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Navajo Nation president visits Washington for Biden signing of national monument restoration order

Posted at 1:00 PM, Oct 08, 2021

WASHINGTON — Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, along with tribal, state and federal leaders, visited the White House Friday as President Joe Biden signed a proclamation calling for the restoration of three national monuments.

In a Facebook post, President Nez showed his support for the Biden-Harris administration, calling this a historic signing for the restoration of the Bears Ears National Monument, located in southeast Utah.

In April, President Nez and other tribal leaders met with U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and called for the restoration and expansion of the national monument.

Biden also signed orders to restore the Staircase-Escalante monument, which both monuments encompass more than 3.2 million acres.

They include red-rock lands sacred to Native Americans and home to ancient cliff dwellings and petroglyphs.

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The move is set to reverse a decision by President Donald Trump that had opened some of the lands for mining and development.

Trump had made a rule change to allow commercial fishing in a nearly 5,000-square-mile area, an action that was heralded by fishing groups but derided by environmentalists.

He also signed a proclamation to restore protections at a marine conservation area off the New England coast that has been used for commercial fishing under an order by Trump.