San Carlos Apache Leader Seeks Senate Defeat of Copper Mine on Sacred Land

Congress is poised to give a foreign mining company 2,400 acres of national forest in Arizona that is cherished ancestral homeland to Apache natives. Controversially, the measure is attached to annual legislation that funds the US Defense Department.

 This week, the House and Senate Armed Services Committees quietly attached a provision to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would mandate the handover of a large tract of Tonto National Forest to Resolution Copper, a subsidiary of the Australian-English mining company Rio Tinto, which co-owns with Iran a uranium mine in Africa and which is 10-percent-owned by China.

The “Carl Levin and Howard P. ‘Buck’ McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015” - named after the retiring chairmen of the Senate and House Armed Services panels – includes the giveaway of Apache burial, medicinal, and ceremonial grounds currently within the bounds of Tonto. News of the land provision was kept under wraps until late Tuesday, when the bill was finally posted online.

The land proposed to be given to Resolution Copper, in exchange for other lands, includes prime territory Apaches have used for centuries to gather medicinal plants and acorns, and it is near a spot known as Apache Leap, a summit that Apaches jumped from to avoid being killed by settlers in the late 19th century.

Lands included in the plan will stop 1,500 feet short of Apache Leap and will not initially include an area known as Oak Flats, though, when it comes to the oaks, contradictory legal parameters are but a minor hurdle for a company like Resolution Copper to eventually drill there.

The House may vote on the NDAA as soon as this week with rules included that would bar the Senate from amending the legislation. On Wednesday night, a last-minute effort to strip the land provision from the NDAA failed in the House Rules Committee, which voted to give one hour for debate over the NDAA in the House.

Terry Rambler, chairman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, told The Huffington Post he was saddened by news of the proposal, yet not all that surprised.

“Of all people, Apaches and Indians should understand, because we’ve gone through this so many times in our history,” Rambler said.

“The first thing I thought about was not really today, but 50 years from now, probably after my time, if this land exchange bill goes through, the effects that my children and children’s children will be dealing with,”Rambler added.

“Since time immemorial people have gone there. That’s part of our ancestral homeland,” Rambler said.”We’ve had dancers in that area forever – sunrise dancers – and coming-of-age ceremonies for our young girls that become women. They’ll seal that off. They’ll seal us off from the acorn grounds, and the medicinal plants in the area, and our prayer areas.”

Arizona Sen. John McCain was instrumental in adding to the NDAA the land deal that had been pursued by Rio Tinto for a decade, according to HuffPo. Some in Congress were reportedly concerned with the deal, but it ultimately materialized thanks to economic assurances. Rio Tinto claims mining in Tonto will generate $61 billion in economic activity and 3,700 direct and indirect jobs over 40 years.

Rambler said whether Rio Tinto’s economic assertions are true or not, it may not matter.

“It seems like us Apaches and other Indians care more about what this type of action does to the environment and the effects it leaves behind for us, while others tend to think more about today and the promise of jobs, but not necessarily what our creator God gave to us,” he said.

Rambler said he was particularly concerned with long-term ramifications, including the company’s intent to use “block cave” mining, which means digging under the ore, causing it to collapse.

“What those mountains mean to us is that when the rain and the snow comes, it distributes it to us,”Rambler said. “It replenishes our aquifers to give us life.”

Resolution Copper has said its mining plan for the area has been filed with the National Forest Service and that it will comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) that supposedly protects federal lands.

But Rambler said NEPA is no match for Resolution Copper’s intent.

“This is what will happen – the law in one area says there will be consultation, but the law in another area of the bill says the land exchange will happen within one year of enactment of this bill,” Rambler said. “So no matter what we’re doing within that one year, the consultation part won’t mean anything after one year. Because then it’s really theirs after that.”

Basically, NEPA will only protect lands that remain in federal hands. The rest is fair game, according to federal law.

“We would only have to do NEPA on any activity that would take place on remaining federal land,” said Arizona Bureau of Land Management official Carrie Templin.

The 2015 NDAA contains other land deals, including one that would subject 70,000 acres of Tongass National Forest in Alaska to logging and another provision that would give 1,600 acres from the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington State for purposes of industrial development, a plan that has spurred tribal protest.


