“Trump Officials Rush To Mine Desert Haven Native Tribes Consider Holy”

“Administration seeks to transfer ownership of Arizona area to mining company with ties to the destruction of an Aboriginal site”

“Since January, San Carlos Apache tribal member Wendsler Nosie Sr has been sleeping in a teepee at a campground in south-eastern Arizona’s Oak Flat, a sprawling high desert oasis filled with groves of ancient oaks and towering rock spires.

It is a protest in defense of “holy ground” where the Apache have prayed and performed ceremonies for centuries.

A dozen south-western Native American tribes have strong cultural ties to Oak Flat. But the Trump administration, in its waning days, has embarked on a rushed effort to transfer ownership of the area to a mining company with ties to the destruction of an Aboriginal site in Australia, the Guardian has learned.

“We were in the fourth quarter with two minutes left in the game. And then Trump cheated so now we only have one minute left,” said Nosie, who was a football quarterback in high school. “Everybody has to mobilize now to fight this.”

Last month tribes discovered that the date for the completion of a crucial environmental review process has suddenly been moved forward by a full year, to December 2020, even as the tribes are struggling with a Covid outbreak that has stifled their ability to respond. If the environmental review is completed before Trump leaves office, the tribes may be unable to stop the mine.”

Annette McGivney reports for the Guardian November 24, 2020.