Oak Flat has landed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's
2015 list of America's 11 most endangered historic places, according to a press release from the Arizona Mining Reform Coalition
A sacred place to the San Carlos Apache and other Native American tribes, Oak Flat is currently threatened by proposed copper mine. For the time being, it is protected from mining thanks to orders issued by former presidents Richard Nixon and Dwight Eisenhower. But a land exchange within the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015 would green light foreign mining companies to invade.
Several advocacy groups have pleaded Congress to protect the landmark, which is still used for religious and cultural practices. Since February, members of the Apache Stronghold, and other supporters, have been camping at Oak Flat demanding its protection. (At the end of May, there was a weekend-long festival to celebrate Oak Flat
and raise awareness on what's at risk.)
“We hope this designation increases national awareness of Oak Flat and its profound importance to Native American tribes,” said a statement from Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “The tribes who regard Oak Flat as a sacred place were not adequately consulted before this land exchange took place. Before any potentially harmful mining activity takes place at Oak Flat, we need to make sure the tribes and others who care about this important place have a voice in shaping its future.”
Recently, U.S. Raul Grijalva, along with 14 bi-partisan co-sponsors, introduced the Save Oak Flat Act to block the mining at Oak Flat proposal that's on the National Defense Authorization Act.
The National Park Service is currently accepting public comments for the nomination of Oak Flat to the National Register of Historic Place as a Traditional Cultural Property. If you want to sign
, there's a June 29 deadline.
The Grand Canyon also made the list. Sad.