CA Tribes press to protect more land at White House Tribal Nations Summit
Tuesday, December 5, 2023
California tribes are headed to the White House Tribal Nations Summit tomorrow, where they will ask Congress and the Biden administration to create or expand several national monuments.
The Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla tribe in the Coachella Valley would like the president to establish a new Chuckwalla National Monument and expand Joshua Tree National Park.
Thomas Tortez Jr., chairman of the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians, said the area is an important wildlife corridor.
"The proposed monument would preserve this cultural landscape by providing protections to multiuse trail systems established by our ancestors, sacred sites and objects, traditional cultural places, geoglyphs, petroglyphs, pictographs, plants and wildlife," Tortez outlined.
Since taking office, President Joe Biden has created five national monuments using the Antiquities Act. Congress is also considering legislation to create or enlarge national monuments. The two-day summit draws tribal leaders from across the nation to discuss a range of issues.
Rudy Ortega Jr., president of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians, wants Biden to add another 109,000 acres to the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.
"In Los Angeles, we're massively overgrown," Ortega contended. "We need to protect these landscapes so that doesn't further continue the construction of houses and businesses and so on, but an area to give green space."
Brandy McDaniels, lead for the Pit River Nation to establish the Sátíttla National Monument, noted it would protect a little more than 200,000 acres in the Medicine Lake Highlands near Mount Shasta.
"Satittla is culturally, historically and scientifically important to the world," McDaniels asserted. "Serving as a buffer to climate change, and provides immense amounts of pure water, natural storage and resources to a large portion of California."
Tribes are also seeking an expansion of the Berryessa Snow National Monument in Lake County.
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