Above photo: January 4, 2021, Oak Flat supporters hold a prayer vigil outside a Tonto National Forest office in Phoenix. Carina Dominguez/Indian Country Today.
The Apache Stronghold Spiritual Convoy to the 9th Circuit Court is underway and made a stop in Tucson, Arizona on Wednesday.
A Tohono O’odham blessing took place at the popular overlook on “A” mountain, followed by a gathering at Southside Presbyterian Church.
The spiritual convoy is underway in hopes of stopping an international mining company, Resolution Copper, and its parent company, Rio Tinto, from extracting copper from the Oak Flat campground area, 60 miles east of Phoenix.
Apache Stronghold has issued a litany of complaints, lawsuits and appeals attempting to stop the project from going through, after advocates said the late U.S. Sen. John McCain underhandedly slipped the measure into the National Defense Spending Bill in the 11th hour in December 2014.
A report released recently found that construction of the Resolution Copper Mine would take hundreds of billions of gallons of groundwater while Arizona faces unprecedented surface water supply reductions, according to hydrogeologist James Wells.
“If the Resolution Copper Mine is approved, it will commandeer a vast amount of the state’s water, leaving less for everyone else,” said Wells.
His comprehensive analysis, The Proposed Resolution Copper Mine and Arizona’s Water Future, found that the proposed mine would consume at least enough water to supply a city of 140,000 people every year for 40 years.
The spiritual convoy is set to stop at the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community on Wednesday, the Colorado River Indian Tribe on Friday before heading to seven stops in California on the way to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
On Oct. 22, Apache Stronghold’s appeal on the motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against the United States, USDA, and Tonto National Forest will be heard.