is white man messing around with red man’s poo-poo?

Es­ti­mated reading time is 3 min­utes.

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):


Apache HolySite 1000 bright

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.

Thank you.

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.


OakFlat Arizona 1200

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 . . .



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