Oak Flat: Kirkpatrick Stands with McCain, Flake, Gosar, Salmon, Schweikert & Franks (video)

Oak Flat
A view of Oak Flat from the video below. Educate yourself.
Oak Flat
A view of Oak Flat from the video below. Educate yourself. Watch the videos below.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a man revered in my household when I was a child, made a promise to the San Carolos Apache back in the 1955 that there would be no mining at Oak Flat. He made this promise when he opened up other Northern Arizona acreage to copper mining, and you can see the consequences of these promises decades later.

In 2014, Arizona Senator John McCain (AKA Despicable Me) attached an Oak Flat rider to an unrelated defense bill — thus clearing the way for mining on sacred Apache land by Resolution Copper, a foreign company– the land that Eisenhower promised would be saved from mining. The Tucson Weekly’s headline is 100% accurate, it was a “new low” for McCain.

Until this week, I had blamed McCain and fellow Arizona Senator Jeff Flake for this travesty, but then I stumbled upon a link revealing that Democratic Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick stood with the entire Arizona Republican delegation on Oak Flat— and against the Apache. (You’ll remember that Kirkpatrick has had long-time support from Native Americans.)

This story is from Kirkpatrick’s own website: AZ Republic: Gosar, Kirkpatrick join forces for Ariz. copper mine. This is really disappointing news about Kirkpatrick because I was ready to back her against McCain for the US Senate, but this Oak Flat slight of hand by the Congress is morally wrong.

Copper mining has devastated large swaths of Arizona. Why does this industry also need the ~700 acres at Oak Flat?

Our President made a promise. Eisenhower was a man of integrity. The US government should keep Eisenhower’s promise.


  1. Excuses, excuses, excuses … Ann Kirkpatrick has joined in the betrayal of our Thanks for the excellent article Mrs. Hannley . Our Apache brothers and sisters once again are being lied to and betrayed … all of your excuses will not change that … Nor change the fact that if this horrible mine goes through that a crime against humanity and people (the Apache nation) is once again being perpetuated in the year 2015 as if it were the year 1915. NO OAK FLAT !
    Leonard Clark
    The Damn Liberal
    Progressive Democrat for the U.S. Senate

  2. If my memory is correct, Oak Flat legislation was attached as a rider to a must-pass appropriations bill by Senators Flake and McCain–basically sneaked in without debate. In July, in response to another matter, Sen. McCain wrote me, “It is my belief that Congress should consider policy matters separately without attaching them to must-pass spending bills that are necessary to keep the federal government from closing.” Obviously, McCain’s belief about screwing Native Americans out of their rightful historical sacred land ranks higher than his belief in an open, transparent legislative process. If there had been open debate, Oak Flat would probably have been defeated as it was previously. “In 2013, Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., was forced to pull his bill, the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act, from the House floor or risk defeat. Gosar is the lead sponsor of the bill, which is co-sponsored by Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz.” (Wikipedia). Kirkpatrick also introduced legislation for the swap in 2009.
    It would be nice to have senators and representatives who actually represent Arizonans rather than foreign-based transnational companies.

  3. Opponents of the Resolution Copper project have claimed President Dwight D. Eisenhower permanently withdrew this parcel from mining in September 1955 because of its cultural and natural value.

    However, a review of Public Land Order 1229, the document under which this change was made shows the Oak Flat Withdrawal was a part of a larger, routine land withdrawal package that included 24 campgrounds, fire lookouts, picnic and recreation areas in the Tonto and Coconino National Forests in Arizona and 19 similar withdrawals in the Apache National Forest in New Mexico. Signed by Assistant Secretary of Interior, Fred Anadahl, this public land order withdrew the lands from all forms of appropriation under the public land laws.

    Furthermore, when Congressman Raúl Grijalva asked Deputy Forest Service Chief Joel Holtrop the reason for this withdrawal at a Congressional hearing on H.R. 3301 in November 2007, he stated the mineral withdrawal at that time was done to protect the Federal Government’s interest in the capital improvements that had been made there.

    Public Land Order 1229 was modified in September 1971 by Public Land Order 5132. Signed by Assistant Secretary of the Interior Harrison Loesch, it stated “lands described in paragraph 1 (including the Oak Flat Withdrawal) will be open to such forms of disposal as may by law be made of national forest lands, except appropriation under the U. S. mining laws.”

    The 1971 modification effectively made the 760-acre Oak Flat Picnic and Campground site eligible for disposal by land exchange, which is exactly what took place when the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act was signed into law in December 2014.

