news releases

08 October 2021

Hispanic Access Applauds Action Restoring Protections for Critical Cultural Heritage Monuments

Category: News Releases

Today, President Joe Biden took executive action to restore protections for Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments and the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monuments. In response to the order, Hispanic Access Foundation’s President and CEO Maite Arce released the following statement:

“We deeply appreciate President Biden taking action to reverse the rollbacks initiated by the previous Administration and restore protections to these irreplaceable natural treasures. These sites tell a story about our diverse past – places that embody the architectural, cultural and deep historical roots of our nation.

“The landscape within Bears Ears National Monument is the ancestral home of many southwestern Native American tribes. Navajo, Ute, Zuni, Hopi, and other Native American people depend on the land within the region to sustain their traditional livelihoods and cultural practices, such as hunting, gathering, and ceremonies. Unfortunately, this area is urgently threatened by looting, vandalism, and mining. Northeast Canyons and Seamounts is the only national monument in the Atlantic and a home to thousands of species, including endangered whales, in a 100-million year old seabed. The monument is directly on the humpback whale migratory route to the Dominican Republic.  

“We all share a strong moral obligation to be good stewards of our public lands and waters and to intentionally preserve and celebrate the diverse cultural heritage that makes up this nation. With the restoration of these national monuments, we’ll be conserving the cultural resources in our public lands and waters, improving outdoor access, honoring the diverse experiences of our nation, and stimulating local and regional economies.

“Now, we look to Sec. Deb Haaland and President Biden to work with communities across the nation to protect more irreplaceable cultural places and public lands and waters, and fulfill the President’s pledge to protect 30 percent of U.S. lands, waters, and ocean by 2030. We must ensure these cultural places are federally protected through the National Registry of Historic Sites, Traditional Cultural Properties, and National Parks and Monuments through the Antiquities Act. This will ensure future generations can visit and enjoy these amazing sites and that the true, diverse American story is reflected within them.”

In 2017, former President Trump slashed the size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, even after receiving millions of comments from the public opposing such action. Hispanic Access Foundation’s campaign “Latinos for Heritage” saw one of the largest demonstrations of public support from the Latino community for the national monuments.

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