Linda Otero isn’t used to thinking in terms of man-made borders and boundaries. As a member of the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe, she believes all of the natural world originated at Avi Kwa Ame, known in English as Spirit Mountain, extending continuously outward from the 5,600-foot peak near Laughlin.
But given that borders define the modern United States, Otero recognizes the need to establish them to protect places sacred to the Fort Mojave. That’s why the tribe and conservation organizations are advocating for the creation of the Spirit Mountain National Monument.
The proposed 384,000-acre monument along Nevada’s southern tip would create a bridge between Mojave National Preserve in California, Lake Mead National Recreation Area and other nearby protected areas. The region is rich in desert tortoises, Joshua trees, bighorn sheep and cultural resources for Yuman-speaking tribes like the Fort Mojave, said Alan O’Neill, retired superintendent of Lake Mead National Recreation Area.