Solidarity with Apache Stronghold all the way to the Supreme Court

After several legal hurdles, the Apache Stronghold will file an appeal to the United States Supreme Court in a final effort to protect the sacred land of Oak Flat
An aerial view of Oak Flat red cliffs over rolling green hills, under threat of destruction by Resolution Copper if not protected by the appeal to the US Supreme Court
Image by Jeremy Gilchrist

For nearly a decade, Apache Stronghold has been fighting in federal court to preserve the heart of their spiritual practices: Chi’chil Biłdagoteel (Oak Flat). The equivalent of Notre Dame or the Temple on the Mount, Oak Flat is a sacred site threatened with destruction by the bottomless hunger of capitalism in the guise of Resolution Copper, which promises to turn the vaulted arches of oak and juniper into a two-mile sinkhole. 

On 14 May 2024, Apache Stronghold’s tireless march for justice via the legal system turned on to the final approach, when the United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeals declined to re-hear the en banc arguments before the entire bench of 29 judges. The next and final stage will be filing an appeal before the United States Supreme Court later this summer. 

CPT stands with Apache Stronghold and the next leg in this quest to make the United States recognize the truth: that Oak Flat is sacred land. As sacred land, Oak Flat is part of the delicate and resilient web of relationships between soil and stone, water and wind that make this biosphere a home for all our relations. For all our sakes, Oak Flat must be protected. 

Please continue your support for and solidarity with Apache Stronghold through prayer, and action including signing this petition and organizing groups to sign amicus briefs committing to support Oak Flat and all sacred sites.

CPT has been accompanying Apache Stronghold since May 2023 in prayer and action to protect Oak Flat.

Oak Flat is under threat from the mining corporation Resolution Copper (a wholly owned subsidiary of Rio Tinto and BHP). In 2014, legislation in the United States Congress laid out a plan for a land transfer to give the area to Resolution Copper. While the legislation requires an Environmental Impact Statement before the land transfer, it allows Resolution Copper to do whatever it wants and exempts them from environmental regulation.

Resolution Copper plans an underground mining technique (“block cave”) that would turn this sacred site into a two-mile wide 1,000-foot crater and destroy it. Even though the land transfer has not yet taken place, Resolution Copper has already begun “dewatering” which removes the groundwater from shafts they drilled into the earth from property they already own. This endangers Oak trees and other plants that depend on groundwater to survive.

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