Indigenous advocates fighting to protect Oak Flat, a historic site in eastern Arizona sacred to the San Carlos Apache Nation and other Native communities, argued their case against a proposed copper mine in federal court Friday. The legal efforts at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals are being led by the grassroots group, Apache Stronghold. Native communities have long warned the massive copper mine would destroy Oak Flat, depriving them of their religious rights and other freedoms. This is Wendsler Nosie Sr., founder of Apache Stronghold and former chair of the San Carlos Apache Nation.
Wendsler Nosie Sr.: “We heard it loud and clear in Indian Country that anything on federal land is not safe. Nothing is holy, and nothing is sacred to them. That was clearly spoken. The emotionals that run through us is the fact that it answers the question that we are still prisoners of war in this country.”
The copper mine is being run by Resolution Copper, a joint venture of multinational mining corporations BHP and Rio Tinto.