Responses to "Congress Gives Sacred Apache Land to Foreign Mining Company "


  2. Anonymous says:

    There is no doubt that John McCain would sell the traditions of real Americans for his own gain ,and to a foreign country it certainly wouldn't be the first time.

  3. Dear ones, I am from far away and would love to help.. So my first practical thought being, someone of you connected to Apache people, or whomever of American citizenship, please, please make an AVAAZ(or similar) petition campaign, and both me, and, I know it in my heart, many from across the globe will sign and stand by you in support.. Do not give up, even with few days left, with the possible support like that you(we} can still make them change their mind.,,
    With deep love and respect
    Maria Aina Motlochov√°
    PS. If you do, let me know, I will happilly "share it forward.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Un-flipping-believable! Well, no, I guess it is entirely 100% believeable in today's world. What can we do?!?! Is there a petition?

  5. Anonymous says:

    How much will the congressmen make from this deal? Did they buy up stocks or options on the company before the news came out? I thought we couldn't make deals with Iranian companies.

  6. Anonymous says:

    It is supposedly against the Constitution to sell any American owned land to a foreign entity. However Congress has been trampling on the Constitution for decades, and we the American ignorant are letting them by not posing term limits on them, and voting them back into office. It is time Americans stood up and take our country back. By force if need be. If there is a petition against this out there anywhere, I will sign it. The American Indian has suffered enough.

  7. Anonymous says:

    When you thought you heard it all, some crazed D.C. idiots pulls something like this. So now we're doing business with Iran. How can they sell or give land that isn't theirs? Doesn't it belong to the Indians? If they can't find one way to destroy the land and our country, they will come up with something else. I'm just dumbfounded!!

  8. Richard Turi says:

    The United States has 2, 379, 964, 800 acres of land within it's borders. That's two billion three hundred seventy nine million nine hundred sixty four thousand acres.At one time none of it belonged to the United States.Our elected representatives can't respect the wishes of a native tribe and a lot of very concerned people to protect 2,400 acres in the middle of nowhere but central to the lives of our first nations people? Disgraceful. Those who slipped this into the spending bill should be ashamed.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The ONLY way we are going to stop atrocities like this is to VOTE these people OUT! Take names, vote when you can and get rid of the antiquated idiots!!

  10. Anonymous says:

    How sad is this...if it were reversed would the act still occur can it happen that there is a land sale from someone's property by those who really have no right to do so and nothing one can do about it???? Sacred dare they do this .............what has happened to man's caring ways for others and respect especially for Sacred ground???? money money really worth it ?????? Prayers are being sent out for all .......???

  11. Anonymous says:

    My heart is just breaking. Breaking.

  12. Anonymous says:

    John McCain has no shame nor does he have a consciousness about anyone except another capitalist pig like himself who wants to cut a deal
    to further increase his bank accounts.
    I hope history is being recorded here cause when the am err I can people begin to wake from their drugged stupor, this transaction that McCain is responsible for will have cause major grief & havoc.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Don't forget, Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick co-sponsored the legislation. I wish they hadn't done this. also, the land wasn't owned by the belonged to the National Forrest Service.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Why cant they well enough alone greed and and more greed This land is sacred to the Apaches they should be left alone they suffered enough already.

  15. Anonymous says:

    American dream = a lot of shit
    Moral superiority = a lot of shit
    Protestant ethics = a lot of shit
    Appreciation of individual effort = a lot of shit
    Justice for all = a lot of shit
    Donald Trump = a lot of shit

    No one can say that Trump does not represent America.

  16. Greed will destroy us all, eventually, even the greedy. By then the major part of us will be long gone. I am sorry for the first people who are doing their best to save our earth. I am with them but, as they, I don't know how to stop this evil.

  17. Unknown says:

    I thought Indian lands were protected by the Federal Government. It is shameful for the gov't. once again allowed to steal tribal lands. I'm even shocked that Senator McCain is in agreement of this. I guess some of President Trumps has rubbed off on McCain.

  18. Unknown says:

    When and if they start drilling I hope the mountains fight back and collapse on them killing every single one of them.

  19. When they say this is happening no matter what and will create so many jobs, does that include Apache/native American jobs? Or is it just taking land with no compensation in the past? Eventually all lands will be taken by greed and industry and we will soon be eradicating humans period.

