Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

March 25, 2013

Apache Sandra Rambler 'Traditionally Speaking'

Traditionally Speaking
Article and photo by Sandra Rambler
Censored News

A big round of applause goes out to the Superior Council for recently voting NO to the Oak Flat land exchange in H.R. 687.  I am so glad that Superior is not being used as a pawn to get this bill passed in Washington, D.C.  These leaders should always remember that they represent the people of Superior and this is more than a money making deal and that Superior is not bartering land that is not only sacred to the Apaches, Yavapais and other Native American Indians in the region, but land that is valuable to the people well beyond Superior’s city limits.

Superior needs to look are more sustainable ways for economic development and that depending on a single source of industry like copper mining is a thing of the past.  We all know what it does to our health and many residents of Superior have paid for the price of mining with their lives.
There is potential for joint partnership including the San Carlos Apache Tribe who just announced they will be opening their second casino with over 300 jobs in the local area.  Eco-tourism is on the rise and the benefits from it are real and contributes to their economy but they never acknowledge the benefits.  Now is the time for Superior to  think about the long term effects of Resolution Copper’s project at Chi’chill Ba’go’teel (Oak Flat).
We all know water is important in Arizona and in order to develop their project, Resolution Copper needs millions of gallons of water for their project to be realized.  Who will they get water from?  No one has water but the San Carlos Apache Tribe and other tribes in Arizona.  We definitely don’t want our water to be contaminated from the chemicals and waste from the mine because more lives of our Apache people will be gone.  We can certainly make a difference and stand up to them and tell them one word, “NO!”
In this day and age, advanced technology can provide us information that would be critical to the decision makers of this project including effects on environmental, ecological, cultural, archaeological and social and economic impacts.
We will know this information only if NEPA is completed prior to any land exchange.  These laws were made to inform and educate the public and decision makers about any given project on public land so that decision makers can make the most informed decision.
Resolution Cooper should not be allowed to circumvent this process altogether through a bill that was created and written specifically by them!
There is an established federal process that protects public lands for public use and why should Resolution Copper, who deals directly with Iran and mostly owned by China, be allowed to bypass laws created by our federal forefathers?
Our fight for our land, our water and our religious beliefs continue today.   The Apaches were the last tribe to surrender to the United States government and just like our ancestors--we shall remain stronger than ever!  Ahi’yihe to Chairman Terry Rambler for his testimony and Peridot District Councilman, Wendsler Nosie, Sr., the San Carlos Apache Tribal Council and all the tribal leaders that attended the recent hearing in Washington, D.C.   Remember, united we stand, divided we fall!  

 Photo by Sandra Rambler
On March 23, Brianna Hopper dances with her God-mother, Tabitha Sneezy, at the Bylas ceremonial grounds within the San Carlos Apache Indian Nation in the Bylas District during Brianna's coming-of-age traditional ceremony.  Brianna is the daughter of Carolyn Williams Hopper (San Carlos Apache/Hopi) and Marlin Hopper (White Mountain Apache).

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