For over 5 years, a measure to cede 2,400 acres sacred to the Apache tribe for use in copper mining has been pushed in Congress. Backed by various well-paid corporatist congress members such as Senator John McCain, this measure inevitably dies from the outrage of the native tribes who care for this land. So, this year the members backed by legalized bribes by foreign corporations have attached the measure to the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act in a lame duck session of congress.
The land in question is part of the Tonto National Forest in Arizona. The areas which would be destroyed by the mining operation include Devil’s Canyon, a popular hiking trail, and Apache’s Leap where 75 Apache men, women and children were massacred by US troops in 1871. The loss of either would be a cultural loss not only for the Apache nation, but for all of us.
The attempt to hide this brazen attempt to sell off cultural heritage for mere coin tells us how these congress members feel about their duty to protect this nation. One must wonder how much of the estimated $61 billion in revenue is to be lining these congress members pockets if the bill passes intact. After all, members of congress regularly reap huge profits from bills they introduce.
What has the tribe most upset is that the measure first requires a review of the deal, then orders that the deal go through anyways. The review is to be effectively ignored. San Carlos Apache Chairman Terry Rambler, has put out the call to stop the deal, putting a petition at Whitehouse.gov as well as lobbying congress directly to stop the measure once it hits the Senate.
Despite changes to require consultation with affected tribes and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance, the provision still mandates the transfer of tribal sacred areas into the private ownership of Resolution Copper regardless of the results of the consultation or information and recommendations resulting from the NEPA process. A mandatory conveyance defeats the purpose of tribal consultations and the NEPA process that are designed to help provide information before decisions are made. In [the land swap bill] the outcome is pre-determined, rendering tribal views and public comments meaningless. Further, [it] would not require Resolution Copper to mitigate impacts on tribal sacred areas after conveyance and contains no repercussions/penalties on Resolution Copper for harm/destruction to tribal sacred areas.
The blatant greed being presented by these members of congress is astounding. The company has spent a fortune buying candidates for office in the same way one would collect baseball cards. And now for their thousands per candidate, they expect to destroy the cultural heritage of a native tribe for billions. How much is our collective cultural heritage worth? To these candidates, not much at all it seems. Legalized bribery has made them no longer stewards of our nation, but instead greedy puppets of corporate masters, willing to dance on their string for the crumbs tossed to them. Disgraceful.