monument around the Grand Canyon.

The Havasupai claim it’s literally a matter of life and death for their people to protect the 1.7 million acre uranium-rich tract that encompasses the Canyon. 

Tribe councilmember Carletta Tolousi says mining near the park, and the air and water pollution that come with it, threatens their very existence.

"We are a dying race. We only have 676 tribal members left in our community. We need to be saved,” Tolousi says.

After scientists found high groundwater contamination, Obama placed a 20-year moratorium on mining around the watershed in 2012. But last week he rejected an appeal for a monument designation that would make the ban permanent.

The Havasupai says Obama still has until Jan. 20 — his last day in office — to reconsider.