Credo Action

Tell the Senate: Stop the Native American land grab

Sign the petition

The petition to the U.S. Senate reads:

"Support Sen. Bernie Sanders’ legislation to repeal the Oak Flat land exchange and stop the transfer of this sacred Native American land to a foreign mining company."

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    Tell the Senate: Stop the Native American land grab

    In a secret, backroom deal, Congress snuck language into a must-pass defense bill to transfer sacred Native American lands in Arizona to a multinational copper mining company.

    For years, Republican lawmakers in Arizona have tried to give away the national forest in and around the Apache holy land of Oak Flat to the foreign-owned Resolution Copper, a company with “dismal human rights and environmental records.”1 Since Oak Flat sits on large copper reserves, Resolution Copper’s highly destructive plan to mine the area will create a crater two miles wide and 1,000 feet deep.2

    If this giveaway stands, these sacred lands will be permanently destroyed. However, new legislation introduced by progressive champion Sen. Bernie Sanders will repeal this deplorable land grab and protect this holy land for good.

    Tell the U.S. Senate: Stop the Native American land grab and protect Apache sacred lands from copper mining.

    Foreign-owned mining conglomerate Rio Tinto, which owns Resolution Copper, has repeatedly sought control of this copper-rich land over the past decade, lobbying Congress more than a dozen times since 2005.3 They got their wish granted when Arizona’s Republican Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake ensured the massive land giveaway to Rio Tinto moved forward in a year-end defense spending deal in 2014. And it’s no surprise these two senators were behind it: McCain has received campaign contributions from Rio Tinto subsidiaries for years, and Flake – before being elected to Congress – actually lobbied for a Rio Tinto subsidiary in support of a massive uranium mine in Namibia.

    In addition to important religious, cultural, and historical significance of Oak Flat, Apache residents are worried about the dangerous environmental impact of copper mining in the area. Since copper mining is so destructive, 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

    Last year, more than 400,000 CREDO activists signed petitions urging the U.S. House to repeal this deplorable give away of sacred lands. Now it’s time to back Sen. Sanders’ legislation and pressure the Senate to give Native Americans back their sacred land.

    Tell the U.S. Senate: Stop the Native American land grab and protect Apache sacred lands from copper mining.

    Thank you for your activism.


    1. Dina Gilio-Whitaker, “Resolution Copper: 6 Egregious Examples of Parent Rio Tinto's Rights Violations Worldwide," Indian Country, July 23, 2015
    2. Lydia Millet, “Selling Off Apache Holy Land,” The New York Times, May 29, 2015
    3. Serene Fang, "In Arizona, a controversial federal land swap leaves Apaches in the lurch," Al Jazeera America, February 20, 2015.
    4. Jack Jenkins, “Citing Religious Freedom, Native Americans Fight To Take Back Sacred Land From Mining Companies, July 24, 2015