Interview: San Carlos Apache Tribe fights mine at sacred site

Young members of the San Carlos Apache Tribe of Arizona participate in a protest at Times Square in New York City on July 17, 2015. Photo from Apache Stronghold / Facebook

Indian Country Today interviews Terry Rambler, the chairman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe of Arizona, about the battle to save sacred Oak Flat from a mining development:
What was your response to the news that Rep. Grijalva had introduced the Save Oak Flat bill?

It’s something that not only San Carlos but other tribes wanted to see happen and I think it’s about time. This issue is really gaining traction not only with Indians but also non-Indians because they just don’t like the way Congress did this. After 10 years of having an open process where people could deliberate this issue and not being able to pass a bill [giving Oak Flat to a copper mining company] all of a sudden it just disappeared into the midnight hours and passed and that left a bad taste in everybody’s mouth. There was just no respect for the Apaches and other tribes, the protection of a sacred site or even our religion. So we’re all excited. We want to repeal this bill no matter how long it takes us.

What’s been happening at Oak Flat?

Tribal members formed another non-profit organization called Apache Stronghold and so they’ve taken the lead on the education and awareness and they’re occupying Oak Flat right now. And they’re going to stay there and continue to educate and raise awareness and they continue to hold events there so it’s bringing more and more people to the place itself. And now Apache Stronghold is on a caravan march to D.C. They started on July 6 to arrive around July 21. When they get there the intent is to hold a demonstration on the Capitol grounds about Oak Flat. They have a map of their route so more and more people will be joining them along the way. I’ll be there in D.C. for the National Indian Gaming Association’s (NIGA) Summer Legislative Summit … We’re going all over the country talking to different (tribal) organizations and they’re all gung-ho. They want us to succeed because they know our success is their success.

Get the Story:
Rambler: ‘Mining Will Never Satisfy Its Appetite’ (Indian Country Today 7/20)

Some Opinions:
Albert Bender: Apache Stronghold caravan seeks to save sacred site from mining giant (People's World 7/10)
Alison Harrington: Defending Oak Flat and Deconstructing White Christian Privilege (The Huffington Post 7/14)

Also Today:
Tribal Oak Flat protest heading to D.C. (The Eastern Arizona Courier 7/19)
Apache Stronghold Caravan Calls to Protect Sacred Sites After Clause Slipped into NDAA Allows Mining (Democracy Now 7/17)
Apache tribe brings battle for Oak Flat to New York's Times Square (The Guardian 7/17)
Apache group visits Carlisle Indian Industrial School (The Carlisle Sentinel 7/17)

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