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Taracena: "Republican Congressman Paul Gosar is going nuclear at news that Oak Flat will remain listed in the National Register of Historic Places, despite attempts by himself and U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, a Democrat who alleges to stand by Native Americans, to withdraw the site from historic consideration."

Wendsler Nosie, Sr. leads Apache Stronghold members in a march. (photo: Apache Stronghold)
Wendsler Nosie, Sr. leads Apache Stronghold members in a march. (photo: Apache Stronghold)


Apache Protesters Battle GOP Congressman for Sacred Land in Arizona

By Maria Ines Taracena, Tucson Weekly

12 March 16

 

epublican Congressman Paul Gosar is going nuclear at news that Oak Flat will remain listed in the National Register of Historic Places, despite attempts by himself and U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, a Democrat who alleges to stand by Native Americans, to withdraw the site from historic consideration.

The pair argued listing Oak Flat as a historic place would continue to sabotage plans by Resolution Copper to begin work on its controversial mine.

In a press release, Gosar alleges Oak Flat has never been a sacred site. And, according to a letter by former chairman of the San Carlos Apache Nation and organizer of the group Apache Stronghold Wendsler Nosie, Sr., Gosar is pressuring the National Forest Service to kick out members of the Apache Stronghold, as well as allies, who have occupied the area since the site was sold out to the mining company.

Gosar says in a press release that he is disappointed Oak Flat was listed in the National Register of Historic Places, "despite multiple bipartisan requests to withdraw the fundamentally-flawed nomination."

Shame on the Park Service and Forest Service for ramming a bogus historic place listing down the throats of Arizonans. Clearly, the Obama Administration cares more about pandering to extremist environmental groups and a D.C. lobbyist from the Clinton Administration than following the law and listening to the American public. Oak Flat has never been a sacred site, as confirmed by the local tribe’s own former historian. Yet, Obama’s minions are hell-bent on sabotaging an important mining effort by listing a small, public campground 20 miles away from the nearest tribe’s reservation as a historic site.

Gosar says the community in Superior, located roughly 4 miles from Oak Flat, is in dying need of good-paying jobs and the proposed Resolution Copper mine is the antidote.

A bipartisan Congress and the president have declared the land exchange for this copper mine to be the law of the land. That should have been the end of it. But blatantly deceitful collaboration that ignores the Rule of Law cannot be tolerated. This fraudulent action is the latest in a long list of egregious bureaucratic abuses of power by the Obama Administration. I will continue to fight this overreach.

Earlier this week, an email that seemed to be a personal exchange was distributed by the Center for Biological Diversity, saying Gosar was "leaning heavily" on the Forest Service to "crack down on the occupation at the campground."

...and they think some kind of action to remove them may be imminent, in which case they’ll need various kinds of support. I’m passing this along as a head’s up, same as I just got.

Nosie says in a letter that Gosar's attacks are nothing but misinformation and "outrageous prejudice against our people and our religious practice." He accuses Gosar of failing to protect the tribe's human rights and their First Amendment right to exercise their religion, and adds that Gosar has done all he can to destroy a holy place.

Oak Flat, known to us Chi’chil Bildagoteel, has always been our connection to our Mother, our right to exist, a central part of our prayers, songs, stories and spiritual practices. It is from here that we emerged. It is who we are.

We have lost so much. So many of our people, the original people of this land, have been wiped out, and those that remained were removed, exiled, from our indigenous lands and placed in concentration camps.

Chi’chil Bildagoteel, our holy land, was put under the care of the U.S. government, and because of its uniqueness, the great value of maintaining its ecological and cultural integrity, protected by its laws.

But now these laws are being subverted. The land handed over to foreign mining concerns through underhanded backroom deals by Arizona representatives in the U.S. Congress eliminates these protections.

In December 2014, Gosar, Kirkpatrick, and U.S. Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake added a last-minute amendment to a must-pass National Defense Authorization Act, giving away Oak Flat to Resolution Copper.

Apache Stronghold has occupied Oak Flat since.

Still, Rep. Gosar, is pressuring the Forest Service to enforce its rules that limit camping at Oak Flat to 14 consecutive days, rules that as indigenous people practicing our religion we are not subject to. The United States has legal and moral obligations to provide access to Native Americans and to protect these traditional territories.

In June of last year, Democratic Congressman Raúl Grijalva issued the Save Oak Flat Act, which hoped to repeal the Resolution Copper deal and reestablish protection for Oak Flat. Vermont U.S. senator and Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders introduced a similar bill in the Senate. However, McCain and Gosar have helped block the bills from moving forward, Nosie's letter says.

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+21 # tedrey 2016-03-12 10:40
If Gosar had any honest case, he wouldn't have had to add "a last-minute amendment to a must-pass National Defense Authorization Act."
 
