Oak Flat mining proponents act selfishly, short-sightedly and stupidly

Originally published on The State Press by Rebecca Lydford on 31/08/15.

 

Native American tribes, notably the San Carlos Apaches, consider Oak Flat a sacred site, and the tribe has held religious and coming-of-age ceremonies there for generations. Thousands of climbers, hikers, mountain bikers, bird watchers and campers visit the Oak Flat campground and recreation area’s distinctive volcanic features each year.

However, legislation to mine on Oak Flat, which many consider a gemstone of natural land, was stealthily attached to a defense bill and passed the U.S. House and Senate.

Paul Gosar, R-Prescott, is on the side of environmental destruction in a debate that blew up nationally earlier this month.

In a crafty publication, Gosar states, “See this mine for what it really is: an economic engine that will create good-paying jobs, reduce our dependence on foreign critical minerals and provide a much needed boost to our nation’s sluggish economy.”

This mode of thought, which prioritizes economic stimulation over sustainable development, is self-exhausting.

Looking at the issue on a 40-year time scale, Gosar makes a valid point and speaks to the minds of capitalist America. Right-wing conservatives gluttonously eat up phrases such as “create more jobs,” “boost economy” and “reduce dependence on foreign resources.” However, looking beyond a mere four decades, we will likely find ourselves just as economically well-off as when we launched the plan to devastate beloved natural lands.

Photo: Ed Crisostomo

Dirt roads line a neighborhood in the San Carlos Apache Reservation. Photo: Ed Crisostomo

 

Once we have created those jobs, the beneficiaries of these jobs might buy that new Ford they have been dreaming of. The taxes generated by those jobs might pay for the new paved roads to cover the acceptable ones paved 10 years before. However, we will find that we must do it all over again.

These resources that we dig up, produce, consume and then waste are finite resources. We will always have foreign dependence on resources and foreign markets greatly benefit our economy in this globalizing world. Furthermore, in our move to extract finite resources, we will create a slur of environmental impacts, as well as sacrifice timeless cultural and social structures.

Not only will this mining project do little for our economic woes and ravage our natural environment, but the San Carlos Apache tribe will be stripped of land indispensable to Native identity and spiritual well being. Gosar states that the fact that Oak Flat is a sacred site for Native peoples is a myth. He tries to support this by stating the U.S. Forest Service does not register Oak Flat campground as a sacred site.

It’s criminal for anyone to uphold that agency’s categorization of sacred land for Natives rather than the very people who developed a spiritual connection to the area. How barbaric of our current government to once again deny Native peoples access to lands. After all of the atrocities our government and people have inflicted upon Native Americans, we are continuing to sweep these injustices under a rug of white privilege and supremacy.

When will our government finally begin to make amends for past misjudgments and racism? When will we finally learn from our dark history of mistakes? More importantly, when will we learn from these Native communities? It is an ironic injustice that we drive out the existence of the very people who hold the wisdom of securing our future from environmental issues such as climate change.

Although it is not often discussed, Native peoples were the pioneers of sustainable values and ideologies. The Hopi’s spoke of preserving current livelihood for seven generations in the future. Natives have a strong spiritual connection to and respect for the land. Ancient Native American practices preach minimal waste and to only take what is needed. These perspectives are our only saving grace as our biosphere becomes increasingly ill — a physical actualization of the mental illnesses inside human beings who act in self-interest with little to no consideration for each other.

Let’s be honest with ourselves, policy makers. We aren’t considering many different ways to budget, stimulate our economy and benefit our future. To be frank, this is one of the reasons we are falling behind on the scene of global development. Our constant striving to further our ever-consuming economy is leading us toward extinction. Let’s hope we change our business-as-usual practices, before they become humanity’s extinction.

 

Related Posts

Series: Gendered Impacts of Resource Extraction
Seeking Justice for Rape, Murder & Repression in the Mining Industry: The Hudbay Minerals/CGN lawsuits
Protect Juristac! Join the campaign to protect Amah Mutsun sacred lands
Honouring A Sacred Connection: Stk’emlúpsemc te Secwépemc Nation says Yes to healthy people and environment, No to Ajax’s mine
Honouring Our Sacred Connection to Pípsell

Honouring Our Sacred Connection to Pípsell

  • Written on: 29 September 2017
  • Posted under: Videos
Resistance, exchange, (post)extractivism: YLNM Coordinators meet in Galicia- in photos
Mining and Resistance in Dinétah

Mining and Resistance in Dinétah

The light from Standing Rock: beautiful struggle shows the power of protest
Crested Butte celebrates as longest running mine battle in the West nears end
#AxeDrax: Campaigners unite for climate justice against coal and bioenergy-fueled deforestation
Standing Rock protests: this is only the beginning
First Nations across North America sign treaty alliance against the oilsands
Mining Leaves a Menominee Tribe’s Hallowed Sites at Risk
VIOLENCE ON THE LAND, VIOLENCE ON OUR BODIES: Building an Indigenous Response to Environmental Violence
Mining’s Toxic Legacy On Rivers

