Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

May 14, 2024

New Film! Apache Stronghold Protecting Oak Flat from Copper Mine

Wendsler Nosie photo by Brandi Morin

The Apache stronghold standing in the way of a copper mine that would desecrate a sacred site

By Ricochet Media

In the heart of the Arizona high desert lies a battle for the soul of the land. The ancient, sacred grounds of Apache Native territory are under threat from a looming giant — a massive copper mine that promises riches for the locals, and a pathway to the so-called green transition. But, as is often the case, it comes at a cost. 

The San Carlos Apache tribe calls it Chi’chil Bildagoteel, English speakers call it Oak Flat. It sits on a mountainous plateau within a 17.3-kilometer oasis in the Tonto National Forest. Rio Tinto and BHP, two of the world’s biggest mining companies, have staked their claim here through a joint venture called Resolution Copper.

For over 10 years they’ve been lobbying governments for the right to build a colossal mine that would cover roughly 7,000 acres of surface area, and extend more than a mile into the ground. The only thing that stands in their way is the resistance of the Apache Stronghold, a nonprofit community organization of Natives and non-Natives uniting to counter ongoing colonization, defend holy sites and protect freedom of religion, which was created to protect Chi’chil Bildagoteel.

Vanessa Nosie. Film screenshot by Censored News.

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