If you have been praying for Oak Flat, you will be relieved to know that a legal strategy has postponed the land transfer that was threatened for January 15. A lawyer unearthed an 1852 treaty that indicates that the Apache still own this land, rather than the U.S. Forest Service.

A court date on January 27 will consider an injunction and later court dates will consider core issues of respect for religious rights and for the environment. Regardless of the outcomes in court, we still need to overturn the congressional bill that promised the land for mining.  Keep praying!

For those who have not tuned in, Oak Flat is a site east of Phoenix, Ariz., that is sacred to the San Carlos Apache and other tribes as well. MCCN became involved in their prayer campaign through Shalom Mennonite Fellowship, Tucson–a member congregation.

Carol Rose, who pastors at Shalom, spent the weekend of January 15 in prayer at Oak Flat. In a text sent from its campground, she described the trip there as follows:

“Down to the river, up over and through the foothills, through the high desert, through rocky places, through devastated mining places. Along the way this morning I stopped to pray as Wendsler* suggested. It was a very different way of arriving. I noticed the land so much more and the birds and the plants. There is a section of desert where there are ancient elders, grandparent saguaros with so many limbs that you can’t count them at a glance. I needed to stop and give thanks for safe passage and then ask permission to enter the next area.”
“The spirit of this place and God [is] so alive here,” she concluded later in the text.

More information

Recent article: Clock is Ticking on Oak Flat Land Swap, AZ Central, Jan. 15

Background: MCCN shared practices page

*Wendsler Nosie is a San Carlos Apache leader spearheading efforts to save his ancestral lands.