Sen. McCain deemed responsible for land swap at sacred Oak Flat

Supporters rally at Oak Flat, a sacred Apache site in Arizona. Photo from Facebook

Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) was responsible for a land swap that authorizes a controversial mine at a sacred Apache site in Arizona,

McCain serves as chairman of the Senate Armed Forces Committee. Last year, his panel drafted the 1,648-page National Defense Authorization Act that included the land swap at sacred Oak Flat.

According to McCain, Section 3003 protects the areas used by Apache tribes for ceremonies and gatherings. It also requires the Department of Agriculture to prepare an environmental impact statement for the project and to consult with affected tribes.

But the San Carlos Apache Tribe, other tribes and their supporters believe the mine will destroy the site. They are calling on Congress to repeal Section 3003 and block the land transfer.

“To me, this is the spiritual war. Because we are fighting something that is old. Because they want to continue to take from the earth and leave nothing behind,” Wendsler Nosie Sr., a council member and former chairman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, told the Associated Press.

Nosie and the Apache Stronghold held are leaving Arizona this weekend for a multi-state caravan journey to Washington, D.C., They will hold a rally for H.R.2811, the Save Oak Flat Act, on July 21 and July 22.

The bill repeals Section 3003 of H.R.3979, the National Defense Authorization Act.

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