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Protect Oak Flat

Native Americans protect sacred land from foreign mining and destruction

Oak Flat is where deities live, medicinal plants grow and sacred ceremonies are held. The indigenous Apache people revere Oak Flat in Arizona as a holy place. The site, which is located 60 miles east of Phoenix, has been part of their cultural identity for thousands of years. But Oak Flat is at risk of being destroyed to make way for an enormous copper mine. Some of the country's largest deposits of copper ore are buried deep underground, and a mining company wants the land.

The mining giant, Resolution Copper, is seeking to acquire the land and access copper. This has caused the Native Americans and environmental activists to rise up in protest as mining can cause the ground to collapse and massive craters to appear. Although Oak Flat is part of the Tonto National Forest, it changed in 2014 when Sen. John McCain added legislation that authorised the handover of Oak Flat to Resolution Copper.

Not only does Resolution Copper threaten the Apache ceremonial grounds with destruction, they also endanger water resources in the area. The mine is estimated to require some 250 billion gallons of water - enough to supply a small city for 50 years.
The documentary explores the fight for Oak Flat and Apache activists trying to protect their ancestral lands.