East Shore Unitarian Church hosted a Prayer Journey visit on Thursday, March 2 for members of the House of Tears Carvers. They are traveling to Oak Flat, Arizona in support of the San Carlos Apache tribe who are fighting to protect their sacred ceremonial grounds at Oak Flat. Cecile Hansen, chairwoman of the Duwamish Tribal Council, attended and along with Duwamish Council member Ken Workman who welcomed East Shore community members and House of Tears Carvers guests Freddie Lane, Doug and, Siamel’wit James and their two children. The Lummi shared prayers and explained the purpose of the Totem Pole journey to Oak Flat. Coming with a sacred Eagle Staff carved by Lummi Carver Richard Solomon, they gathered prayers and hands-on blessings from our community. Approximately 40 people attended including Bellevue City Mayor Lynne Robinson and City Council member Janice Zahn.
House of Tears Carvers will continue their journey south to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena, California. On March 21 when a judicial decision will be made about the fate of the Oak Flat sacred site. A copper mining company owned by Rio Tinto, a foreign mining company aims to build an enormous copper mine in Apache sacred lands that would destroy much of the land and water resources in the drought-stricken area.
While awaiting the judicial decision, House Natural Resources Committee member, Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz) announced the introduction of the Save Oak Flat From Foreign Mining Act. This act is designed to permanently protect Tonto National Forest’s Chí’chil Biłdagoteel Historic District, also known as Oak Flat, from foreign mining operations that will permanently desecrate the area and destroy its tribal cultural and religious heritage sites.
For more information on the legislative action proposed by Raul Grijalva, click here.
by Marilyn Mayers, Indigenous Connections Team