Friday, 17 July 2015

Apache tribe brings battle for Oak Flat to New York's Times Square

Activists from the tribe are travelling across the United States to protest a bill that will hand over land they hold sacred to a foreign mining corporation.

Members of the Apache tribe stood chanting in a circle with drums and posters in the center of New York’s Times Square on Friday, to protest a bill that will hand over land they hold sacred to a foreign mining corporation.
Times Square was the latest stop for activists from the Apache tribe who are travelling across the United States to battle for Oak Flat and to draw attention to a bill introduced by Arizona Representative Raul M Grijalva to repeal the decision to hand the land over to Resolution Copper.
A fine-print rider was added to December’s National Defense Authorization Act that gave the title of Oak Flat to Resolution Copper Mining, co-owned by multinational mining conglomerates Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton.
The company claims they will create 3,700 jobs over the next few decades and while some dispute that number, the Apache tribe has other concerns.
Wendsler Nosie, the councilman leading Apache Stronghold, said Oak Flat is “a central part of our religion, our ceremonies, our upbringing for our children”. To those who observe the Bible, it is the equivalent, he said, of Mount Sinai, the mountain where God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses.
“It’s like Mount Sinai. Tell the people who believe the Bible that,” Nosie said. “What would they say? It’s no different. Why do we treat it different?”
Oak Flat is the first sacred Native American land to be given to a foreign corporation in US history, said Aften Meltzer, media consultant for Avaaz, an online democracy network.
The Apache Stronghold is trying to garner as much public support as possible during their travels. Their petition on made out to members of the US Congress and interior secretary Sally Jewell already has about 78,000 signatures.

HENRY E. J Williams

Author & Editor

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