Australian mining co. that destroyed Aboriginal sites gets sacred Apache land

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The move comes after the administration sped up the environmental approval process for the transfer by a full year. During a meeting with environmental groups, regional Forest Service officials attributed the accelerated timeline to “pressure from the highest levels” of the US Department of Agriculture, though the government says it is only because the work was finished more quickly than expected…

Called Chi’chil Bildagoteel in Apache, Oak Flat is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its spiritual and cultural significance to at least a dozen south-west Native American tribes. It contains hundreds of indigenous archaeological sites dating back 1,500 years and is a place where Apache tribes have performed ceremonies for centuries…

Unbeknown to tribes and environmental groups who had long opposed mining Oak Flat, the land transfer was passed by Congress and signed by Barack Obama in December 2014 as a last-minute rider to a Department of Defense spending bill…

The Arizona representative Raúl Grijalva and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders also plan to introduce the Save Oak Flat Act in Congress to repeal the land exchange.

Guardian

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