Nov 30, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Biden to establish Nevada's Spirit Mountain as national monument

President Biden speaking at the White House Tribal Nations Summit at the Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 30.

President Biden speaking at the Tribal Nations Summit at the Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 30. Photo: Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden said Wednesday he will establish Nevada's Spirit Mountain, a sacred location to several Native American tribes, as a new national monument.

Why it matters: It was one of several new commitments Biden made to Native American nations at the White House's first in-person Tribal Nations Summit.

  • Spirit Mountain, located in the southern tip of Nevada, will be established as a new national monument through the 1906 Antiquities Act, making it off-limits for development, Biden said.

Details: The Biden administration will also give $135 million to help 11 Native communities in Maine, Louisiana, Arizona, Washington and Alaska that are facing urgent threats from climate change to relocate to safe locations, the president said.

  • He also requested $9.1 billion for the Indian Health Service and asked Congress to make the funding a mandatory part of the federal budget.
  • Biden said that he has standardized how federal agencies consult with tribes through a new presidential memorandum. He added that he is committed to strengthening tribal rights established by existing treaties between the nations and the U.S. government and will make official presidential visits to Indian Country.

What he's saying: "On my watch, we're ushering in a new era and advancing a way for the federal government to work for tribal nations," Biden said.

  • "Consultation has to be a two-way, nation-to-nation exchange of information. Federal agencies should strive to meet consensus among the tribes. And there should be adequate time for ample communication."
  • "Finally, finally, finally — let's keep it going," Biden said at the end of his speech.

The big picture: Wednesday's Tribal Nations Summit was the Biden administration's second. Last year, it virtually held the first one since 2016.

  • Biden established Camp Hale, a World War II-era training ground, as a new national monument last month, making it the first designation of his presidency.

Go deeper ... In photos: Indigenous Heritage Month

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details throughout.

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