A group of community members came together Friday the 19th at the Arizona State University Down Town Phoenix Campus and questioned Senator John McCain about his dealings with Oak Flat. The protest today is a continuation of pressure upon McCain, Kirkpatrick, Gosar, and Flake. These Arizona state representative gave away protected National Forrest and sacred land to a foreign mining company through a midnight rider in the National Defense Authorization Act, December 2014. “It is important we keep calling out these politicians who do nothing but spit rhetoric then do corrupt acts against the people,” stated Laura Medina an ASU graduate student in the American Indian Studies masters program.
McCain spoke at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and the Thunderbird School of Global Management to discuss politics, security, and the media. He of course did not touch on Oak Flat or the water rights he is secretly trying to obtain through the Navajo Nation. With McCain’s position Oak Flat is probably not on his radar unless he continues to get called out by the people. “Arizona needs to fully understand the environmental destruction that will entail if the biggest open pit mine is only an hour away, Rio Tinto has one of the worst reputations for disrespecting environmental and indigenous rights around the world,” Ms. Medina continued. Ironically the Apache Stronghold, the organization on the frontline of the movement and currently occupying Oak Flat, was invited to speak at ASU the same day but for the M.E.C.H.A. youth conference. The Stronghold is keeping busy by seeking support of the two Save Oak Flat Act H.R.2811 and S.2242.