I WOKE UP and plopped myself down in my chair and opened my email. Bleary-eyed, I skimmed over the various subject titles and saw one that made me rub those bleary eyes: “Sign the petition: Apache holy shit threatened …” and the rest was cut off. My first thought was, “Holy crap! White man messing with red man’s poo-poo. What’s this world coming to?” And then I shambled off to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee.
I slurped through my morning bowl of Cafe Bustelo while playing backgammon with an AI opponent with an IQ of 90. When the caffeine finally kicked in and I could see and maybe even think straight, I returned to my emails.
I opened the shitty one first and read the title at the top with a little more clarity than I had had an hour before, seeing the entire headline and seeing the one word correctly:
Sign the petition: Apache holy site threatened
by mining company
Hah! White man not playing with red man’s poo-poo but something much worse: White man messing with red man’s holy lands. Since I got you this far, here is the bulk of the text of the email (beneath the photo):
This photo accompanied the petition. It’s caption simply reads, “Members of the Apache-Stronghold.”
Dear MoveOn member,
My name is Reverend William J. Barber II, of the Poor People’s Campaign. I’m a preacher—and I’ve dedicated my life to the pursuit of social and economic justice as part of my faith and a moral obligation to counter injustice.
I’m writing to you because, unless we act, one of the most sacred places of the Apache Nation in Arizona will be destroyed by Resolution Copper, a corporation that is planning to create a crater below Oak Flat two miles wide and 1,000 feet deep. To Christians and Jews, this would feel like a desecration of Mt. Sinai.
When I first visited the Apache Nation in Arizona years ago, I heard how the Apaches, a people who had lived in the hills, were forced onto a reservation down in the river basin. And then the Army, at night, opened the dam and flooded the river basin, in an attempt to wipe them out.
Their story—and their trauma—is not isolated. First Nations, the indigenous peoples who once populated this land, were almost wiped out in the Indian Wars of the first two hundred years of what would become the United States. And these attacks, despite the resiliency of First Nation tribes, continue today.
Oak Flat is a sacred place to the Apache people. But the U.S. Forest Service has moved forward with an environmental impact statement on this proposed plan from Resolution Copper—and has refused to consider the Apaches’ religious freedom claim, which would stop this destructive mining project.
I’m writing to you as a preacher, hoping you will join me in demanding Congress stop this sale and condemn this immoral, racist, and unconstitutional seizure and sale of Oak Flat.
Rev. William J. Barber II
Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival
Should you want to read more on this, click HERE.
Should want to sign the petition, click HERE.
FEATURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of this page is from the Protect Sacred Oak Flat video: “Oak Flat campground was protected from mining by President Eisenhower in 1955 and is a rare desert riparian area with large oak trees, cool shade, year around water in pools and springs. Oak Flat is sacred to Native American tribes and critical for religious freedom.
Unfortunately, Oak Flat is under attack by two huge foreign mining companies that refuse to play by the rules in the quest for control this incredible place. On December 19, 2014, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law, which gives Oak Flat to the mining companies.”
And if you’re a liberal like I am, then you were probably expecting to see President Trump as the cause of this travesty. Nope—President Obama did this …