Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

June 16, 2015

San Carlos Apache Sandra Rambler 'Traditionally Speaking' June 16, 2015

Interior Secretary, Sally Jewel with Apache Elders at the Bylas Older Adult Center

Traditionally Speaking

On Tuesday, July 21, our fearless Apaches joined by Indigenous Peoples from all over the world will be on Capitol Hill sending a strong message to the White House, the Senate House, the House of Representatives that OAK FLAT IS NOT FOR SALE.

By Sandra Rambler
San Carlos Apache
Censored News

There are many people that do what they can to make the lives of our tribal members so much better.  Too many times, we don’t reflect on those who unselfishly commit their time and resources to do what they can.
Recently, I sat in on a Suicide Prevention task force training and it was really interesting.  The presenters go out of their way to send messages throughout our Apache land and what are we doing to help them?
I spoke to some Mothers Against Meth Coalition and their stories are just as interesting.  It becomes frustrating for them, I bet, because there should be more support from our Apache mothers!  How can we help?
For our Nnee ba’awolzaa hii’bi’jii (A day made for Apaches) celebration on June 18 also prompted individuals, groups and departments to come up with some creativity and I just received a copy of drawing from the Tribal Wellness Center that has a logo, “Meth is not our Apache Tradition,” and the art work is spectacular.  How are we helping as community members?
I heard the pleas of a tribal member who was concerned about lack of law enforcement in helping fighting the growing numbers of meth users, violence and theft on our reservation to support their addiction.  How can we help our law enforcement tackle this growing problem?
Just earlier this week, another tribal member informed me that we now have not only meth but heroin on our Apache land.  This drug is more addicting and costs more is what I’m told.  What can we possibly to do help with this?
As I am around our Apache land, I notice quite a few of our tribal members that lost over 50 pounds!  From what?  Diabetes?  I ask around and then sadly am told, “It’s probably from doing too much glass…”  Again, I ask you, what do we do as community members?
Then last week, another parent that enrolled their child at the new Mt. Turnbull Elementary School informs me that some people (non-Apaches) at the Fort Thomas Public School is saying that, “Sandra Rambler said not to enroll your children and grandchildren at the new Mt. Turnbull Elementary School,” to which I was so surprised that my name would be thrown in there.  To set the record straight, I totally support our Apache children going to school on our own Apache land rather than being bussed off the reservation like we have been for over 70 years!  
Then another tribal member approached me about my position on Chi’Chil’Bilda’Goteel (Oak Flat) and why I support it so strongly.  My answer was direct.  Oak Flat is our ancestral holy Apache land where our ancestors lived and now our Apache Mountain Spirit Dancers dwell throughout the entire region and at Apache Leap.  This land is now on federal land and managed by the U.S. Forest Service and a part of Tonto National Forest.  For the first time in history, this holy Apache land was given away to a foreign company, Rio Tinto or BHP or Resolution Company (they are all the same) and they didn’t have to pay a dime but promise jobs.  First they promised nearly 5,000 jobs but each time the bill was presented in Washington, D.C., it failed and over a decade later, our Tribe had an independent study done and only 324 jobs would be available for our area covering at least two counties (Gila and Pinal).  So our holy Apache land was given away for just 324 jobs?  After the mining begins, the work will be over 189 degrees and too hot for any human being to work, so what will happen?  Electronic machinery operated ROBOTS will do the job!  And what will happen to our Apaches that were promised jobs then?
Not to mention the subsidence that will occur.  The poisonous tailings from the mine excavation.  The water war that will start because over 25 billion gallons of water will be needed each year the mine is open.  The town of Superior will turn into a Ghost Town after all the copper has been taken to China and sold to Iran!
Section 3003 of the National Defense Authorization Act must be repealed.  Contact John Barrassao, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs at 838 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510 and Rob Bishop, Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, 1324 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515 and contact Jon Tester, Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, 838 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C., 20510 and our friend Raul Grijalva, Ranking Member on the House Committee on Natural Resources at 1324 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515.
Let your voices be heard and demand that Section 3003 of the NDAA be repealed!  Why would we support a foreign company that has nothing to do with Apaches and have no respect for our culture and Apache way of life?  Resolution Copper – BHP – Rio Tinto must remember the days in the early 2000s when the APACHES AGAINST RIO TINTO sent them a strong message that they were not welcome on Apache land and here they come rolling down the road again thinking that they will buy our Apache People out!  Don’t let them fool you.  They will use and then toss you to the side.  What do they care?  All they want is the copper ore from the copper belt that sits below our Apache reservation.
On Tuesday, July 21st, our fearless Apaches joined by Indigenous Peoples from all over the world will be on Capitol Hill sending a strong message to the White House, the Senate House, the House of Representatives that OAK FLAT IS NOT FOR SALE.
It will take years for the EIS to be done.  Everyone knows that.  Thank you to everyone that have been occupying Oak Flat since Day One.  May our Creator God continue to bless the members of our SAN CARLOS APACHE TRIBAL COUNCIL for continuing to stand strong in their opposition against such desecration and violations of our of our Apache way of life.  Ahi’yihe! Ashoong!
Welcome to all our guests for our June 18 tribal holiday.  Congratulations to SCTI—FPO #4 Graduates:  Yolanda Bahlen, Ranayia Kitcheyan, Mac John Nosie, Carletta Victor and Ashley Roan Eagle.  Celebration includes music by Greywolf at Apache Gold Casino Convention Center on Friday, June 19 from 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.  Everyone invited.

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