Avi Kua Ame is considered the founding site for Yuman-speaking tribes such as Fort Mojave, Cocoba, Quechua, and Hopi. Native tribes, environmental groups and local and state leaders have been demanding the designation for more than a decade.
“Breathtaking deserts, valleys, mountain ranges, biodiversity, sacred lands are central to the creative story of many tribes who have been here since time immemorial,” said Mr. Biden said. “Look, you know, it’s a place of honor, it’s a spiritual place, it’s a place of healing, and now it’s going to be collectively recognized for its importance and protected forever.”
Indigenous groups celebrated the moment and its meaning to preserve their heritage. “This is truly a historic day because it unfortunately represents a shift in the federal government’s posture toward aboriginal peoples than what we’re used to,” said Taylor Patterson, executive director of the Native Voters Alliance Nevada.
Costner Range is located on Fort Bliss, a military base that served as a training and testing site for the U.S. Army during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War until it was closed in 1966. Cave carvings made by Native Americans and stone shelters built by ranchers over a century ago. The landscape is filled with Mexican yellow poppies and is home to the checkered whiptail lizard, desert cottontail, and western desert tarantula.
And thousands of unexploded bombs lie scattered. Once the area is made safe for the public, the Castner Range will provide access to nature for historically underserved communities, according to a White House statement. In the 1950s, the novelist Jack Kerouac wrote in “The Dharma Bums” that he saw “across Mexico, across Chihuahua, all its sand-glistening desert, under a late-sinking moon.” and bright.”