Originally Published: February 11, 2017 5:55 a.m.
In eastern Arizona within the Tonto National Forest east of Phoenix near Superior, lies Oak Flat, a place where birders, campers, climbers, and hikers value the beauty of the land and Native American tribes consider sacred.
Protected from mining since 1955, Sen. John McCain added a land exchange rider to the National Defense Authorization Act in December 2014, handing over public lands to Rio Tinto, a foreign-owned mining conglomerate, to extract copper.
At 1 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 12, Wendsler Nosie Sr., environmentalist and former chairman and councilman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, will present Protecting Native American Cultural Sites: Defending Sacred Land at Oak Flat, Arizona, Water at Standing Rock, and Native American Struggles to Keep Their Resource, at Prescott United Methodist Church, 505 W. Gurley St., Prescott.
“The Prescott United Methodist Church, Yavapai Group Sierra Club, and the Great Old Broads for Wilderness are sponsoring this as a way to help educate our community about diverse peoples and their issues. In that way, this becomes local,” said Barbara Jacobsen, member of all three groups. “The sacredness of the Native American rights are paramount to their culture. We are interested in learning and in helping.”
“The focus will be on their rights, as well as spiritual, cultural, and environmental concerns, things which affect all Arizonans,” she added.
The San Carlos Apache Tribe is actively opposed to the land exchange and potential mine because of the destructive impact it would have on both the surrounding ecosystem and traditional uses. Historically, the Tribe has used the land as an Apache ceremonial and burial site.
Nosie has 34 years of experience advocating for federal policies that ensure the future of the Apache people, especially tribal water, land, and basic human rights. He is a passionate and convincing speaker.
Jacobsen said topics will include federal policies, the environment, and the impacts on spirituality and colonization.
Admission is free with no RSVP needed. Sponsored by the Prescott United Methodist Church, Great Old Broads for Wilderness, and the Sierra Club. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.