Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

March 18, 2013

Apache receive support from Superior City Council opposing land exchange

Photo courtesy Sandra Rambler
Superior City Council opposes HR 687, Southeastern Land Exchange Bill
By Sandra Rambler, San Carlos Apache
Censored News
Photo courtesy Sandra Rambler
SUPERIOR, Ariz. – During an emergency Special Council meeting on March 13, the Superior Council voted to oppose the proposed Arizona Southeastern Land Exchange (HR 687) which will be heard before the House Subcommittee of Energy and Mineral Resources part of the Natural Resources Committee on March 21 in Washington, D.C. The San Carlos Apache Tribal Chairman and President of the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona, Terry Rambler, will be testifying before the subcommittee.

Several tribal spiritual leaders including Chesley Wilson, Sr., Ruth Rogers, Randolph Steele and Audrey Johnson, met with Roy Chavez, former Superior Mayor and now the Chairperson of the Concerned Citizens and Retired Miners Coalition, where he explained that the Superior Council entertained a one-item agenda which was to oppose the Arizona Southeastern Land Exchange (Oak Flat) bill. Also present was Wendsler Nosie, Sr., Peridot District Councilman.

Photo courtesy Sandra Rambler
“It’s been quite interesting here in Superior this week. The town’s decision to terminate their agreement with Resolution Copper has had a very far-reaching effect on the Oak Flat land exchange legislation. Then, the Superior Town Council passed a resolution opposing the Oak Flat land exchange,” pointed out Chavez.

    Wheeler Grimes, Sr., in his native Apache language, made reference to several violations made by Congresswoman, Ann Kirkpatrick, in Congressional District No. 1, which in includes the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation and the area surrounding Chi’Chil Ba’Dagoteel (Oak Flat) and Ga’an Bikoh (Apache Mountain Spirits Canyon) and Ga’an Daszin (Apache Mountain Spirit Standing).
“Congresswoman Kirkpatrick failed in her responsibility to check with the members of her district before she introduced the land exchange bill,” explained spiritual leader Grimes.
“The seven tribes in her district all opposed the land exchange. The Globe City Council will not vote on the issue and the Superior City Council just passed a resolution to oppose the land exchange and terminated their agreement with Resolution Copper.”
“We, as the Apache people, believe that Oak Flat is a holy site and we still have traditional ceremonies there. I can’t understand why Congresswoman Kirkpatrick would try to bypass NEPA and other laws required and try to help Resolution Copper put in a mine. These people are not her constituents and they are made of companies from Australia and China who have no voting rights in the United States.”
Photos courtesy Sandra Rambler
“Congresswoman Kirkpatrick should have consulted with us first before she put this on the table before the subcommittee and now more time will be wasted on this ironic issue. There is hardly any water in Arizona. We don’t want Resolution Copper to tap into our water that belongs to our Apache people. The size of the mine they will dig out is the size of our Mount Turnbull in Bylas. That’s going to take a lot of water and we don’t want them to use water that belongs to us. They should go somewhere else in Australia or China to build their mine. Our prayers are with our tribal leaders that are there on behalf of our tribe especially to Chairman Rambler who will be testifying,” concluded spiritual leader Grimes.
“When our Apache people gather for our ceremonies as all indigenous people gather for their ceremonies across the globe, we all pray for one thing and that is for our Creator to hear our prayers to retain what is holy and sacred to us. To keep our mountains, our land, our minds and our bodies free from destruction as well as protecting our loved ones,” pointed out spiritual leader Wilson.
“We wanted to thank the Superior City Council for passing a resolution to oppose the land exchange. We hope that the people in Washington, D.C. will get the message that we don’t want the land exchange and vote in our favor. We have been coming to Oak Flat for prayers, medicine and acorn since time immemorial and will continue to keep coming here for prayers,” added spiritual leader Ruth Rogers in her native Apache language.
Resolution Copper Company is a subsidiary of foreign mining giants, Rio Tinto and BHP, based out of Australia and China.
Photos courtesy Sandra Rambler 
Former Superior City Council Mayor, Roy Chavez, shows a copy of the agenda for the emergency special meeting held on March 13 in Superior where the one-item agenda included the topic of HR 687, the Arizona Southeastern Land Exchange Bill which was introduced by Congressional No. 1, District Representative Ann Kirkpatrick, who introduced the bill. The Superior City Council voted to oppose the land exchange. 
(Top photo) Present were (left to right): Roy Chavez and Apache spiritual leaders, Chesley Wilson, Sr., Ruth Rogers, Randolph Steele and Audrey Johnson, who thanked the Superior City Council for their support of the Apaches and all indigenous people not to desecrate holy land at Chi'chil ba'goteel (Oak Flat).
(Photo two) Tribal elders, Wheeler Grimes, Sr. and Asa Longstreet, recently traveled to the Oak Flat ceremonial grounds to offer prayers for the Arizona Southeastern Land Exchange bill not to be passed in Washington, D.C., in an effort to protect holy lands sacred to the Apaches all indigenous people. The sweat lodge is used for prayers during traditional ceremonies.
(Photo three) On March 8, Riann Hopkins dances with her God-mother, Jennifer Ailak as medicine man, Robertson Preson is singing in the background at the Beaver Springs ceremonial grounds on the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation in Arizona.
(Photo four) On March 17, Leticia Anderson, dances with her God-father, Farland Victor as medicine man, Harrison Burnette sings with his singers at the Calva ceremonial grounds on the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation in Arizona.

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