Broken body, transformational action and healing spirits

Stories from Merwyn DeMello and a prayer for peacemakers during his last days on-team at Oak Flat
a sign with signposts held up by rocks on Oak Flat land that reads "Oak Flat Prayer Rising"

This week, I talked with a miner from Superior, AZ, who occasionally camps at Oak Flat; he said it was a place that brings him peace and spiritual healing. He spent sixteen years of his life at several mines, including Magma Copper, which have left him mentally and emotionally scarred and with a broken body. He even lost his father to a mine wall collapse. He said he has seen the destructive impact of mining on the earth and has no doubts that Resolution Copper will devastate the Apache holy grounds at Oak Flat. He desperately hopes that Apache Stronghold wins the case against Resolution Copper so they can live in harmony with the land and commune with their ancestors’ spirits.

Three elders from the First United Congregational Church of Christ, Albuquerque, NM, en route to Phoenix for their annual UCC Southwest Conference meeting, visited Oak Flat. One had participated in the Prayer Rising on Oak Flat in November 2023. They stressed their ardent support for Apache Stronghold’s struggle to preserve their sacred grounds, their culture and rituals. They described the transformational experience they had during the Prayer Rising, particularly for their mainly white church community in training to undo racism and understand white supremacy. They said their church had taken the concrete step of signing the Amicus Brief supporting Apache Stronghold.

Wendsler Nosie led CPT team members on a prayer walk to the Ga’an Canyon. During the walk, he sat on a narrow ledge jutting out from the jagged cliffs, where he sang and prayed for 30-45 min, as his ancestors had done for centuries. He told us later that he prayed to the Ga’an for protection of the Oak Flat from the evil intentions of Resolution Copper to destroy Mother Earth. He also prayed that our paths would lead us back to this sacred space. He said that even if we do not return in the flesh, if we close our eyes, we will be transported to where the ancient teachers and messengers of the Apache ways abide.

As I complete my time on-team at Oak Flat, I have lots to reflect on and continue learning. I leave assured that I can return to the mystical canyon of the Sacred Mountain Spirits. I pray that we may walk on holy ground at Oak Flat, humbly and with reverence, in the footsteps of the Apache elders while being present to the spirits of the ancestors; and be called to oneness with the earth, to seek the energy within us, which purifies us for transformational action.

Read More Prayers

an image of the horizon over the Aegean Sea, with text overlay that reads #FreePylos9

We stand in solidarity with the Pylos 9!

Greek courts continue to criminalize people on the move including the nine unjustly accused survivors of the horrible Adriana shipwreck in the Aegean Sea

Skip to content