President Obama recently stepped in to prevent a selloff of Native American sacred land. This was much to the chagrin of Arizona Tea Partiers who are downright furious with the federal government. The carefully orchestrated plan to decimate the land to ensure corporate profits is officially not happening. Republican Paul Gosar, Ann Kirkpatrick, John McCain, and Jeff Flake all worked in tandem to try and make this deal go through. They somehow were able to insert a last minute amendment into a military spending bill last year. The addition handed over the land at Oak Flats, or Chi’chil Bildagoteel, to an Australian mining Company. It was an unprecedented show of disrespect to a Native American tribe. Fortunately, the federal government stepped in to prevent this egregious course of action.
Since early 2015, over 300 Apache tribesmen have occupied the site in protest of the transaction. They are determined to protect what they see as ancestral and sacred ground. Girls have their coming of age ceremonies on this site. Wendsler Nosie is an Apache spokesman who put pen to paper to write an extremely powerful letter to the Congressmen about the Oak Flats land. He said, “Has always been our connection to our Mother, our right to exist, a central part of our prayers, songs, stories and spiritual practices. It is from here that we emerged. It is who we are. We have lost so much.”
Not surprisingly, Gosar and Kirkpatrick were not impacted by the thoughtful letter. They are simply motivated by the possible profits and meeting the demands of mining lobbyists. These people even came up with a shameful smear campaign that disputed the sacred status of the land. Park Service received a demand from the politicians to declassify the land as protected area. The Obama Administration decided to step in and push back against these initiatives. They went through the Parks Service and designated the land as a historic district which essentially ended the efforts of Republicans to destroy the holy grounds for mining purposes. Gosar, of course, was irate at the federal intervention that put his evil plan to rest.
His irate words are below:
Shame on the Park Service and Forest Service for ramming a bogus historic place listing down the throats of Arizonans. Clearly, the Obama Administration cares more about pandering to extremist environmental groups and a D.C. lobbyist from the Clinton Administration than following the law and listening to the American public. Oak Flat has never been a sacred site, as confirmed by the local tribe’s own former historian. Yet, Obama’s minions are hell-bent on sabotaging an important mining effort by listing a small, public campground 20 miles away from the nearest tribe’s reservation as a historic site.
By taking their position, President Obama and the Parks Service took a strong stance and made a statement by defending Apache religion and the environment. Politicians are too often involved in orchestrating shady and unethical deals that are driven by money and lobbyists. This deal was no different. But it would be hard to imagine this kind of behavior taking place if the religious site was affiliated with Christian or Jewish affiliates. Native Americans were subject to genocide in American history, but Republicans do not seem too concerned with the facts. Tea Partiers likely do not find much to be sacred based on the stances that they take, but President Obama demonstrated where his priorities are. The Native Americans benefited from having a President in office that took the time to use his power to protect their rights.