The foundational metaphor of spatiality in Indian culture also begins to clarify the extent to which Indian notions of creation and Indian existence are deeply rooted in our attachment to the land and to specific territories in particular. Each nation has some understanding that they were placed into a relationship with a particular territory by spiritual forces outside of themselves and thus have an enduring responsibility for that territory just as the earth, especially the earth in that particular place, has a filial responsibility toward the people who live there. Likewise, the Two-Legged people in that place also have a spatially related responsibility toward all people who share that place with them, including animals, birds, plants, rocks, rivers, mountains and the like. With knowledge of such extensive kinship ties, including a kinship tie to the land itself, it should be less surprising that Indian peoples have always resisted colonial pressure to relocate them to different territories, to sell their territories to the invaders, or to allow the destruction of their lands for the sake of accessing natural resources. Conquest and removal from our lands, historically, and contemporary ecological destruction of our lands have been and continue to be culturally and genocidally destructive to Indian peoples as peoples (Kidwell, 45*).
Yesterday, July 16, 2015 a post appeared on my Facebook page credited to Occupy Democrats. Linked to the post is the complete text of an Op-Ed piece from the New York Times, dated May 29, 2015, written by Lydia Miller. The following link takes you to the complete text version of that article:
Following is the text from that post that accompanies pictures of Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake:
At the very last minute, Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake just snuck a provision into a must-pass military funding bill that gave away holy Apache land to an Australian-British mining company that plans to turn it into a 1,000 foot deep crater. It is the first time in American history that Congress has handed over a public, sacred Native American site to a foreign owned multinational corporation.
Is the motivation for this last minute provision to honor the best interest of all the people, or to honor the money that helps keep these two Senators in their elected positions? In my opinion that answer is fairly clear – and – it is not the first of those two options.
I am in the process of contacting both Senator McCain and Senator Flake as well as Congressman Raul Grijalva, Democrat representing Arizona’s 3rd Congressional District concerning this matter. I hope that other people will raise their voices in opposition to this and similar callous actions.
The following words are from the Op-Ed written by Lydia Miller, published in the New York Times:
The land grab was sneakily anti-democratic even by congressional standards. For more than a decade, the parcel containing Oak Flat has been coveted by Rio Tinto, Resolution’s parent company — which already mines on its own private land in the surrounding area — for the high-value ores beneath it.
The swap — which will trade 5,300 acres of private parcels owned by the company to the Forest Service and give 2,400 acres including Oak Flat to Resolution so that it can mine the land without oversight — had been attempted multiple times by Arizona members of Congress on behalf of the company. (Among those involved was Rick Renzi, a former Republican representative who was sent to federal prison in February for three years for corruption related to earlier versions of the land-transfer deal.) It always failed in Congress because of lack of support. But this time was different. This time, the giveaway language was slipped onto the defense bill by Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona at the 11th hour. The tactic was successful only because, like most last-minute riders, it bypassed public scrutiny.
At this point in time, all I am able to say is mitakuye oyasin – please see my post from July 15, 2015.
* Kidwell, Clara Sue, Homer Noley, and George E. “Tink” Tinker. A Native American Theology. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2001.