Peacemakers train to accompany Oak Flat

Members of the Coalition to Dismantle the Doctrine of Discovery are training to accompany Apache Stronghold in prayer and action to protect Oak Flat (Chi’chil Biłdagoteel), a sacred site, from destruction by Resolution Copper.
Trainees at the CPT and Coalition to Dismantle the Doctrine of Discovery training act out a position of power.

We ask our community’s prayers for trainees and trainers at the CPT internship training hosted by by the Coalition to Dismantle the Doctrine of Discovery. Fourteen people are training with CPT to accompany land defenders at Chi’chil Biłdagoteel (Oak Flat). The Coalition is a movement emerging from the Anabaptist faith tradition which seeks to support Indigenous self-determination and efforts to protect the earth from ongoing colonization. Trainees have committed to supporting Apache Stronghold at Oak Flat, helping to maintain a continuous accompaniment presence.

Since May, CPT – Turtle Island Solidarity Network members have been on the ground accompanying Apache Stronghold in their spiritual struggle to protect Chi’chil Biłdagoteel, a sacred site for the San Carlos Apache in Arizona in the United States. The US government is poised to turn over the land to Resolution Copper, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto and BHP, which plans to undermine the area to extract a large copper deposit. “Dewatering” work has already begun, which threatens the sacred springs that sustain ancient oak trees and medicinal plants. Eventually, mining would cause the land to collapse into a giant sinkhole, obliterating the Apache ceremonial site where the people’s spiritual guardians or angels live. Apache Stronghold is seeking to stop the government from transferring the land to Resolution Copper with a lawsuit asserting that the destruction of Oak Flat would violate their religious freedom.

Please pray for trainers and trainees as they build skills and resources to engage in this struggle. We celebrate and pray for these peacemakers as they learn, grow, and deepen relationships of mutual support.

We also invite you to join in for a Day of Prayer on 4 November 2023. This “prayer-rising” invites people of all faiths to pray for forgiveness for how our economic systems have harmed the Earth and to pray for healing and transformation within these systems and among all people so that human and more-than-human kin will have a livable future. Join in prayer at Oak Flat or in your own communities.

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