Prayer for Oak Flat was a 2020 shared practice for MCCN congregations. See background information here.

Oak Flat, a site sacred to multiple Native American groups, was scheduled to be handed over to a copper mining company on December 15. Prayer and legal efforts moved the deadline to March 11. On March 1, Carol Rose, a pastor at Shalom Mennonite Fellowship, sent us this update:

What happened?

Immediately following a powerful week of prayer, including runs to Oak Flat from the four directions by Indigenous nations and danced prayers in that sacred land, the Department of Agriculture instructed the Forest Service (which is under them) to withdraw the Final Environmental Impact Statement and Draft Record of Decision related to Oak Flat!  This means that March 11 is no longer a looming deadline!  One of the two legal actions in process to defend Oak Flat was filed exactly for this end.  So that one won without even going through the court.

What’s next?

The primary legal action filed by Apache Stronghold regarding religious freedom continues.  It includes concerns about the 2014 federal legislation that promises the land transfer.  It will take the success of that lawsuit and/or the passage of the Save Oak Flat Act—which would get Congress to rescind that transfer—is needed to get it off the table all together.

Our role now