 
+21 # dotlady 2016-03-12 11:28
That land should be left in the hands of the Apache people for whom it has meaning, not traded away for another destructive, polluting mine, and foreign-owned at that. This is pre-American land and must not be taken for corporate profit. Americans should cherish each bit of land left unscarred by the corporate rush for profits. The "jobs" thing is a charade.
 
 
+15 # Shades of gray matter 2016-03-12 11:52
One needs a translator to really understand this multicultural morass. Whenever GOPers say "jobs," that translates as "bribes." I assume GOPer religious freedom proponents will rush to defend the religious rights of American Originalists.
 
 
-12 # nancyw 2016-03-12 12:05
Very confusing article. The Apaches want mining for jobs on this land? Or congress thinks it would help their need for jobs? Making it an historic place prevents it or disallows mining? Is it sacred or not to the Apaches? They want to keep it whole or mined?
 
 
+1 # reiverpacific 2016-03-12 15:07
Quoting nancyw:
Very confusing article. The Apaches want mining for jobs on this land? Or congress thinks it would help their need for jobs? Making it an historic place prevents it or disallows mining? Is it sacred or not to the Apaches? They want to keep it whole or mined?


See my comment below yours.
 
 
+4 # tedrey 2016-03-12 18:47
"Gosar says the community in Superior, located roughly 4 miles from Oak Flat, is in dying need of good-paying jobs and the proposed Resolution Copper mine is the antidote."

The population of Superior (3,000) is less than 2% Native American. It's not the Apache who will get those jobs and they don't want them.
 
 
0 # Hooligan 2016-03-14 01:33
Quoting tedrey:
"Gosar says the community in Superior, located roughly 4 miles from Oak Flat, is in dying need of good-paying jobs and the proposed Resolution Copper mine is the antidote."

The population of Superior (3,000) is less than 2% Native American. It's not the Apache who will get those jobs and they don't want them.

When was the last time these guys were worried about jobs for our Apache brothers & sisters??(Never !)
 
 
+23 # reiverpacific 2016-03-12 12:15
The Apache have been resisting copper-mining since Geronimo's time, in which he attacked individual and mining cooperatives all over their "reserved" land, on which the Apache also cultivated peach groves, subsequently wrecked by Kit Carson (just like the "Wasicu" almost eliminated the Buffalo to kill off the plains tribes), who drove them into the rock strongholds in the mountains. Geronimo was finally sent to humid, swampy Florida, where the Seneca supported him.
So this is nothing new; just that the copper interest is now a large conglomerate with lobbyist-lubric ated finks and turncoats in government, who make the classic "Jobs" rationale as they do in every confrontation with First-Nations peoples they try to usurp and exploit nationwide, a total lie in presuming to speak for peoples who's spirits are inextricably linked to the earth and committed to her defense.
Another illustration -if any were needed- of the persistent exploitive greed and skullduggery of extractive, polluting corporate Capitalism
 
 
-5 # RnR 2016-03-12 12:16
why oh why is Donald Trump gaining the support he is?

That was sarcasm
 
 
+2 # jsluka 2016-03-12 18:42
Uh..... what does that have to do with this article?
 
 
+8 # Patriot 2016-03-12 18:52
I tried to send a little note to Rep. Kirkpatrick, but she is too busy to accept mail from anyone except residents of her district. Here are my comments:

You are one of the reasons voters no longer regard the Democratic party as either liberal or progessive: You choose, as the Party does, to support business (for which read "profit") rather than the stated aims of the residents of your district. Only Senator Sanders seems able to withstand the pressure, or the bribery, of business. You are a failure to the people who elected you, and should be ashamed of yourself.

If anyone who reads this is one of Kirkpatrick's constituents, kindly pass her my comments. If you will contact me privately, I will be glad to furnish my name and address, so you can append them to my message. (I don't believe in sending anonymous private mail.)

Thank you!
 
 
+5 # cmp 2016-03-13 00:37
You are great!!!

.. I think that you may get a better return on your investment, if you contact the local Progressive Democrats Chapters in Flagstaff, Phoenix and Tucson.

Kirkpatrick is in a targeted Congressional District for the Republican's and, she is currently running for McCain's Senate Seat. I think, that this may be (.. at least part) of the reason of why she is selling out. .. And, Gosar is in a super Red District - with very little threat. .. I think, that this may be part of the reason of why he is so brazen.
http://www.politics1.com/az.htm

.. But, the Democratic Progressive Chapters, I would think, will pass on your sincere thoughts and inputs. .. And, I would hope, be sure to put the issue on their Agenda to pursue with the Apache Stronghold.
https://www.facebook.com/pdnapage
http://www.meetup.com/topics/pdamerica/us/az/phoenix/
http://pdatucson.org/

I 'am in another CD from (CD-1 and CD-4). So, I will push a ripple or two, from my end of the pond; as well.
.. And - It's Thank You!!
 

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