Bernie Sanders stands with Native Americans - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Bernie Sanders stands with Native Americans

After Arizona Senator John McCain snuck a bill into the National Defense Appropriation Act, to privatize the Tonto National Forest and allow it to be turned into North America’s largest new copper mine, the San Carlos Apaches were desperate. Tonto contains the sacred land of these San Carlos Apaches used for praying, spiritual rejuvenation and healing, called Oak Flat.

oak_flat_arizona_-_courtesy_patrick_dockens_creative_commons
This is an aerial view of how the mining would start:

copper_mine_map_at_oak_flat_-_courtesy_earthworks_action
The San Carlos Apaches went to Washington both terrified and angry, and Bernie Sanders was the only U.S. Senator willing to step forward to help them with his Save Oak Flat Act, S2242. This in itself is a very compelling fact which shows how deep the corporate manipulations of our government have gone, with shocking, even terrifying implications.

Sanders’ bill is now cosponsored by New Mexico’s Senator Martin Heinrich and Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin, and needs more co-sponsors. Please ask your Senators to co-sponsor this Act: Benjamin L. Cardin (D – MD) and Barbara Mikulski (D – MD). Their co-sponsorship is necessary because the bill is stuck in the Senate Committee chaired by Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski. These Senators below are the Republican Majority on this Committee, and of course, your letters to them should remind them of the idiocy and dangerous precedents imlicit in privatizing any national forest, even if their colleague, John McCain, is the progenitor of this diabolical and bizarre corporate-manipulated plan.

Make no mistake. These nefarious plans by Senator John McCain and Rio Tinto d/b/a Resolution Mining will most certainly proceed, unless Bernie’s Save Oak Flat is not passed out of the committee and approved by the Senate. Rio Tinto/Resolution has been widening the roads in the area to make way for the huge earth moving equipment they have scheduled to start ripping up Oak Flat and the Tonto National Forest].

Committee on Energy and Natural Resources:
Lisa Murkowski
Chairman, Alaska

John Barrasso
Wyoming

Jim Risch
Idaho

Mike Lee
Utah

Jeff Flake
Arizona

Bill Cassidy
Louisiana

Cory Gardner
Colorado

Steve Daines
Montana

Rob Portman
Ohio

John Hoeven
North Dakota

Lamar Alexander
Tennessee

Shelley Moore Capito
West Virginia

I published an article about the details in Indian Country Today and in the Santa Fe New Mexican, the oldest newspaper in the West. Now the focus has shifted from Sen. Inhofe’s committee to Senator Murkowski’s.

This, in a nutshell, describes Sanders’ compassion for the Apaches, his legislative genius, and his willingness to foil further corporate manipulation of the processes of government and the outright theft and destruction of a beautiful national forest for an Australian-UK conglomerate to rip apart and then leave desecrated like they have already done in several South American nations. In a larger sense, it should very clearly show what kind of President he would be; schemes like this would never see the light of day during the tenure of a Sanders White House, but would abound everywhere in a second Clinton White House.

Again, these mining companies are doing business as Resolution Mining, but half of that is Rio Tinto, a nasty corporation, which has been called the worst corporation in the world, resembling the Monsanto of the mining world. Need I say more? This is a synopsis of their rap sheet.

Just look at what they have done in photos, which speak volumes.

Spain:

Rio_tinto_river_CarolStoker_NASA_Ames_Research_Center

New South Wales, Australia:

image-20150320-2158-17eflph

 

Indonesia:

Grasberg_mine

West Papua, New Guinea:

2011910101835841734_20

Who has prevented this so far? Bernie Sanders of Vermont. None of the Republicans in the Senate, and not a single word of admonishment from Hillary Clinton. Bernie’s bill when passsed stops this insanity in its tracks.

For a person of color, whether African American, Native American, Latino, Hispanic American, Central or South American, or just about any other nationality, ethnic group, or racial group, how could there be any other choice but to vote for Bernie Sanders? Honestly? The same question for anyone concerned about the environment, even Republicans who speak of the principles of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and Dwight Eisenhower.

I will close with two statements from Empowering Tribal Nations, his Native American policy statement:

“Time and time again, our Native American brothers and sisters have seen the federal government break solemn promises, and huge corporations put profits ahead of the sovereign rights of Native communities. As President, I will stand with Native Americans in the struggle to protect their treaty and sovereign rights, advance traditional ways of life, and improve the quality of life for Native communities.” — Bernie Sanders

“It is no secret that Washington faces a serious debt problem, but last time I checked, it was not because we are spending too much on Indian housing, healthcare or education. It is not because we are spending too much on addressing the scourge of diabetes in Native communities,
improving crumbling infrastructure or creating jobs in Indian Country. It is not because we are spending too much supporting Native American veterans who put their lives on the line to defend our nation, or creating economic opportunities for Indian youth. It is profoundly hypocritical that the United States, year-after-year, decade-after-decade, does so little to honor its trust responsibilities to Native peoples. It’s time for real change.” — Bernie Sanders

Please read many more incisive details at Empowering Tribal Nations, Sander’s Native American policy statement.

Editor’s Note: Stephen Fox is the founder of the New Millennium Fine Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico. He can be reached via email: stephen@santafefineart.com


About the author

Stephen Fox

Stephen Fox has been selling Native painting and ledger art in Santa Fe since 1980. His consumer protection writing is focused on ridding the market of aspartame, the neurotoxic artificial sweetener. Contact the author.
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