Media Advisory, June 4, 2021

Contact:

Brytnee Miller, (631) 870-9925, bmiller@biologicaldiversity.org

Tucson Save Oak Flat Events to Send Off Apache Stronghold Members on D.C. Road Trip

TUCSON, Ariz.― Community events next week will rally support for the Save Oak Flat Act and send off members of Apache Stronghold as they start a cross-country road trip to Washington, D.C., to lobby for the bill’s passage. Stronghold leaders, including former San Carlos Apache Tribal Chairman Wendsler Nosie Sr., will attend a community event Sunday and an interfaith blessing Wednesday evening.


Save Oak Flat Community Kick-off Event

What: Community send off and remarks from Apache Stronghold leader Wendsler Nosie Sr., who’s driving to Washington, D.C., to lobby members of Congress to pass the Save Oak Flat Act, sponsored by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders, (I-Vt.). The event features Indian tacos, local Indigenous baked goods from Osito Treats, posters and T-shirts from Gloo Factory, and a letter-writing table to urge Arizona Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly to support the Save Oak Flat Act.

When: Sunday, June 6, 4 to 7 p.m.

Where: Floor Polish Dance Studio, 930 N. Stone Ave., Tucson

For more information: See the Apache Stronghold events page and Facebook events listing.


Interfaith Service

What: Faith leaders will bless Apache Stronghold members as they begin their journey to Washington, D.C., to save sacred Apache lands from foreign mining companies. Stronghold leader Wendsler Nosie Sr. will speak about the spiritual battle to protect Oak Flat. Media is invited to attend this private ceremony with local clergy, supporters and church members.

When: Wednesday, June 9, 7 to 9 p.m.

Where: Grace St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 2331 E. Adams St., Tucson.

For more information: See the church’s Facebook page.


Background

Oak Flat, about an hour east of Phoenix, is a sacred site known to Apaches as Chi'Chil'Ba'Goteel. Home to a diverse desert ecosystem, it’s also on federal land within the Tonto National Forest.

For centuries Oak Flat has played a ceremonial role in the Apache culture as a place to harvest medicinal plants for coming-of-age ceremonies. It is also an important part of America’s public lands heritage. The Resolution Copper mine would decimate Oak Flat and the surrounding Sonoran Desert.

The mine would eventually create a crater more than a mile wide and 1,000 feet deep. The 1.4 billion tons of toxic waste the mine would produce would be dumped on thousands of acres of nearby wildlands, turning a vibrant landscape into an industrial wasteland and threatening to contaminate groundwater and surface water in the area. The mine would use a vast amount of groundwater annually, equal to the amount used by the entire city of Tempe.

The Save Oak Flat Act would overturn 2014 legislation that authorized the land to be traded away to multinational mining giant Rio Tinto for the massive Resolution Copper mine.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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