Sacred Apache Land Under Attack

oak Flats image

Native American sacred sites are guaranteed protection under the 1978 American Indian Religious Freedom Act—or at least they were. For the last sixty years, the sacred Apache site in Arizona, Oak Flat, has been off-limits for mining activities, until a recent violation of federal law was signed on New Year’s Eve 2014.

A section snuck into the annual, must-pass National Defence Authorization Act by Congressmen John McCain and Jeff Flake allows Australian mining conglomerates Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton to desecrate this land for copper.

Used for generations by the Apache Nation for prayer, worship, and in young women’s coming-of-age ceremonies, the spiritual Oak Flats is being threatened. Members of the San Carlos Apache Nation marched from their reservation in Arizona to the lawn of the Capitol building in Washington, DC last Wednesday to protest Congress’ betrayal.

Their voices are matched with a legislation introduced in June, which is attempting to prevent the ruinous appropriation of the Oak Flats. It has received support from the National Congress of American Indians and tribes throughout the country.

Congressman Raul Grijalva, the bill’s author, told the Huffington Post he is concerned of landing a hearing for the bill on account of Congressman Don Young, the chair of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs, being hostile to Native rights.

During a hearing in May, Young promoted limiting, possibly eliminating, the federal recognition of tribes by using threatening tones and outbursts one would expect from a five-year-old being dragged to get a hair cut. Regardless, Grijalva and Native American activists plan to halt this violation of federal law from taking effect.

The sale of the Oak Flats disregards President Dwight Eisenhower’s 1955 decree and the 1978 American Indian Religious Freedom Act, and sets a precedent for Congress to allow big business to undermine Native rights and federal law in exchange for profit. Congress’ blessing of this pillaging will allow similar violations to occur throughout Indian country unless it is stopped.
The Lakota People’s Law Project fully supports the San Carlos Apache Nation’s efforts and Raul Grijalva’s bill.

Huffington Post Article:

Don Young article:


9 thoughts on “Sacred Apache Land Under Attack”

  1. How in the world did an idiot like Young get to that position? It’s like letting the fox run the hen house… Impeach or recall his stupid butt, the same for the two idiots that put that measure in the bill… Both McCain and Flake (adequately named) should be ashamed of themselves for this treachery. They do not represent the people well enough to continue in their seats, recall them immediately. And they should be questioned as to how much they received from those big businesses to line their pockets so the businesses could line theirs. Traitors should be shot… but in their cases, life in federal prison housed in Big Bubba Digger’s cell is preferable.

  2. So the American government hasnt changed in 200yrs still stealing land and breaking promises all for money and greed.leave this land alone.

    1. We are actively looking for petitions and will post here if we find one. In the meantime, I would write your Congressman and express your opposition. This still remains a highly effective method of achieving direct political action.

  3. There is simply no such thing as a politician who represents the people, not in America, not in Europa, not in the universe. Politicians represent big business, they follow the path of the money, be they left wing or be they right wing, they’re all the same.

    One thing that can be done is to boycot companies who are involved in this atrocity. It’s a small step, but many small steps can make a big leap. But what ever you do, never trust politicians.

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