Spiritual Significance & Faith Communities' Support
Spiritual and Religious Significance of
Chi’chil Biłdagoteel (Oak Flat) an Apache Sacred Site
The Battle to Save Oak Flat | Liberty Magazine, Jan/Feb Edition | Reverend Jennifer Hawks, January 1, 2022 | "In the fight to save Oak Flat, supporters of religious freedom have an opportunity to come alongside our indigenous neighbors and stand with them as they fight for their ability to practice their religion. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution—“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”—enshrines these dual protections into federal law. But it is up to all of us to see that these protections extend equally to all Americans, not just those who worship like us."
"My Christian faith understands the whole earth and all living beings as holy. My European ancestors also passed down the spiritual understanding that there are “thin places” on earth where humans can connect more easily with that holiness. Those places are often chosen as places of worship, prayer, pilgrimage, and service to others. The faith-filled responses within the holy “thin places” serve to deepen, strengthen and tend to the connection with God and with all that is holy in those places. The physical places are actually holy. We encounter God in those places, and more spiritual power becomes accessible over time through the spiritual work of God’s people in those places. Existing in these spaces is one way we partner with the Creator."
Defending Oak Flat and Deconstructing White Christian Privilege | Huffington Post, Jul 2015, Alison Harrington | "Last week, while addressing a crowd in Bolivia, Pope Francis asked for forgiveness: “I humbly ask forgiveness, not only for the offenses of the church herself, but also for crimes committed against the native peoples during the so-called conquest of America.”
Letters of Support Faith Communities
Please Support H.R. 1884 Save Oak Flat Act | We write on behalf of the undersigned conservation, Indigenous, and religious groups
representing millions of members and supporters to urge you to support H.R. 1884, the Save Oak Flat Act. July 8, 2021
Letter to President Biden from member, Social Justice Committee, Minister’s Conference of Winston-Salem & Vicinity & Participant, Apache-Stronghold on behalf of Bishop Todd Fulton and Dr. Keith Vereen, Co-Chairs, Social Justice Committee and Elder Tembila Covington, President, MSWSV. "On behalf of the undersigned religious freedom and human rights groups, organizations, and individuals, we write in support of protecting the sacred area known as Oak Flat located in the Tonto National Forest in southeastern Arizona. As voices from America’s religious community, we ask that your Administration would take all of the necessary steps to ensure protection of this place of sacred significance to Native peoples." Jan 2021
The Enviornmental and Spiritual Significance of Chi’chil Biłdagoteel, an Apache Sacred Site
A Thesis Presented to The Faculty of the Environmental Program, The Colorado College by Emily Lucas, May 2017
Introduction: Indigenous peoples across the United States and around the world are disproportionately affected by environmental issues, including mining. Mining on tribal lands has created a plethora of environmental hazards, and side effects like tainted groundwater and tailings have increased rates of diseases like cancer in indigenous communities. Furthermore, the loss of traditional territory can be culturally and spiritually devastating, even in cases where the tribal government agreed to allow mining. Despite mining companies’ promises of economic opportunity, such jobs often fail to materialize, while negative consequences appear in abundance. The Environmental and Spiritual Significance of Chi’chil Bildagoteel, an Apache Sacred Site PDF; 296 KB (c) Emily Lucas
Why Oak Flat is sacred to the San Carlos Apache
Wendsler Nosie, Sr. - September 2010