/ Modified feb 2, 2021 3:34 p.m.

San Carlos Tribal members run to advocate for Oak Flat

The group is running from the religious site to Phoenix before a court hearing discussing the area's future.

Wendsler Nosie Sr Apache Stronghold Screenshot of Wendsler Nosie Sr., founder of Apache Stronghold, in a call-to-action video published the week the Jan. 15 U.S. Forest Service environmental impact statement was due to be published.

Members of the San Carlos Apache Tribe are running to the state capitol from a sacred site near Superior that the federal government is set to transfer into the hands of a copper company.

The runners, former Tribal Chairman Wendsler Nosie Sr., and his granddaughters, plan to journey to the federal courthouse in Phoenix before a preliminary injunction hearing begins Wednesday morning.

Along with being an Apache religious site within the Tonto National Forest, it's also one of the largest undeveloped copper deposits in the world. Earlier this month, the U.S. Forest Service opened a limited window for ownership of the land to switch to Resolution Copper — the company planning to mine Oak Flat.

The San Carlos Apache Tribe, and Indigenous and conservation groups have filed multiple lawsuits to stop the land transfer. Apache Stronghold, Nosie's nonprofit, argues that the land around Oak Flat belongs to the Western Apaches by treaty, and the transfer would violate their constitutional and religious rights.

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