  20. Not at all appropriate or morally right ... these lands belong to the Apache ...

  21. Lee Berry says:

    All that matters to some is $$$ and it is so wrong.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Petition again this if anyone wants to sign and share:

  23. Kathy Gunby says:

    I am so sorry for whole Indian tribes that has suffered more than any other nationalities in the United States. It is so sad that greed is taking over the planet! If you do start a petition I will certainly sign it as many others would also.

  24. Vic Pane says:

    My Spirit lead me to read this at 12:50am. From a deep sleep I cannot return after reading this terrible news. When will the pain end? Why must a government decide to break our native people down? So much hatred will travel across this nation. I to am guilty of hate. Hate is what they make of us with thier secret acts of profit.

  25. Sherry says:

    Why would the trump administration sell land to China? I thought their slogan was "America First". So what exactly does that mean? If they were going to mine on that land why not sell to an American company? Something smells here AGAIN. I agree that probably McCain and the others are making a bundle on this deal. So the Apache people get screwed. But is the land a part of a treaty? If so, how can they just take it? (stupid question I guess but I'd like to know how those jerks justified taking the land. Jobs is a stupid reason since unemployment is so low. So what is the real reason those greedy slobs are selling the Apache land to a foreign country?

  26. Unknown says:

    Why on earth,in this day and age,do some people in power still want to screw Native Americans over. They all ready tried Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing.Do Native Americans still make the power elite feel so guilty about the past.

  27. Unknown says:

    I think you need to start a petition. And have everyone contact their representative in Congress. And do it quickly

  28. Anonymous says:

    Government stop being greedy, and abide by treaties signed. Allow the
    Native Americans to have peace on their property.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Don't just lament. Contact your misrepresentatives in Congress and let them know that their vote will determine how YOU VOTE when they run for re-election.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Sale Washington D.C.
    How bout dat!

  31. I want people to get out if the mindset that National Forests and BLM controlled properties are GOVT properties. IT IS NOT. IT Is PAID FOR by TAX Payers to PRESERVE !THAT LAND BELONGS TO ALL OF US. SO stop saying Govt property. WE Have to tell them THIS is unacceptable and that they are not utilizing this LAND WE PAID for as AGREED> THat they are in breach of contract. BLM has got to go. The Tribes can care for much of the forests set aside. Ranchers have done more to take care of public lands than BLM. THATS A FACT.

  32. Unknown says:

    WHO do we call? Do we still have time? THIS IS NOT RIGHT and NEEDS TO STOP!!!! WE ALL NEED TO GET INVOLVED NOW!!!!!!!

  33. ranger1 says:

    Change from the controlled opposition parties to Green. Its never too late to go do good for one's land. and google find your local group.

  34. ranger1 says:

    Oh, and join while you still can have rights.

  35. Anonymous says:

    I knew this was coming when Trump reduced the size of some National Monument lands, and took others off the Monuments lands completely.
    Now as far as legislators possibly buying stock in these companies, I wouldn't be surprised if Trump bought stock in them, too.
    Sign the petition right away.

  36. We got to listen to it indigenous people they now how to take care of mother vs corp. They understand $$$$$$$$$$$$

  37. Anonymous says:

    Get rid of every single person in Congress today. And get rid of Trump. Bring in people who are interested in preserving our country's heritage instead of filling their own pockets. Every sitting Republican needs to be put out of office if this is the best they can do.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Trumpaholics at it again. The worst president this country has ever known and will ever know. Our country will be completely demolished before Mueller ever arrests him for treason. McConnell and Paul Ryan need to share a jail cell with him. This is just not right to treat our Native Americans like this. All for the mighty dollar.

  39. They can't!!! Take them to the Hague!!!

  40. Anonymous says:

    Two years ago Jeff Flake and John McCain were sponsoring a bill in which the Grand Canyon would be mined at the bottom for uranium. It would have destroyed petroglphs and ruined ancient land. I wrote a heated letter to both saying something about the rape of sacred land and how and why this should not happen. John McCain responded. He said he agreed with me that there is too much rape allowed to happen to American Indian women and this should be stopped immediately. That wasnt what I asked at all. They must have stopped anyway because it didnt happen, the sale of the bottom of the Grand canyon for uranium mining.

