[ View the story "A minefield of protests over Apache 'sacred' lands" on Storify] A minefield of protests over Apache 'sacred' lands An Arizona Native American tribe is challenging multinational miners over disputed land.
The Stream· Thu, Feb 26 2015 17:01:01
At the centre of the fight against the Rio Tinto mine is the area of Oak Flat, which local Apache tribes say holds religious and cultural significance.
Right on. Keep fighting the good fight. I'm supporting you in spirit all the way from NYC. #SaveOakFlat...
The ongoing protests at Oak Flat come after years of efforts by conservationists and Native American activists to stop the
Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conversation Act
, a bill that would have approved the transfer of federal land to private hands for the planned copper mine.
Although the bill has failed numerous times over the last decade, last year lawmakers successfully attached the measure to the annual National Defense Authorization Act, a must-pass bill that outlines funding for the U.S. Department of Defense and related national security programmes.
US President Barack Obama signed the military spending bill in December 2014, and with it a number of similarly
In anticipation of the President's approval and in the months since, Native American groups and local supporters have staged a number of protests and circulated a popular
Stop Apache Land Grab | We the People: Your Voice in Our GovernmentConservation advocates and American Indian groups, particularly the San Carlos Apache Tribe, have for years been trying to block the swap, saying the mine would damage natural resources and culturally sensitive areas. A site called Apache Leap in the Tonto National Forest has been of particular concern.
In early February, members of the San Carlos Apache tribe and their supporters undertook a
70 kilometre march
from San Carlos to the Oak Flat campground.
Apache child participating in 2-day march to demand sacred land Oak Flat not be given to Resolution Copper for mining
A simultaneous protest was held at Republican Senator John McCain's offices in Phoenix.
Protest at Senator John McCain Office in Phoenix: Stop Land Swap with Resolution Copper at Oak Flat, Sacred Site of the Apache Nation | FacebookProtest at Senator John McCain Office in Phoenix: Stop Land Swap with Resolution Copper at Oak Flat, Sacred Site of the Apache Nation | Facebook
Occupy Oak Flat began at the end of the two-day march, as organisers invited supporters to set up camp and participate in ceremonies and prayers for the site's protection.
#ApacheLandGrab Occupy Oak Flat Sat., Fe...lastrealindians
Opponents of the project also produced videos explaining the cultural significance of Oak Flat, as well as the potential environmental toll of the mining operation on the area's wildlife.
Naelyn Defends 'Oak Flat' Ancestral Landpukefly
Apache Resistance At Oak Flat Against Arizona Copper Minebioactivist