Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

October 23, 2021

Apache Stronghold 'Native Religious Sacred Sites on Federal Land have no Protections from the U.S. Government'

Wendsler Nosie at San Francisco Civic Center. Photo by Steve Pavey

Native Religious Sacred Sites on Federal Land have no Protections from the U.S. Government 

By Apache Stronghold
Censored News
Oct. 22, 2021
French translation by Christine Prat

SAN FRANCISCO -- The United States Government position today in Apache Stronghold vs U.S. in the Appeal  hearing in the 9th Circuit Court confirmed that the destruction of Apache Religion is not a  concern of the U.S Government and is not an obligation of the U.S., confirming the fact that  oppression of Native people is not, never was and will not stand in the way of their actions.

"We knew where we stood all along, now the U.S. Government admits that we do not matter and that they own all federal land and the decisions about the land, our connection to it is not  of their concern."

Dr. Wendsler Nosie Sr, stated prior to the scheduled arguments, " Stay  focused, listen to what the United States rebuttal will be." At the concluding press conference,  Nosie stated, "You heard it loud and clear. In Indian Country, anything on federal land is not  safe, our existence has no bearing for we are still considered prisoners of war in this country.  When it comes to religion, all religion is threatened, they own all land, and all property, that  regardless of what is sacred or holy, it has no meaning. " 

Apache Stronghold journeyed from Oak Flat to San Francisco, visiting Tribes and gaining prayers  in this religious struggle to stop a foreign corporation from destroying Oak Flat. This was  allowed by the U.S. Government through a rider added to the National Defense Authorization  Act in 2015 allowing exemptions to laws that protect the Earth, and protect Religious freedom. 

The 9th Circuit Court heard arguments whether or not a preliminary injunction will keep the  U.S. Government from exchanging the land prior to a decision in the case. The decisions in this  case, will affect the definition of "imminent harm" to sacred sites, "substantial burden" on  religious rights, prevention of religious exercise, the recognition of a Native American religion to  other religions of this world, the ability of Congress to use "plenary power" to bypass their own  laws. In essence the allowance of corporate money to buy and influence our Congressmen regardless of the laws set to protect religions.

The Courts ruling will either see the Evil for what  it is or allow the destruction because the Judges follow those same rules that have brought us  to this point (the rules that have allowed them to take without remorse or consequence). 

Apache Stronghold attorney, Luke Goodrich explained the days arguments at a press  conference following the case, "what you just heard today was oral arguments in the United  States Court of Appeals for the Ninth circuit and this is the court that is going to decide if  whether or not the government can move forward with their plans to turn over Oak Flat to a  Foreign owned mining company and allow it to be completely destroyed and the facts in this 

case are not in dispute."

"Oak Flat was Apache land since before the United States existed until the United States government took it by force. Oak Flat is the center of Apache religious existence, it is the site of core religious practices that cannot be relocated, and yet our  Government is planning to transfer Oak Flat to a copper mine for compete destruction and end those religious practices forever. So what we were arguing in court today, is that this action by  our government is not only unjust but also violates multiple federal laws including the religious  freedom restoration act, the free exercise clause of the Constitution and the Government's own  treaties entered into in 1852 with the Western Apaches," Attorney Goodrich said.

"The United States, our government, the Biden administration, stated that it has complete authority over all federal lands to destroy  any sacred sites that it wants and it won't face any scrutiny for that whatsoever. It was a  sweepingly broad argument from the federal government and should be deeply disturbing to all  Americans and particularly Americans of faith because it's not just Apache Stronghold, the  western Apaches and their practices, that are at issue today, the government's position today threatens all people of faith. I think the silver lining from today is that the government's  starkness and the brutality of the government's position was on full display."

" Judges asked  some very hard questions of the government, and the government did not have good answers and the hope that I take away is that the U.S. Government, the Biden administration doesn't  have final say, The court is going to have the final say here, and if this court doesn't issue the  right ruling, we will have the option to appeal to the U.S. Supreme court and at the end of the  day, what the government here is doing is so Egregious and so unfortunate that we have very  strong confidence that we are going to prevail.

"The government is not going to be allowed to  destroy Oak Flat and that the grandmothers, mothers and the daughters who have held their  ceremonies there, will be allowed to pass that down to future generations and that is good for not only for Apaches but for everybody in this country," Attorney Goodrich said.

When asked if a bias exists in how other religions are treated as opposed to the Apaches, Attorney Goodrich responded that was an actual question asked today, that if this was St.  Patrick’s Cathedral and the government took it and destroyed it, the government had to admit  that that would be a Substantial burden on religion, but the government took Oak flat and  drove the Apaches off the land, now they say that is not a substantial burden, So without  question, Bias does exist which is a fact in U.S. History. 

The Apache Stronghold thanks all the attorneys for their tremendous work and for all the  people that were present for the court hearing. Dr. Wendsler Nosie Sr. stated, "This message  goes out to all Tribal leadership, tribal governments, people of this country, we now need to  defend. The land within our reservation borders is federal land and our belief that "this is our  land" is the complete opposite. Living on Tribal lands is not a security for our future and the  controlling government, the U.S. Government is telling us just that. " 

Dr. Wendsler Nosie Sr. 



1 comment:

Unknown said...

Its about time the Doctrine of Discovery was dragged out into the light of day!