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San Carlos Apache Tribe to hold spiritual march to sacred site

In December, protesters against a mine on sacred Apache land lined Camelback Ave toward Senator John McCain's office and the Rio Tinto Mining offices at the Arizona Biltmore. Photo by The Apache Messenger

The San Carlos Apache Tribe of Arizona is hosting a spiritual march and gathering at one of its sacred sites.

The 40-mile walk will begin at the tribal administration building on Thursday morning. Participants are expected to arrive at Oak Flat, the site that will be affected by a huge copper mine that was approved by Congress, on Friday.

All Nations Spiritual Gathering. Image from Facebook

On Saturday morning, the tribe will host a prayer ceremony that features the Rev. John Mendez from the Emmanuel Baptist Church in North Carolina. Other churches, spiritual groups and organization are also invited to attend.

The gathering will conclude on Sunday with a breakfast and a blessing.

In December, Congress passed H.R.3979, the National Defense Authorization Act. Section 3003 of the 1,648-page package authorizes the transfer of federal land to Resolution Copper for a mine at Oak Flats.

President Barack Obama signed the bill into law on December 19 despite protests from Apache tribes and tribes around the country. In response to a petition that opposed the transfer, the White House said the Obama administration will work with the mining company to address concerns about the sacred site.

Although Section 3003 requires consultation of tribes that will be affected by the mine, it allows the swap to go through no matter how strong the objections. It only requires Resolution Copper to come up with "mutually acceptable measures" to address the impacts to the sacred sites.

Nearly every tribe in Arizona opposes the mine. It affects sites used by Apache tribes for food and medicinal gathering and for ceremonies, including coming-of-age rites that were held as recently as last October.

Get the Story:
San Carlos Tribe calls for spiritual gathering (The Eastern Arizona Courier 2/3)
Apache leader: Unite to fight proposed copper mine (The Arizona Daily Star 1/31)

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