18 April 2023 |
In a show of support for religious freedom, Seventh-day Adventists are one of the religious groups supporting the San Carlos Apache and other Indigenous nations connected to the area of Oak Flat. The Oak Flat area in Arizona is the subject of a long-running dispute between the San Carlos Apache Tribe and mining company Rio Tinto.
The area is considered sacred by the Apache people and is also home to a diverse ecosystem. Resolution Copper, a company run by Rio Tinto and BHP, wants to mine the copper reserves in the area, which would involve destroying the landscape and potentially polluting the surrounding water sources. The conflict over Oak Flat has a long history, with the Apache people historically working against the miners, claiming that they violate their religious freedom and threaten their water supply.
According to Mother Jones, the groups that have “banded together to support the Apache and filed briefs as part of their advocacy” include: Seventh-day Adventists, the Islam and Religious Freedom Action Team of the Religious Freedom Institute, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Christian Legal Society, Jewish Coalition for Religious Liberty, and the Sikh Coalition.
Rio Tinto says that mining the area would bring “3,700 jobs and $1 billion annually to Arizona’s economy,” while those in opposition point out that “this case holds implications beyond its effect on Native American Worship.”