  41. BirdLover says:

    Isn't this Rio Tinto company the same one destroying huge properties in the Indonesian area of New Guinea? There they are actually killing native peoples who try to stop they dig into the earth for minerals...destroying the lands for those who live in them...and the wildlife too. This is not a decent company.

  42. shameful

  43. beatrix says:

    it's not theirs to give! we need to standing rock this crud.

  44. Anonymous says:


  45. Respect Native lands. Copper is found in many places on Earth. There is no need to defile Native American sacred spaces.

  46. These are my people's home. My ancestors way of life. I'd gladly give my life protecting something my family holds dear in. Our hearts.

  47. Unknown says:

    They definitely don't want militia .... After the killing of Lavoy finnicun. .that was the ultimate scare tactic against the people of America and their God given rights to protest those fucking bastsrds decision. Share everyone to protect our lands. Cookie cutter homes are also on the rise in their small cell like yard! Control..control..control!

  48. Why can't we respect what is sacred to others? This is ridiculous - the destruction for the dollar.

  49. C Griffin says:

    This is horrendous. Who attached the measure? Vote them out.

  50. Anonymous says:

    This sounds like a very dangerous and complicated business. Rio Tinto claims to be experts. So did the builders of the titanic.

  51. Unknown says:

    I signed the petition and posted it on fb. I hope we are successful in stopping this atrocity.

  52. Piute says:

    All I can do is beg to God the Creator of all things , to have his way , to protect us and earth from greed.

  53. Just another part of a Treaty that the U.S. will ignore! A Treaty is like a contract and is only as good as the people behind it! This action does not surprise me!

  54. Anonymous says:

    Why are we not stopping this? If there were ever a cause to protest shouldnt the health of mother earth be first on the list?! SHE IS OUR HOME!!!

  55. Unknown says:


  56. Joyce Cox says:

    I despair!

  57. Unknown says:

    This is wrong on all levels

  58. vee says:

    This is bull crap. Enough is enough. Someone said we need to standing rock this and I couldn't agree more.

  59. Anonymous says:

    Haven't we taken enough from the Apache Indians? In any case, we shouldn't allow foreign countries have anything from us. No matter what.

  60. Unknown says:

    Who geved this monsters the right to destroy the best nation in the world? Is this a plan or casuality? Humans and animals life depend on mother's nature.

  61. Unknown says:

    They are destroying the oceas,the rivers,the mountains,the valley, the earth,the air,the jungles, the people,tje animals.

  62. US not your land . Not your right to do this.A`HO . Noooooooooooooo. To this.

  63. Unknown says:

    Corporate America at its best

  64. Inexcusable. The Native Americans have been screwed over since white man arrived and we continue to do it.

  65. Our government has never respected natives from the beginning..... Those in power to do this need taken outta power for even thinking such bull..... To those doing this i hope cancer eats your butthole and your kids get to watch you die the evil death you deserve

  66. Unknown says:

    This is so wrong in so many ways

  67. Unknown says:

    where is Hollywood on this. Why are they not doing PSA's on television and radio against this
    travesty. they are such hypocrites. everyone must contact their representatives and demand this be stopped.

  68. marie-noelle says:

    Remember - 'they' already built antennas on sacred Mount Graham... now it's even worse. Our world is upside down. we MUST rise together, as one, enough is enough.

  69. Unknown says:

    Damn Congress!! Typical for them to pull this shit!!

  70. Anonymous says:

    Stop this at all cost the Indians have the say what happens to thier ancestrial lands.!!!

  71. Unknown says:

    How much must the native American People have to take? The government took away their lands for the white man's needs, now you want to take back their land to have it mined by a different country? What's wrong with you?!! Whites (which I am) and blacks complain every time they have their toes stepped on. The government expects the Native American people to keep accepting the terrible things that's done to them. God forgive us for what we do to the Native American People. I wish we as Americans would respect our Native Americans. They deserve their American rights the same as we do. Just because we use the idea, It's For The Greater Good, doesn't mean it's the moral and fair thing to do. Bottom line, money is what it's all about, wake up United States, stop selling off our land and business for other countries to use, or we will be put on reservations and told how to live. Native AMERICAN people, I personally am so very sorry.