Mining’s Toxic Legacy On Rivers

‘Incredible News’ as Obama Pulls Plug on Offshore Drilling Plans
Mountaintop removal: country’s mental health crisis
Flin Flon Flim Flam

Flin Flon Flim Flam

  • Written on: 11 February 2016
  • Posted under: Videos
Ditch coal now! The global destruction caused by the UK’s coal power generation
Ditch Coal

Ditch Coal

At the Coalface: Ten more years of UK coal burning a lifetime on the ground
The Badger-Two Medicine Area: Too Sacred to Drill
TPP will harm campaign to protect tribal land from mining.
Bald Mountain protected from mining destruction in Maine, USA
COP21: Call for international recognition of rights of nature and communities
The Town That Stood Up to Coal

The Town That Stood Up to Coal

  • Written on: 24 November 2015
  • Posted under: Videos
Canadian indigenous, environmental groups urge Trudeau to reject Petronas project
Ottawa continues to pander to Canadian mining, despite endemic violence in local communities
Eve of Destruction: Bureau of Land Management Sacrifices Native Site to Mining Group
Shell leaves the Arctic!

Shell leaves the Arctic!

Indigenous Women Disrupt Tar-Sands Pipeline Consultation

Indigenous Women Disrupt Tar-Sands Pipeline Consultation

  • Written on: 25 September 2015
  • Posted under: Videos
Conservation Wins over Mining Exploration in Arizona’s Mountain Empire
Native Americans in DC: Obama Stop Leasing Lands for Fossil Fuels
Frontiers: Clean Water, Wild Places and Healthy Communities

Frontiers: Clean Water, Wild Places and Healthy Communities

  • Written on: 14 September 2015
  • Posted under: Videos
Local First Nations hosting own review of Mine

Local First Nations hosting own review of Mine

Our Resistance, Our Hope: Unity Statement of the International People’s Conference on Mining
Dispatches From the Edge of Change: Montana’s Fossil-Fuel Resistance
Oak Flat mining proponents act selfishly, short-sightedly and stupidly
Animas River Mine Spill: Tribes, Counties, Environmental Groups Unite to Prevent Future Mining Contamination
Colorado River Indian Tribes stand against extreme extraction
Diné confront McCain over Oak Flat & water rights

Diné confront McCain over Oak Flat & water rights

  • Written on: 21 August 2015
  • Posted under: Videos
The USA’s Toxic Mining Law of 1872

The USA’s Toxic Mining Law of 1872

  • Written on: 21 August 2015
  • Posted under: Videos
Earthworks and US Citizens Expose Fracking Pollution

Earthworks and US Citizens Expose Fracking Pollution

How American Indian Land Is Still Being Stolen For Mining

How American Indian Land Is Still Being Stolen For Mining

  • Written on: 28 July 2015
  • Posted under: Videos
US Silica Sand Mining Surge

US Silica Sand Mining Surge

  • Written on: 14 July 2015
  • Posted under: Videos
New Photos Reveal Extensive Damage Done by Ring of Fire Mining Exploration
Charleston Resident Barney Frazier speaks on Mountaintop Removal
Copper Miners Vs. Apache People – Fighting For Sacred Land
#AxeDrax: UK must end support for coal and biomass reaped from US and Colombia
Haida Raid: Save Our Waters

Haida Raid: Save Our Waters

  • Written on: 15 April 2015
  • Posted under: Videos
Common Frontiers: The Impact of Canadian Mining in Honduras
No Mining Bill

No Mining Bill

  • Written on: 08 April 2015
  • Posted under: Videos
Huicholes: The Last Peyote Guardians

Huicholes: The Last Peyote Guardians

  • Written on: 08 April 2015
  • Posted under: Videos
A Hero Doesn’t Get Used To This

A Hero Doesn’t Get Used To This

  • Written on: 08 April 2015
  • Posted under: Videos
The Last Mountain

The Last Mountain

  • Written on: 08 April 2015
  • Posted under: Videos
I Couldn’t Believe My Eyes

I Couldn’t Believe My Eyes

  • Written on: 08 April 2015
  • Posted under: Videos
San Carlos Apache Leader: ‘What Was a Struggle to Protect Our Most Sacred Site Is Now a Battle’
Idle No More: Movement for Indigenous Sovereignty

Idle No More: Movement for Indigenous Sovereignty

  • Written on: 04 December 2014
  • Posted under: Campaigns
Honouring the River: How Hard-Rock Mining Impacts Tribal Communities
MiningWatch Canada: Reports
Understanding the Legal Framework for Mining in Canada

Start a Conversation. Share Words of Solidarity.

This website is about building a movement. We can only build a movement when we connect with one another. We invite you to do just that…

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *