indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Kill The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Dale Miles: Site was never sacred to San Carlos Apache Tribe

Filed Under: Opinion
More on: arizona, dale miles, mining, oak flat, sacred sites, san carlos apache
     


Dale C. Miles. Photo courtesy Rez Media Group

San Carlos historian speaks out
The real truth about Oak Flat
By Dale Miles

It was with great interest that my son—who just graduated from Arizona State University – showed me a recent story regarding the controversy around Oak Flat, near the small mining town of Superior, Arizona.

As a San Carlos tribal member and Apache historian, I was surprised by some of the misinformation that was contained within the op-ed. My book, “The History of the San Carlos Apache,” which was published by the San Carlos Apache Historic and Cultural Preservation Office in 1997 offers a much different perspective than Ms. Lydia Millet. There has not been a long history of ceremonial or cultural activities such as Sunrise or Holy Ground ceremonies taking place at Oak Flat.

From my personal perspective, the thought of having such a ceremony at Oak Flat, far from the support of relatives, clan members and friends in the San Carlos tribal area is almost unthinkable. My uncle, who lived in Superior, would regularly attend most tribal ceremonies. He would travel to the San Carlos Apache reservation or the White Mountain Apache reservation.

I, myself, attended my first tribal Sunrise ceremony at Cibecue, Arizona in the White Mountains -- the idea of having a sunrise ceremony at Oak Flat was never considered. Such an event requires the support of family, relatives and friends plus the input of the medicine man or spiritual person who performs the complex ceremony. He has much to say about the site and choosing the right place is important because the dance often becomes a community event. Evidently the person who wrote the op-ed didn’t have much knowledge on what the ceremony involves in commitment, logistics and preparation.

In 1970 the Magma Copper Company built a mine shaft on Oak Flat that you can see from the passing highway. At that time no member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe said anything about it being a sacred site. I know because I was living in Superior at the time. Some tribal people from San Carlos even talked about getting employment with the mine.

There were no protests, no publicity of any kind. Why not? If this area was sacred, wouldn’t opposition arise many years before today? There was never any statement made by tribal members or tribal leadership. It wasn’t until recent years that the site of Oak Flat was called sacred in any kind of way. All one has to do is examine the records to see if the word sacred was ever used for the site.

However, the real truth about speaking out with a different opinion on Oak Flat that is contrary to the tribal government’s stance is fear. People working for the tribe will often say (to me and others) that if they go against what the tribal council supports they will be fired.

Does it not bother anyone that rarely do we hear a voice of someone on the street who doesn’t support tribal government’s view on Oak Flat? If people have a different opinion on a subject they should not have to be called traitors or be accused of being against their own people.

Before making any kind of judgment on a subject of importance all the facts should be studied and examined to the utmost for the good of all concerned.

Dale Miles is a member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe who served as the tribe's first historian. Under his management, the tribe built a cultural center and organized a preservation office. Miles was the first Apache historian to work with the Smithsonian Institute, contributing to the book "Stories of the People: Native American Voices" that celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Smithsonian and the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian. He resides in Arizona.

Related Stories:
Tara Houska: DC rally puts focus on threats to sacred Oak Flat (07/30)
War of words escalates on mine at sacred Apache site in Arizona (7/27)
EJ Montini: Money wins in war to protect sacred Apache site (7/24)
San Carlos Apache Tribe clashes with Rep. Gosar after rally (7/23)
San Carlos Apache Tribe lands in DC to rally for sacred site (7/22)
Interview: San Carlos Apache Tribe fights mine at sacred site (7/20)
Ernie Stevens: Support sacred Oak Flat and the Apache Stronghold (07/08)
Company pushing mine at sacred site gives $10K to Apache youth (07/08)
House adds sacred sites amendment to Interior appropriations bill (07/08)
Save Oak Flat caravan exits Arizona for journey to nation's capital (7/7)
Sen. McCain deemed responsible for land swap at sacred Oak Flat (7/2)
Save Oak Flat caravan plans journey to DC to protect sacred site (7/1)
Bill repeals land swap for mine on sacred Apache site in Arizona (06/19)
Supporters open national prayer days to protect sacred places (6/19)
March planned in nation's capitol over mine at sacred Apache site (06/04)
Steve Russell: Take fight over sacred Apache site to higher court (6/3)
Lydia Millet: Selling off sacred Apache land to foreign interests (5/29)
Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick to challenge Sen. John McCain in 2016 race (5/27)
Wendsler Nosie: US government approves theft of sacred land (02/20)
San Carlos Apache Tribe leads 40-mile march for sacred site (02/06)
San Carlos Apache Tribe to hold spiritual march to sacred site (2/3)
Michael Paul Hill: Saving sacred Apache land from exploitation (2/3)
Opinion: Tribal sovereignty ignored when it becomes unprofitable (01/19)
White House responds to petition against mine at sacred site (01/13)
Steven Newcomb: Sacred lands are Christmas gift for mining firm (12/29)
Apache Messenger: Crowd protests copper mine on sacred lands (12/22)
Congress passes bill with mine on sacred Apache land in Arizona (12/15)
Senate heads to final vote on package with mine on sacred land (12/12)
Rep. Gosar won't apologize for calling Native Americans 'wards' (12/11)
Jon Kyl: Land swap for mine on sacred Apache land isn't unusual (12/11)
Terry Rambler: Defense measure raids sacred places for one mine (12/10)
Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians join fight against mine deal (12/9)
Great Plains tribes call for removal of land swap from defense bill (12/8)
Senate expected to approve defense bill for mine on sacred lands (12/8)
Opinion: No sacred Apache lands in swap for copper mine project (12/8)
House approves bill to authorize mine on sacred site in Arizona (12/4)
Apache Messenger: Younger generation returns to sacred site (10/10)
San Carlos Apache Tribe testifies against land swap measure (11/21)
Tribal lobbying halts measure for copper mine by sacred site (11/14)


Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Blackfeet Nation citizens approve historic water rights settlement (4/21)
Native Sun News Today: Cheyenne River Sioux woman still walking (4/21)
James Giago Davies: Our future is not bleak but bright with promise (4/21)
Rosalyn LaPier: Tradition blends with science in tribal communities (4/21)
Simon Moya-Smith: Media continues to peddle in Indian stereotypes (4/21)
Steven Newcomb: Bill in California dehumanizes indigenous peoples (4/21)
American Indian Library Association battles Trump's big budget cut (4/21)
Navajo Nation citizen faces death penalty for murder of tribal officer (4/21)
Meskwaki Tribe diversifies economy with barbecue sauces and more (4/21)
Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe must keep fighting despite gaming win (4/21)
Native Sun News Today: Body of missing Cheyenne River man found (4/20)
Ivan Star Comes Out: True tribal histories are concealed in America (4/20)
Steve Russell: Thoughts about sovereignty and tribal governments (4/20)
Dwanna Robertson: Dispelling a common myth about tribal gaming (4/20)
Whiteclay liquor stores ordered to shut down after losing licenses (4/20)
Cherokee Nation blames pharmaceutical industry for opioid crisis (4/20)
Eastern Cherokee citizens back chief amid call for impeachment (4/20)
North Carolina woman punished for abducting Cherokee children (4/20)
Ramapough Lenape Nation denied permit for anti-pipeline camp (4/20)
Ho-Chunk Nation remains confident as rival tribe sues over casino (4/20)
Nottawaseppi Huron Band invests casino funds in unique project (4/20)
Pechanga Band reaches midway point of $285M casino expansion (4/20)
More data needed to address human trafficking in Indian Country (4/19)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee set for 1st field oversight hearing (4/19)
Navajo Nation Council rejects bill to change name to 'Dine Nation' (4/19)
Non-Indian tenant loses bid to stay on Colorado River Reservation (4/19)
Native Sun News Today: Cheyenne River citizen opens bookstore (4/19)
Cheyenne-Arapaho citizen honored for law enforcement service (4/19)
Cronkite News: Attorney General links sanctuary cities to gangs (4/19)
Anna Hohag: Bringing indigenous science to water management (4/19)
Dakota Access Pipeline announces May 14 as first date of service (4/19)
Fort Peck Tribes finally gain access to federal criminal databases (4/19)
Mohegan Tribe wins approval to develop site of former hospital (4/19)
Stockbridge-Munsee Band sues to stop expansion of rival casino (4/19)
Cowlitz Tribe enters law enforcement deal as casino debut nears (4/19)
Trump administration faces test as tribes clash over new casino (4/18)
Attorney General vows help for public safety in Indian Country (4/18)
Zinke cites 'heart-breaking' crime rates against Native women (4/18)
Bill brings funding for AMBER Alert systems to Indian Country (4/18)
Native Sun News Today: Paper moves closer to Native readers (4/18)
Elizabeth Cook-Lynn: Looking at racism through some new eyes (4/18)
Secretary Zinke won't return land taken from Salish and Kootenai (4/18)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.