On Saturday, November 4, Whitney Haruf  (UUCP) and Bill Elliott (VUU) joined us at the Prayer Rising event at Oak Flat. Below are some pics from the event.

A description of the event is available through their Facebook page and their website, Apache Stronghold. The website has a lot more information, including the latest updates about any news about Oak Flat, and about the suit they have filed to stop the Resolution Copper/Rio Tinto mining of copper at the site of the old Magma Mine are also available. Please see the flyer shared by Becket Law office, which is representing Apache Stronghold. 

Oak Flat is a place that is sacred to the San Carlos Apache Indians. One of their former leaders, Wendsler Nosie, started the Apache Stronghold efforts to stop the mine. He says even though they have been protesting the mine since 1999, they will not stop! 

Wendsler Nosie, and the Mennonite faith community in Tucson, under the leadership of Rev. Carol Rose, organized the Prayer Rising event. She was the master of ceremonies for the second half of the day on Saturday. The Mennonites also have started a group to explore, understand, and repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery and Colonization, online at https://dismantlediscovery.org/.   

Oak Flat is also an extremely popular rock climbing area and camping spot. Two acres of that sacred land will be unsafe for human use for EONS! When the mine subsides it will leave a huge, unstable crater. If that refills with water, the water will be toxic due to chemicals used in the mining process. The tailings pile (leftover pulverized non-copper ore) will be left to blow (as unhealthful dust) into the Phoenix metro area. 

The mining process being used has already pumped millions of gallons of water from about a mile underground, thereby permanently changing the water table in the area, and depleting springs and surface flow. The mine has purchased rights to many wells between the Magma mine and Queen Creek in order to “process” the ores removed from the mine. This will affect the water table of that whole area.

Rep. Raul Grijalva has introduced several bills to save Oak Flat. The first one was H.R. 1884/S. 915, which did not pass. Now he has introduced HR1351, the Save Oak Flat bill, in March 2023. It was referred to the Federal Lands Subcommittee in April and is still there. If you are interested in supporting this bill, write your leaders about getting this bill passed.

For more information, contact earthjustice@phoenixuu.org .