Skip to content
View Featured Image

One Year Anniversary Of Oak Flat Resistance

Above photo: Protesters of the Oak Flat land exchange march through Globe, AZ, on the anniversary of the occupation of Oak Flat campground. By Kenneth Chan Photography, from Facebook.

Oak Flat, Arizona – We are back at the mountain campsite that is the prime example of the persistent greed of our empire.

The shame of us “whites” is palpable here in the beautiful high desert. Again, we find the Native Americans already here, —we are visitors. They welcome us, but we know it is long past due that we need to decolonize this land.

Sen. McCain protested during visit to Navajo Nation, Aug., 2015, Facebook.
Sen. McCain protested during visit to Navajo Nation, Aug., 2015, Facebook.

It has been one year since a group of people of the San Carlos Apache tribe called out the dastardly actions of our Arizona Senators (McCain and Flake). The senators, joined by other politicians, slyly “gave” this sacred land of the Apaches to foreign corporations. The politicians have benefited financially for their campaigns. They blatantly continue their charade of pretend that the rape of this land and waters will benefit us. They wish to create another huge pit of rubble where the beauty of ancient, historic trees, wild animals and sacred culture now lives. They wish upon us another huge slag pile of toxic waste to cover a huge area of the nearby desert. The enormity of this insult is evident in that this obnoxious action would reverse the executive order made by President Eisenhower to always protect the Oak Flat area.

The first morning, while it was still dark, the runners rose from their tent beds and screamed battle cries. The sounds are a strange awakening but the clear intent is to maintain the peace of Oak Flat.  They left this sacred grounds and went to join other runners and marchers at another sacred place. They will run back through many miles of mountains to Oak Flat.

This is the one-year anniversary of the march to save Oak Flat. Will one year now be more important than thousands of other years that human culture and oaks grew here? This year has been a time of energetic organizing. Mostly Native American and First Nations people have come together to oppose this egregious assault on their sovereignty. They are now joined by many other individuals and organizations. The growing resistance is determined to stop the corporate and associated political abuse of Native American people, land, waters, —and in fact, all of us.

There is a hope of redemption here in spite of the preliminary gash of drilling, rock piles, new roads and hot toxic water pollution from deep pumping. Representative Raul Grijalva and others in Congress are trying to move a bill through to reverse the sneaky sudden insertion of the land swap in the National Defense Authorization Act in 2014. This is a good thing that needs more active support.

The Oak Flat area is home to many wild animals and special plants. It is the origin of water for rivers. But the outstanding feature is the huge white oak trees giving it its Anglo name. These are no ordinary trees. They are historic antiquities. They, like some survivor trees in California, are truly Native American peoples trees. It has been largely unrecognized that these trees were actually cultivated by Native American ancestors. The edible acorns of these trees are prized by all and give good nourishment. Indigenous People learned to control the branches of the oak trees in ways to provide easy and plentiful pickings. To me, some of the trees that the collapse of this land would swallow show evidence of that form. It is also likely that the ancient people learned to control the acidity of the soil of these great trees to prolong their health and life. These amazing rediscoveries are sufficient alone to reason the preservation of this entire area from mass destruction. However, the enemy politicians and corporations are also opposing listing the area as a National Historic Site.

While the Oak Flat camp prepared for the arrival of hundreds, the Apaches and their many friends made their long march again. They are gathering much support because they are right in many ways. We can learn from them. We must do so to save ourselves.

On the last night of the campfires, speeches, prayers, blessings, singing, dancing, words of solidarity and friendship, —–the word R E S I S T A N C E was boldly set in lights on the high desert.

The beauty and innate value of the Oak Flat land is immense. It must be preserved just to stop the idiotic mining methods that choose the cheapest, most profitable and destructive methods. The price of copper has recently fallen dramatically showing the unnecessary feature of this mine. Conservation can also be applied to make a major difference. But, above all, please acknowledge the concept of “sacred” and act to protect Oak Flat.

Sign Up To Our Daily Digest

Independent media outlets are being suppressed and dropped by corporations like Google, Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for our daily email digest before it’s too late so you don’t miss the latest movement news.