  72. Anonymous says:

    God sees all knows all. Corporate greed on every level and even in our government. Judgement day will come to all those who have done wrong and evil to our native Indians. It will not go without notice in God's hands he has the final say. My prayers are with our native Indians that God would protect them from the evil and greed in this world. That they may have justice for everything they have been through in history in Jesus name! Amen!

  73. Unknown says:


  74. GREED MONGERS ! NO IS Of course our politicians WILL POCKET $$$ on this deal! Can't you politicians leave anything ALONE ????? NOV is coming! YOUR OUT !

  75. Unknown says:

    What the heck is wrong with our politicians to even be considering taking this sacred land. Really terribly upsetting.

  76. The Native American pepolpe have been enslaved, starved, ripped off, religiously denied, disenfranchised in many ways. The real abusers are the people in government who keep creating these back room, midnight vote type deals rising on the back of other larger bills, sometimes not having any relation to that bill at all. If you think your Congress reads all these bills you are being deceived. These types of abuses of power go on all the time with the citizens the looser. This time it's one if the weakest cultures we have.. Really.. When is enough ! nough! Tell them to stop giving away what does not belong to them! They are trying to allow drilling in National Parks also... What will it take for you to express your outrage AND VOTE??

  77. Anonymous says:

    Needs a link to local state senators and congress for voter protest sounds like a deal made for china negotiations

  78. Another travesty. The $61 billion in "economic activity does not include the estimated costs to the environment,either locally, or the broader environment, air, water. And that big open pit that will be left, what happens when it collapses? it surely will. More than any of this, it is another violation of Native American rights, another act of cultural genocide.

  79. I agree. Another travesty. When will we allow Native Americans to live without constant attacks. Don't allow this to happen!!

  80. Brandyn Blatchford says:

    I want to help

  81. Anonymous says:

    Rio Tits is a Fake Queen Elizabeth operation the biggest criminal usuper on this planet, she claims to own 1/6 of the earth,, talk about a parasitic vulture. Her reign is coming to an end very soon...repent to The Lord

  82. I'm a former CRM Archaeologist. I did some work in California some years back and worked on some projects with Tribes to use the cultural preservation laws to throw up some objections to development. Can this be done here. I'm sure that the Apache Nation has some Archaeologists. What do they say? Destruction of cultural patrimony is worse than just losing land, and spiritual meaning is just not something you can put a price on. I hope the Apache nation can put a stop to this senseless destruction.

  83. Congress and Senate are getting out of hand They should be fined for being stupid and fired.!

  84. What can we do to prevent this atrocity?

  85. Unknown says:

    Doesn't surprise me. They had to have support from both political parties to pass this law. We must vote out both political parties to eradicate this insanity of corruption in our government, with the exception of Bernie Sanders and those who voted against this. I bet they will now go after other Native Americans lands.
    I hope every Native American will regoster to vote to help us vote out these crooked, criminals who voted to give the Apache sacred land to mining companies who bribed obviously by the billionaires in the mining businesses.
    It's getting to where we are just going to have to stand together and begin the next American Revolution.

  86. Unknown says:

    Doesn't surprise me. They had to have support from both political parties to pass this law. We must vote out both political parties to eradicate this insanity of corruption in our government, with the exception of Bernie Sanders and those who voted against this. I bet they will now go after other Native Americans lands.
    I hope every Native American will regoster to vote to help us vote out these crooked, criminals who voted to give the Apache sacred land to mining companies who bribed obviously by the billionaires in the mining businesses.
    It's getting to where we are just going to have to stand together and begin the next American Revolution.

  87. Unknown says:

    Doesn't surprise me. They had to have support from both political parties to pass this law. We must vote out both political parties to eradicate this insanity of corruption in our government, with the exception of Bernie Sanders and those who voted against this. I bet they will now go after other Native Americans lands.
    I hope every Native American will regoster to vote to help us vote out these crooked, criminals who voted to give the Apache sacred land to mining companies who bribed obviously by the billionaires in the mining businesses.
    It's getting to where we are just going to have to stand together and begin the next American Revolution.

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