THE ALLIANCE FOR GLOBAL JUSTICE STATEMENT ON THE DEFENSE OF CHI’CHIL BILDAGOTEEL, OAK FLAT, ARIZONA, USA

The Alliance for Global Justice stands in solidarity with Apache Clans and over 300 Native Nations who seek to protect the Oak Flat site of south-eastern Arizona from devastating copper mining extraction. For over ten years, the San Carlos Apache and neighboring tribes have mobilized to prevent the destruction of this sacred land, which for centuries has been revered as a holy site by the Apache. Oak Flat holds the history, lives and prayers of at least eight Apache Clans and two Apache Western Bands, is home to a wealth of medicinal and edible plants, burial grounds and water sources rising from the Apache Leap Tuff aquifer.

As was recently exposed, the Trump administration has pushed a crucial environmental review deadline ahead a year, to be completed before the start of 2021. If the environmental review is passed, it will be nearly impossible to halt the ecological, cultural and spiritual devastation of this area.

Since reserves of copper were discovered at Oak Flat, bipartisan members of Congress and transnational mining conglomerates have conspired to secure the plunder of the ancestral land for private profit. Their collaboration has gone as far as tucking a midnight-amendment of the land exchange into a National Defense bill by Sen. John McCain, the day before congressional vote. This undemocratic disregard of the rights of the Apache peoples and broad national pressure to protect the land has given Resolution Copper access to build one of the largest copper mines in the world.

The Alliance for Global Justice recognizes that the colonization of Indigenous lands continues through the sale and ransack of places such as Oak Flat in the economic interest of corporations and the political parties which represent them. We see the capitalist perversion of this land as an impediment of the collective rights of original peoples and of the basic human right to inhabit sustainable territories. We recognize that the environmental destruction ushered by mining projects has historically affected Indigenous lands such as the La Guajira region of Colombia, where thousands of Wayuu children have died as a result of extreme drought exacerbated by coal mining. The copper mine threatening Oak Flat will likewise bring disastrous ecological results to the water supplies of central Arizona, depleting groundwater supplies which the entire central region of Arizona depends upon.

We call on our communities to act concretely in solidarity with the regional tribes in this crucial moment. Your advocacy is needed now. Take part in defending Oak Flat by urging your congressional leaders to co-sponsor the Save Oak Flat Act:

http://org.salsalabs.com/o/676/p/dia/action4/common/public/?action_KEY=23421

Further information and ways to take action can be found through the Apache Stronghold site:

http://apache-stronghold.com/index.html