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ACTION ALERT: Tell Congress: Return Native Americans' Sacred Land


September 24, 2015
Rep. Raul Grijalva / US House of Representatives / CREDO Mobilize

Last year, Republicans in Congress secretly gave away sacred Native American lands in eastern Arizona to Resolution Copper, a multinational mining conglomerate with "dismal human rights and environmental records." If this deal is finalized, these sacred Native lands could be destroyed permanently.

https://www.credomobilize.com/petitions/tell-congress-to-give-native-americans-back-their-sacred-land

ACTION ALERT: Tell Congress:
Give Native Americans Back their Sacred Land

Rep. Raul Grijalva / US House of Representatives & CREDO Mobilize

(September 21, 2015) -- Last year, Republicans in Congress secretly gave away sacred Native American lands to a multinational mining conglomerate. If this deal is finalized, these sacred Native lands could be destroyed permanently.

It's true: the National Defense Authorization Act -- a bill President Obama could not easily veto -- included a shameful provision mandating a land swap long favored by a mining firm called Resolution Copper.

Congress, backed by extreme Republicans, gave this mining company, whose owners have "dismal human rights and environmental records," (1) exactly what they wanted at the expense of sacred and religious sites connected to these public lands.

This June, I introduced the bipartisan Save Oak Flat Act to repeal this disgraceful land trade while leaving the rest of the law intact. Congress should not be in the business of helping big corporations at the expense of others, and it certainly shouldn't break faith with Native American communities.

That's why I started my own campaign on CREDOMobilize.com, which allows activists to start their own petitions. My petition, which is to the US Congress, says the following:

Oak Flat, a centuries-old sacred site for Native Americans in Arizona, was handed over to an international mining conglomerate by Congressional Republicans earlier this year. Pass the bipartisan Save Oak Flat Act to repeal this shameful land trade immediately to protect this sacred Native American land.

For years, Resolution Copper has sought access to a copper deposit in eastern Arizona at a site called Oak Flat, which has been home to the San Carlos Apache Nation's traditional acorn and medicinal herb collecting and religious ceremonies for centuries.

Oak Flat itself is a significant cultural site for the San Carlos Apache. The mountain's waters feed Gaan Canyon, a significant cultural and religious site. The location also includes Apache Leap, an escarpment of equal cultural importance.

The San Carlos Apache fear their sacred lands will collapse or be damaged by the intensive block cave mining Resolution Copper proposes; however, their concerns have fallen on deaf ears.

Last Congress, Arizona's Republican Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake snuck a swap provision into a must-pass defense spending bill, knowing President Obama couldn't reject it. Now, the San Carlos Apache are facing complete and permanent destruction of their sacred sites.

The line on treating Indian Country (2) with disrespect must be drawn. It's time for Congress to do the right thing and uphold its commitment to Native Americans and protect their sacred lands.

Will you join me and add your name to my petition urging Congress to give Native Americans back their sacred land at Oak Flat?

Tell Congress: Give Native Americans back their sacred land. Click here to sign the petition.

Thank you for your support.

THE PETITION:
To Members of the US Congress


Oak Flat -- a centuries-old sacred site for Native Americans -- was handed over to an international mining conglomerate by Congressional Republicans earlier this year. Pass the bipartisan Save Oak Flat Act to repeal this shameful land trade immediately to protect this sacred Native American land.

Why is this important?
Last year, Republicans in Congress secretly gave away sacred Native American lands to a multinational mining conglomerate. If this deal is finalized, these sacred Native lands could be destroyed permanently.

It's true: National Defense Authorization Act -- a bill President Obama could not easily veto -- included a non-germane and shameful provision mandating a land swap long favored by a mining firm called Resolution Copper.

Congress gave this international mining conglomerate, which is co-owned by Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton and have "dismal human rights and environmental records,"(1) exactly what they wanted at the expense of sacred and religious sites connected to these public lands.

On June 17, I introduced the bipartisan Save Oak Flat Act to repeal the land trade while leaving the defense law intact. Congress should not be in the business of helping big corporations at the expense of others, and it certainly shouldn't break faith with Native American communities.

For years, Resolution has sought access to a copper deposit in eastern Arizona at a site called Oak Flat, which has been home to the San Carlos Apache Nation's traditional acorn and medicinal herb collecting and religious ceremonies for centuries. Oak Flat itself is a significant cultural site for the San Carlos Apache.

The mountain's waters feed Gaan Canyon, a significant cultural and religious site. The location also includes Apache Leap, an escarpment of equal cultural importance. The San Carlos Apache fear their sacred lands will collapse or be damaged by the intensive block cave mining Resolution proposes.

However, their concerns have fallen on deaf ears. Last Congress, Republican House leaders had to cancel a vote on their bill forcing the Forest Service to trade the land to Resolution due to overwhelming opposition in congress.

Undeterred, Arizona's Republican Senators snuck a swap provision into the defense bill during conference, knowing it could not be removed by the House -- or easy for President Obama to reject. Now the San Carlos Apache are facing the imminent prospect of permanent damage to their sacred sites.

The line on treating Indian Country (2) with disrespect must be drawn. It's time for Congress to do the right thing and uphold its commitment to Native Americans and protect their sacred lands. I'm proud to lead this bipartisan fight, and I'm asking for your help to get the word out!

References:
(1) Dina Gilio-Whitaker, "Resolution Copper: 6 Egregious Examples of Parent Rio Tinto's Rights Violations Worldwide," Indian Country, July 23, 2015
(2) "Indian Country" defined at 18 U.S.C. ยง 1151, epa.gov.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

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