As published on the Reno Gazette Journal by Amy Alonzo on October 12, 2020 In a land of twisted limbs and giant Dr. Seuss-like branches reaching toward the sky, it
The proposed Avi Kwa Ame (Ah-VEE kwa-ah-may) National Monument in Southern Nevada contains some of the most visually stunning, biologically diverse, and culturally significant lands in the entire Mojave Desert.
Stretching from the Newberry mountains in the east to the New York, South McCullough, Castle, and Piute mountains in the west, these lands feature dramatic peaks, scenic canyons, natural springs, sloping bajadas covered with ancient Joshua tree forests, unique grasslands, and a rich history of rock art and other cultural sites.
The entire area is considered sacred by ten Yuman speaking tribes as well as the Hopi and Chemehuevi Paiute. For the Yuman tribes, the area is tied to their creation, cosmology, and well-being. Spirit Mountain, called Avi Kwa Ame by the Mojave Tribe, is located on the eastern boundary of the Monument. It is designated a Traditional Cultural Property on the National Register of Historic Places in recognition of its religious and cultural importance.
Energy developers recently tried to build a large, 30,000-acre wind farm in the heart of this dramatic landscape and new proposals could come at any time. Such development would forever scar these valuable lands and degrade their world-class habitat and nationally recognized cultural resources.
A coalition of tribes, conservation groups, recreation interests, and others is working to establish the Avi Kwa Ame National Monument to permanently protect these treasured lands. Avi Kwa Ame is the Mojave name for Spirit Mountain and the surrounding landscape. The mountain, located on the eastern boundary of the proposed monument, and the surrounding landscape are sacred to twelve Native American tribes.