"I once heard Martin Broken Leg, a Rosebud Sioux who is an Episcopal priest, address an audience of Lutheran on the subject of bridging the Native American/white culture gap. ‘Ghosts don’t exist in some cultures’ he said, adding dismissively, ‘they think time exists.’ There was nervous laughter; we knew he had us. Time is real to us in America, time is money. Ghosts are nothing, and place is nothing.
~ Kathleen Norris, Dakota: A Spiritual Geography
Not enough attention is being paid to Oak Flat near Superior, Arizona. A sacred site for Western Apache and other Tribes it is in danger of being completely destroyed by a foreign mining company, Rio Tinto. John McCain placed the Oak Flat land exchange in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Please educate yourself about this situation, the ramifications are not only disastrous for Oak Flat, culturally and ecologically, but it sets precedence for further land grabs by foreign companies only interested in exploiting the land.
Here is a short read from the Arizona Mining Reform Coalition:
Rio Tinto and BHP - Billiton have created a subsidiary called Resolution Copper that is proposing to mine a rich copper vein more than 7,000 feet deep just east of Superior, Arizona and an hour east of Phoenix, Arizona. They have pressured some members of the Arizona Congressional delegation to introduce a land exchange bill that would privatize Oak Flat campground and surrounding public land. President Eisenhower placed the campground off limits to mining in 1955. Oak Flat is a Native American sacred site and it critical for the religious freedom of Arizona Tribes. Oak Flat is a prime recreation area, especially for rock climbing and bouldering with more than 2,500 established climbing routes. Oak Flat is also a rare desert riparian area and in Arizona, less than 10% of this type of habitat remains. The land exchange would allow mining companies to avoid following our nation’s environmental and cultural laws and would bypass the permitting process all other mines in the country have followed. It is the only bill in front of the US Congress that would privatize a Native American sacred site on public land. It would mean the largest loss of rock climbing on public lands ever, and would bypass the normal process for permitting mines on public land. Since 2005, 11 land exchange bills have been introduced and all have failed.
Concerned citizens are worried about the loss of Oak Flat Campground, a very popular recreation area. Birders, climbers, campers, canyoneers, bikers, and hikers enjoy the area throughout the year, all of whom would be greatly harmed if these lands were forever taken from public access. Native Americans have traditionally used the area for cultural, spiritual purposes, and for sustenance. The land exchange would include Apache Leap, a cliff where more than 80 Apache warriors chose to leap to their deaths rather than surrender to the US calvary.
Your can find much more information on their site too: (click here)
You can also sign the petition here.