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.