Democrats may have broken House rules to hold a pseudo-hearing featuring Native American leaders opposed to an Arizona copper mine, including one anti-Redskins activist who decided to dress up in “blackface” this Halloween.
Terry Rambler, chairman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, was one of several tribal leaders invited by House Democrats to testify against the Resolution Copper mine — a company looking to mine in Arizona on lands some tribal leaders say are sacred grounds.
Rambler has also come out against the Washington Redskins football team for using a name he says is offensive to Native Americans. Ironically, Rambler decided it was OK to dress as Bob Marley, complete with dreadlocks wig, rasta beanie and what appears to be blackface” for Halloween this year, according to IJ Review.
Rambler did issue an apology on Facebook for wearing “blackface” this Halloween, saying he is “not a racist” and he “did not mean to offend anyone.”
Democrats on the House Committee on Natural Resources did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation request for comment on their choice to have Rambler testify (against House rules) after he went out in “blackface” for Halloween.
Democrats on the committee have largely opposed Resolution Copper, arguing it desecrates Oak Flats and other sacred grounds for American Indians in Arizona.
House rules prevent lawmakers from using committee resources to advertise an unofficial hearing. In this case, Democrats used the committee’s official webpage and social media accounts to promote the anti-mine hearing.
A letter sent from Rambler’s tribal office invited other tribal leaders to attend a “forum” held by House Democrats to oppose the mine. In the letter, Rambler says the mine endangers Apache “ancestral homelands,” where tribes would “pray, conduct ceremonies, gather medicines and ceremonial items, and seek peace and personal cleansing.”
Resolution Copper, a company owned by the mining giant Rio Tinto, wants to mine in Superior, Arizona. