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Apache Stronghold at Oak Flat

The occupation of Oak Flat by the Apache People has been strongly supported by Gabriel of Urantia — and members of Global Community Communications Alliance — from the very start in 2015.

In a sneaky congressional maneuver by Arizona Republican Senators McCain and Flake and Representative Gosar, 2,400 acres of land, in Arizona's Tonto National Forest, was given to Resolution Copper (which is part of London-based Rio Tinto) and Melbourne-based BHP Billiton. Arizona Republicans had tried - and failed - to give this land to Copper Mining Companies five times in the past. Only by sneaking it into a must-pass bill did they succeed.

The area known as Oak Flat is sacred to the San Carlos Apache Tribe and Yavapai-Apache Nation. It has long been a place of religious significance to the Apache people, who continued to hold ceremonies there after the government removed the tribes and expropriated the land in 1886.

Resolution Copper plans to mine copper at Oak Flat using the "block cave mining" method. This would completely devastate the land, leaving a 7,000-acre, 500-foot-high waste dump of toxic tailings and a hole the size of five Empire State Buildings.

Under the leadership of Wendsler Nosie, Apaches began an occupation of Oak Flat in February 2015. They are not asking that the land be returned to them, only that it not be mined. Since February 2015, an international groundswell of support has arisen to support the objectives of the occupation at Oak Flat. And Global Community Communications Alliance has been very involved in that support.

Our Spiritualution℠ Team has attended several events at Oak Flat and created videos about the issues there. These videos can be viewed at http://spiritualution.org/campaigns/indigenous-rights.

Gabriel of Urantia and Niánn Emerson Chase have a personal connection to this movement. Wendsler Nosie was the student of Niánn Emerson Chase, during her years of teaching on the San Carlos Apache Reservation, where she grew up and then returned to teach for 15 years, after she left the area to attend college and become a teacher.

Members of Global Community Communications Alliance have attended all major events at Oak Flat, as well as some supporting events held in Tucson. Blue Evening Star and Celasai attended the Women of Indigenous Heart Conference, on November 5th, 2015. SanSkritA, Ele-Elleid and Blue Evening Star attended the Anniversary March and Celebration of the One Year Anniversary of the Oak Flat Occupation on February 25-27, 2016.

We have been active on social media to support Oak Flat. Here is the latest update we have posted on the situation at Oak Flat.

Historical Designation for Oak Flat Region (as published in the Sierra Club Rincon Group Newsletter) by Nancy Freeman

Things are happening on behalf of Oak Flat! On March 4, 2016 the National Park Service added Oak Flat region to the National Register of Historic Places, as the Chi'chil Bildagoteel Historic Region. In addition to the sacrifice of warriors at Apache Leap, this section of the Tonto National Forest is held as hallowed ground by the San Carlos, Fort McDowell, White Mountain, and Yavapai Apaches among others. Historically, it was the site of a massacre by the U.S. Calvary of Apache families camping there for the summer. I have met and spoken with a couple whose grandparents disappeared there and also a woman whose great aunt disappeared there. Their bodies were never recovered for a proper burial.

Although this designation does offer some protection on federal projects or licenses, including Army Corps permits and proposed highway work (including state highways, as they depend upon Federal funds), there is no guarantee that the designation will stop the mine. The process for designating historic places is handled by the Advisory Council for Historic Preservation, a separate entity that is not under the Interior Department, and that is only responsible for maintaining the registry. Rep. Grijalva, who has worked so hard to protect Oak Flat, expressed gratitude for this designation, while Flagstaff District Rep. Gosar is making his usual nasty remarks.

Only two weeks after the designation was announced, the Tonto National Forest issued a Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Resolution Mine project that is such a threat to Oak Flat:

"Environmental Impact Statement for the Resolution Copper Project and Land Exchange. The EIS will analyze the environmental effects of: 1) a mining proposal submitted to the Tonto National Forest by Resolution Copper Mining, LLC; 2) the exchange of 2,422 acres of federal land near Oak Flat for 5,344 acres of privately held land elsewhere in Arizona; and 3) any necessary amendments to the Tonto National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan : 81 Fed. Reg. 14829."

According to the earmark that Senator McCain placed in the Defense spending bill, this EIS is just a formality; the project is already approved in spite of negative outcomes to the environment and cultural impact on the Apache people. Nonetheless, it is important to make your voice heard in the comments. You can comment at www.ResolutionMineEIS.us. I suggest you pick a relevant subject that you are passionate about and focus in depth on that subject when making comments.