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The Apache Stronghold has announced that Jane Sanders, wife of Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders, is will visit the Oak Flat site in the Tonto National Forest on March 13. Mrs. Sanders will meet with Apache Stronghold, a group of activists standing against the plan authored by Senator John McCain to turn Oak Flat into North America's largest copper mine, by Resolution Copper, a joint enterprise comprised of Rio Tinto Mining and BHP Billiton.

jane sanders

Jane Sanders Visiting Indian Country—Stephen Fox

Oak Flat is a site of profound religious and cultural meaning to the Apaches, with awe-inspiring scenery, holding a vital place in the spiritual life of the Apache people. It is also very important to Senator Sanders, prime sponsor of the Save Oak Flat Bill, which is presently stuck in the Senate Natural Resources Committee, whose Chair is Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowsky.

Jane Sanders will meet with Apache activists who have been occupying the site for more than a year, as well as with tribal leaders, elders, and members, and members of the press, to highlight the need to get this bill out of the Republican-controlled committee.

Jane Sanders will meet with Apache activists who have been occupying the site for more than a year, as well as with tribal leaders, elders, and members, and members of the press, to highlight the need to get this bill out of the Republican-controlled committee.

"I am so excited that Mrs. Sanders has committed to visit Oak Flat to discuss the occupation by the Stronghold," said San Carlos Tribal Council member Wendsler Noise Sr. "Federal policies must change for us and all Americans, in order to secure the future for those yet to be born. We must not lose these holy places, for they are the fabric of who we are to Mother Earth."

The National Park Service has very recently designated Oak Flat as a National Historic Place, in effect slowing down McCain's plan to privatize Tonto National Forest for copper mining.

The event will include a tour of culturally significant sites, a discussion with stakeholders, and time to address member of the press.

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Sanders bill, S. 2242, the Save Oak Flat Act, repeals Section 3003, the SE Arizona Land Exchange Act, immediately halting this giveaway of land to foreign-owned mining companies.

Oak Flat is sacred to Apaches, who go there to pray, to conduct ceremonial dances and to seek peace. Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake and Representatives Paul Gosar and Ann Kirkpatrick forced a closed-door deal to attach the Land Exchange as a midnight rider into the NDAA in December 2014. Copper mining takes an unsustainable amount of water to operate and leaves behind contaminated water affecting the region for generations to come.

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Regretfully, the desecration of these lands is nothing you have ever heard a word about from Hillary Clinton or any of the Republicans. Without Bernie Sanders' efforts, these Apaches wouldn't have a chance to protect their sacred land. Senator Sanders—plus cosponsors Wisconsin's Senator Tammy Baldwin and New Mexico's Senator Martin Heinrich—are standing up for what is right to protect all Americans from corporate greed. Senator Sanders has done that consistently and without wavering for the past 40 years.

We need Sanders as President! But no matter who you support, the bottom line is that the principle of privatizing ANY National Forest fleeces the American people and especially our First Americans is horrifying and wrong.

To make your voice of support heard in the Senate, please write a letter asking that Sanders' Save Oak Flat bill be approved by the Republican Majority on the Senate Natural Resources committee. Send it to (in care of the US Senate, or on each members website):

  • Lisa Murkowski, Chairman, Alaska
  • John Barrasso, Wyoming
  • Jim Risch, Idaho
  • Mike Lee, Utah
  • Jeff Flake, Arizona
  • Bill Cassidy, Louisiana
  • Cory Gardner, Colorado
  • Steve Daines, Montana
  • Rob Portman, Ohio
  • John Hoeven, North Dakota
  • Lamar Alexander, Tennessee

Stephen Fox
New Millennium Fine Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico