Havasupai Tribal Council
In a move that will guarantee that protecting the Grand Canyon will remain front and center in the upcoming legislative session, Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) has agreed to introduce a Senate version of the Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act. The House of Representatives passed its version of the Act earlier this year, with the backing of Representative Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.). Senator Sinema’s support is crucial to ensuring that the ecosystem, groundwater and the cultural heritage of the Grand Canyon is protected for current and future generations.
The Havasupai Tribal Council welcomed this news as it has continued its efforts to protect its sacred homeland.
“Thirty years ago, when we first began fighting against the disastrous effects of uranium mining in our homelands, we were alone in this fight,” said Muriel Uqualla, Havasupai Tribal Chairwoman. “Senator Sinema’s announcement earlier today sends a strong message that it is important to protect the Grand Canyon. Not only for the Havasupai people, but for all people, for generations to come.”
Havasupai Tribal Councilwoman Carletta Tilousi, who has been fighting to protect her community from the harmful effects of uranium since she was 15 years old, noted that, “It is so important to have the support of both the House and the Senate in the protection of future generations of Havasupai people, and to protect the 40 million Americans downstream of the Grand Canyon who rely upon the Colorado River as their drinking water supply.”
The Tribe has long sought a permanent moratorium in order to eliminate the threat that uranium mining near the Canyon poses to its reservation community, which relies upon the aquifers below the moratorium area. The aquifers feed Havasu Creek and the seeps and springs on the reservation, which serve as the sole sources of water for the Tribe and are of great cultural importance to the Havasupai people.
“The Havasupai Tribe welcomes Senator Sinema’s support of this important legislation. This support demonstrates that she, along with the supporters from the House, recognize the importance of the Grand Canyon now and into the future,” said Uqualla.