Environment | Politics

House rejects bid to protect Apache sacred sites from swap

The House passed H.R.1904, the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act, last month after rejecting an amendment that would have protected Apache sacred sites.

Rep. Ben Lujan (D-New Mexico) offered the amendment. He noted that nearly every tribe in Arizona, along with major inter-tribal organizations, oppose the transfer of land sacred to the Apache people.

"The federal lands which are proposed to be exchanged, generally known as Oak Flat, are part of the ancestral lands of the San Carlos Apache tribe and other tribes in the region," Lujan said during debate on the bill on October 26. "These lands have unique religious, traditional, and archaeological significance to many tribes in southern Arizona."

The House, however, voted against the amendment. Some of the lawmakers who rejected it also received contributions from the mining industry, The New Mexico Independent reported.

The bill authorizes a land swap within Tonto National Forest. Resolution Copper plans to use the land for a copper mine.

Get the Story:
Lujan’s Native-friendly amendment voted down by mining-friendly New Mexico representatives (The New Mexico Independent 11/2)

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