news releases

08 June 2022

Hispanic Access Foundation Celebrates 116th Anniversary of the Antiquities Act

Category: News Releases

Today, marks the 116th anniversary of the Antiquities Act, an instrumental law that has protected and included the history and contributions of Latino and other diverse communities in our public lands and historical sites. In response to this historic day, Maite Arce, president and CEO of Hispanic Access Foundation, released the following statement.

“While the number of national monuments focusing on the history, culture and lives of diverse communities still falls short of truly representing our nation’s cultural heritage, Presidents yielding their authority to create national monuments under the Antiquities Act have made significant progress to protect diverse sites. This is especially true over the past 25 years, which has led to the establishment and protection of national monuments like Cesar Chavez, Bears Ears, Camp Nelson Heritage, and Rio Grande Del Norte.

“As we reflect on this anniversary, it’s important we recommit to preserving the Antiquities Act and honoring its importance in protecting, recognizing and celebrating the diverse cultures and contributions from all Americans. We also call on the administration to take action to protect historically significant lands like Castner Range, Avi Kwa Ame, Berryessa Snow Mountain and Chaparral Pacific Crest to continue to honor the diverse experiences of our nation.

“Castner Range holds a rich history dating back to 1920 when it was used as an artillery training facility. Protecting these lands would preserve the area and give the primarily Latino El Paso community a place to recreate outdoors. The proposed Avi Kwa Ame National Monument in Southern Nevada contains some of the most visually stunning, biologically diverse, and culturally significant lands in the entire Mojave Desert and is considered sacred by ten Yuman-speaking tribes as well as the Hopi and Chemehuevi Paiute.

Protecting the proposed Chaparral Pacific Crest National Monument would ensure important federal public lands along California’s southern Pacific Crest are better managed and would permanently protect the best of what’s left of southern California’s special natural and Tribal traditional cultural landscapes. Expanding Berryessa Snow Mountain to include the Lake County portion of Walker Ridge would protect the ecological treasure and allow federally-recognized tribes to co-manage and steward the land with federal partners.

“While there is still a long way to go, the Antiquities Act is an important tool in the process of establishing equity in our nation’s public lands and increasing opportunities for physical activity and access to open spaces for Latino and other low-income communities.”

In 1906, Theodore Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Act into law granting the executive office the authority to establish national monuments. To this day, it remains as one of the most powerful federal tools to preserve open space, natural treasures and cultural and historical sites in the U.S. After being elected into office, President Biden took swift action to begin reversing the environmental damage caused by the Trump Administration's policies by reviewing the boundaries and conditions of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments and the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monuments.

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Hispanic Access Foundation connects Latinos and others with partners and opportunities to improve lives and create an equitable society.

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