Local tribes and national conservation groups are lobbying to establish a fourth national monument in southern Nevada that would preserve Indigenous cultural sites and critical environmental habitat.
The proposed Avi Kwa Ame National Monument would protect 380,000 acres east of the Mojave Desert in southern Clark County. The Wilderness Society, the National Parks Conservation Association and local tribes are working together to achieve the land designation.
“I call this the crossroads of the America West. Almost everything that happened in westward expansion happened in this landscape,” said Alan O’Neill, an advisor to the National Parks Conservation Association and former superintendent of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
Avi Kwa Ame is Mojave for “Spirit Mountain.” The mountain and surrounding area are sacred to multiple Native American tribes, including Yuman-speaking tribes, Hopi and Chemehuevi Paiute. Sprit Mountain is the Yuman tribes’ spiritual birthplace and figures prominently within their ideology, and the Hopi and Chemehuevi also consider the mountain a sacred site.
“This is a place where our god lives. We do the best we can to take care of this place,” said Linda Otero, director of the Aha Makav Cultural Society and former council member Fort Mojave tribe. “It touches our lives in every which way.”