A view of Spirit Mountain, a culturally significant mountain to area tribes, in Laughlin, Nevada, November 17, 2020. Photo Credit: The Washington Post via Getty Images

Environment USA11. April 2023

New National Monuments Created, to Protect Nature, and Native History

The Southwest region of the United States now has two new national monuments, including one created specifically to protect Native history, with culture and identity preserved, but also habitat and species.

The Spirit Mountain area – also known by the Mojave name Avi Kwa Ame – becomes the second national monument to explicitly address its indigenous roots. It is the creation site for Yuman-peaking tribes like Fort Mojave, the Cocopah, the Quechan, and the Hopi.

Some 202,000 hectares of biologically and culturally significant lands in the Mojave Desert, southern Nevada, will be protected from development. Desert tortoises, bald eagles, peregrine falcons, western screech owls, and Gila monsters all thrive on this newly protected critical habitat, as well as some 28 species of native grasses, and some of the oldest and largest Joshua trees in America.

The Castner Range National Monument located near El Paso in Texas is a former artillery range where archaeological sites – some prehistoric – can be found, including cave etchings made by Native Americans and stone shelters built by ranchers more than a century ago. The 2,600-hectare site has countless Mexican yellow poppies and is home to the checkered whip-tail lizard, desert cottontail, and Western desert tarantula. The range is featured in the 1958 novel The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac in which he writes about seeing “all of Mexico, all of Chihuahua, the entire sand-glittering desert of it, under a late sinking moon that was huge and bright.”

The New York Times

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