THE FIGHT FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AND THE PROTECTION OF SACRED SITES
Apache Stronghold Caravan Arrives in D.C. to Protest Giveaway of Sacred Land
The caravan left Arizona in early July, traveling some 2,000 miles as part of a growing movement to save Oak Flat, a Scared Place where Native Peoples have held religious and coming-of-age ceremonies for generations. Native youth from Apache and other Native Nations arrived in New York City to hold a FLASHMOB in Time Square with Apache Songs and Apache Social Dance on Friday, July 17. On July 22 the caravan will be in Washington, D.C. to hold a Rally on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol (11am-2pm) to Save Oak Flat and support a bill introduced by Congressman Raul Grijalva.
Washington, D.C. – Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva introduced the “Save Oak Flat Act,” which repeals a recent congressional giveaway of sacred Native American land to a company called Resolution Copper co-owned by multinational mining conglomerates Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton.
“Save Oak Flat Act” will Reverse the Backroom Deal that Threatens Apache Religion and Sacred Areas
The Southeast Arizona land exchange was one of the bills that was attached to the National Defense Authorization Act and passed by the U.S. House and the Senate. It is a bill pushed by Arizona Representatives Gosar & Kirkpatrick and Arizona Senators McCain and Flake (and prior to Flake, Kyle) which for over the past 10 years has not been able to get enough votes for passage in either the House or the Senate. The Arizona Congressmen could not get the bill to pass using the normal Congressional procedures. This is because the bill gives land at Apache Leap and Oak flat in southeastern Arizona to a foreign Mining Company, Resolution Copper without any environmental impact studies or without consultation with San Carlos Apache and other Native Nations that consider the area sacred. The last time the bill came up for vote in the House of Representatives it was shut down by New Mexico Representative Lujan who proposed an amendment to the bill that required that Native American concerns regarding Sacred Sites be addressed.