CONGRESSIONAL LEGISLATION WOULD PROTECT SACRED RESOURCES IN ARIZONA
Statement by Stephanie K. Meeks, President and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation
Today, Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) reintroduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives that seeks national monument designation for the extraordinary cultural and historic resources of the Great Bend of the Gila in southern Arizona’s Maricopa and Yuma counties. The following is a statement by Stephanie K. Meeks, President and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation:
“The Great Bend of the Gila is an irreplaceable treasure that has long been in need of the recognition, resources, and protection that a national monument designation will provide.The lands included in the proposed national monument form a crossroads of cultures, a rich overlay of history, tradition and sacred areas.”
“This designation will help protect lands and resources sacred to many Arizona tribes, while also bringing economic benefits to both Maricopa and Yuma counties through increases in cultural and heritage tourism. A national monument designation at this site will be an important win for residents of Maricopa and Yuma, for the protection of Native American history, and for the millions of Americans who champion the preservation of America’s rich and diverse heritage.”
The Trust applauds Congressman Grijalva for his strong support as the sponsor of this legislation. As direct result of a ground-up campaign with stakeholder input, the development of the bill’s language reflects the ideas and concerns expressed over several years of meetings with local communities and partners. Through ongoing efforts at the Great Bend of the Gila, the Trust looks forward to engaging increased public awareness during the legislative process.
For more information on the significance of the cultural resources and natural landscape encompassed within the Great Bend of the Gila national monument proposal, please see the recent, in-depth study released by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Archaeology Southwest, The Great Bend of the Gila: A Nationally Significant Cultural Landscape.
About the Great Bend of the Gila
The Great Bend of the Gila, named a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is among the Bureau of Land Management’s most important cultural sites in the Southwest. It includes the archaeological remains of ancestral Hohokam and Patayan cultures, as well as three historic trails—the Juan Bautista de Anza, the Butterfield Stagecoach, and the Mormon Battalion—marking the struggles of those men and women who braved the Western frontier. The Great Bend of the Gila’s irreplaceable cultural and historic resources include: a world-class rock art site (Sears Point); a Hohokam ballcourt and numerous ancient villages; remnants of historic homesteading, mining and ranching; and, the westernmost skirmish of the Civil War.