Jun 24, 2015 - Bill Introduced to Repeal Giving Apache Lands to Foreign Mining Corporation
“What this unpopular corporate giveaway was doing in the national security bill is anyone’s guess, and we shouldn’t wait any longer to repeal it. Congress shouldn’t be in the business of helping big corporations at others’ expense, and it certainly shouldn’t break faith with Native American communities.” ~Rep. Raul M. Grijalva
Last week, a bi-partisan group of lawmakers introduced a bill to repeal a provision in the recently passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), H.R.3979, that would give Apache lands to a foreign mining corporation.
Tucked inside the NDAA was a provision, Section 3003, that would transfer 2,400 acres of Apache ancestral and ceremonial lands, located in the Tonto National Forest, to Resolution Copper, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto an Australian-English mining company.
H.R.2811, the Save Oak Flat Act, was introduced on July 17th would repeal Section 3003. H.R. 2811 is sponsored by Rep. Raul M. Grijalva (D-Arizona).
Passage of the NDAA and Section 3003 has drawn fierce opposition from the San Carlos Apache tribe and other Apache tribes, who, along with supporters, have held mass demonstrations including many occupying Oak Flat. Oak Flat is traditional ceremonial grounds for the Apache.
“Since time immemorial people have gone there. That’s part of our ancestral homeland. We’ve had dancers in that area forever – sunrise dancers – and coming-of-age ceremonies for our young girls that become women. They’ll seal that off. They’ll seal us off from the acorn grounds, and the medicinal plants in the area, and our prayer areas.” ~Terry Rambler, chairman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe
“We remember those who sacrificed and defended our people-we recognize our great leaders and their respect for those who know freedom. We must guide our people to, once again, hold our destiny in our own hands, so I challenge each of us to overcome the oppression and begin the process of believeing in ourselves. This must be the first step…”Usen, we ask for your blessing to guide our current and future leadership so that our children and the unborn will inherit our Apache Way of Life.” ~Wendsler Nosie Sr. (San Carlos Apache)