Tell Congress: Repeal the giveaway of a sacred Native American site to a foreign mining company
If Congress doesn't immediately act, sacred Native American lands in Arizona that contain culturally and spiritually significant sites could soon be home to a two-mile wide, 1,000-foot deep copper mine.
In a secret, backroom deal in 2014, Republicans in Congress snuck language into a must-pass defense bill to give away land in and around the Apache holy areas of Oak Flat to Resolution Copper, a foreign-owned, multinational mining company with a shameful environmental record and history of human rights abuses.1
Now, two progressive champions in Congress are fighting to reverse this incredible injustice. Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Raúl Grijalva have recently introduced the "Save Oak Flat Act," which would cancel the transfer of these lands to Resolution Copper.2 We must speak out now and build public support to stop this modern day Native American land grab.
Tell Congress: Pass the "Save Oak Flat Act" and protect Apache sacred lands from copper mining.
Foreign-owned mining conglomerate Rio Tinto, which owns Resolution Copper, has repeatedly sought control of the copper-rich Oak Flat lands for the past decade, lobbying Congress more than a dozen times since 2005.3 They got their wish granted when Arizona’s then-Republican Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake, both of whom had ties to Rio Tinto, ensured that the massive land giveaway moved forward and tucked it into the year-end defense spending bill.
In addition to threatening historically and culturally important sacred Native sites, copper mining in the Oak Flat region would be environmentally disastrous. Apache residents and environmentalists are concerned that “since the mining industry is often exempt from portions of environmental laws such as the Clean Water Act, the invasive copper mining project could damage the area’s water - a resource many Native Americans claim a spiritual obligation to protect.”4
Activism to protect sacred Native lands and other sensitive areas from mining works. After hundreds of thousands of CREDO members recently spoke out against mining in the West, we helped to successfully stop destructive mining projects at Yellowstone and tribal lands near Chaco Canyon in New Mexico.
As Rep. Grijalva put it so clearly, "Giving away sacred Apache land to international mining companies isn’t right, and everyone involved in this decision knows it." Let's make sure every member of Congress knows it, too. Will you join us to help protect sacred Native lands again?
Thank you for your activism.
- Rupert Neate, "Rio Tinto accused of environmental and human rights breaches," The Guardian, April 18, 2013.
- House Committee on Natural Resources, "Chairman Grijalva, Sen. Sanders Introduce Bills to Prevent Mining Activities on Sacred Apache Tribal Land Given Away in 2015 Defense Bill," Jan. 19, 2019.
- Serene Fang and Adam May, "In Arizona, a controversial federal land swap leaves Apaches in the lurch," Al Jazeera America, April 14, 2015.
- Jack Jenkins, "Citing Religious Freedom, Native Americans Fight To Take Back Sacred Land From Mining Companies," ThinkProgress, July 24, 2015.