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Indigenous Advocates Testify in Court in Bid to Halt Transfer of Oak Flat to Copper Mining Co.

HeadlineMar 22, 2023

A federal appeals court heard arguments Tuesday from Indigenous advocates who are fighting to block the transfer of Oak Flat to Resolution Copper, which wants to turn the ancient site in eastern Arizona, sacred to the San Carlos Apache Nation, into a massive copper mine. Resolution Copper is a joint venture of multinational mining corporations BHP and Rio Tinto. Leaders with Apache Stronghold told the court the construction of the mine would violate their religious freedoms and other rights. This is Sandra Rambler, a San Carlos Apache elder.

Sandra Rambler: “If I want to go there and be able to pray there, I should have that right. And I don’t want no foreign company to come in and tell me, 'No, you can't do that.’ We have the freedom of speech. We have the freedom of choice to write about whatever we want to write about. We have the freedom of religion, and this is our religion. This is who we are. This is us as Apaches.”

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