Target: United States Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell
Goal: Don’t give acres of sacred Apache forests to mining companies.
The United States Congress gave a huge portion of sacred Apache land away to be mined when they passed a bill called the National Defense Authorization Act, which authorized the nation’s defense programs but also handed over a massive public lands package to a foreign uranium mining company, among others. Mining on these Apache ancestral forests would destroy countless sacred burial and ceremonial grounds. There is no reason for this bill to exist other than the selfish monetary gain to the government.
A group of dozens of Apache activists trekked on a 44-mile journey from the San Carlos Apache office to the Oak Flat campground set to be mined by Resolution Copper. A 14-year-old Apache girl, Nizhoni Pike, who participated in the protest, stated that she “prayed about having her sunrise dance there.” The sunrise dance is a traditional Apache ceremony that allows girls to transition to womanhood.
Nizhoni will never be able to participate in this significant coming-of-age process in the tradition of her ancestors if the land becomes inaccessible or destroyed by this mining. Tell the Interior Secretary of Congress to amend or remove this dishonest rider that has cheated thousands of Native Americans out of their land.
Dear Secretary Jewell,
I would like to personally request the justice owed to the Apache Native Americans who have lost their land due to an undisclosed and unrelated rider included in the National Defense Authorization Act. The bill was made to authorize national defense programs, but has also taken acres of sacred Apache forests and lands and sold them to multiple different mining companies, including a uranium mine from Iran. If these mining deals are brought to completion before this rider is withdrawn, countless sacred burial and ceremonial grounds will be destroyed or become inaccessible to its own ancestors and end centuries of American history.
The Australian-English mining firm has claimed that Iran itself will not receive any benefits from the public lands package they’re receiving, and therefore it is unnecessary to anyone but the United States government. The only thing that mining this land will do is destroy the ancestry of countless Americans and strip the land of its minerals. Please stand with the Apache people and use your authority for good by repealing the rider that was purposely hidden within this defense bill.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Grand Canyon National Park