    Those opposed to the Resolution Copper project have distorted and misrepresented the facts about the Oak Flat Withdrawal in an effort to generate public support for their agenda. Contrary to their claims, Oak Flat was not withdrawn for its cultural and natural value. It was withdrawn to protect investments that the Federal Government had made at this site. Furthermore, modifications to the status of federal lands made under public land orders are not permanent. They can and do change with time and as the needs of our nation change. Finally, neither of these public land orders were personally issued by President Eisenhower. They were low level administrative tools that are commonly used by the Federal Government to manage our nation’s public lands.

    • This is an excellent analysis and is rich in the details and technicalities of the confiscation. Thank you, David Briggs. But the real issue to me is whether it is right to confiscate (or rather to continue to confiscate) the homelands of Native Americans. Have they not already lost enough to European Americans?

      • The land is not Indian land…it is Federal Land. The Feds want to open it to mining.

        As far as it being sacred land, Indians seem to think all land is sacred land. Whether it is Apaches or Arapaho or Navajo, whenever any discussions occur to develop some parcel of land, the nearest Tribe will emerge claiming the land is sacred and nothing should be built there. It is a commonly occurring scenario all across this Country.

        • Isn’t that what one would expect? Call it Federal land if you want, but at one time it was their land. If you divide that Federal land into non-sacred land and sacred land, the non-sacred land will be destroyed first and more easily. So, as more and more of the land is destroyed, the portion of the remaining land that is considered sacred will increase.

          Now, if we were to give back all the land that’s been taken, then none of the Federal land would be sacred.

          • Yes, Bob, at one time it was all their land. And has has hapens – and has always happened – if you fail to, or can’t, defend your land, you lose it. Yes, iy is a sad thing, and yes, it is unfair, and yes, it is just plain wrong, but it happens. It is happening today. The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict is an example of a violent takeover. The steady migration and settlement of latinos in the United States is an examples of a peasceful takeover.

            Like it or not, you are a participant in that theft. You didn’t take it, but the house you live in, the building where you conduct business, the land where your food is grown, etc., etc., was all taken from the Indians and you enjoy the benefits of that taking.

            When I am skeptical about the Indians claim of “sacred” this and that, it is because the Indians discovered a poly that has a good track record of working. Being an Indian does not mean that your word is your bond. It means you are another human being with an agenda. They are not stupid and they are very successful at getting what they want through the courts.

          • Steve, if you scroll down to my answer to another comment, you’ll find a link to a post I wrote on this subject, where you and I had an exchange on your observation regarding the number of sacred sites. Take a quick look at that exchange when you have a minute.

          • Ha! Ha! Ha! Touche’, Bob! Hoist on my own patard! Believe it or not, I nearly always find it funny when people catch me contradicting myself. I don’t know why I find it so funny, but I do.

            I am not so gracious towards Indians right at the moment, Bob, but I will not boor you with the story.

        • This is no longer 1915 Arizona … our state has been poisoned enough … even the huge copper mine being operated in Southern Arizona had its CEO come out last week and admit that if it weren’t for the filthy water coming off of the tailings that they use for their mine that he would shut it down immediately. Because this filthy water is a liability for this huge immoral mining corporation.
          You’re right … Arizona is sacred and … the old excuse that they need another huge open pit mine being operated by a foreign corporation for our national security isn’t going to fly anymore. You will no longer be allowed to poison our air, water and land in Arizona with impunity just because you get right wing extremist Republicans and sell out Democrats to help them poison our children . This is more than just about this horrible mine …this is about whether Arizona will symbolically come into the 21st center or continue to be poisoned by greedy corporate executives and their corporate share holders who bribe our so called government representatives with campaign contributions and under the table graft. So please tell Ann that she had better do the right thing and stop representing huge foreign mining corporations while helping John McCain and Paul Gosar poison our beautiful Arizona.
          Leonard Clark, Progressive Democrat running for the U.S. Senate in Arizona

          • Nice stump speech! I don’t think it will win you the Senate seat, but if you drape yourself in the Arizona flag and froth at the mouth a little bit, you will certainly stir some people up! HUZZAH!!!

  4. Breaking treaties seems to be a “Thing” for the Govt. and despoiling sacred grounds for profits IS a republican disregard for the beliefs of others. I urge Congress to reject this proposal.

  5. Thank you Mrs. Hannley for getting the word out and … just in case you did not know … we will be protesting Kirkpatrick’s being allowed to speak at the upcoming Hall of Fame Democratic Dinner at the Phoenix Convention Center on October 30th from 4:30pm to 8:30pm. This is an impending crime against humanity about to take place.
    Lennie Clark 🙂

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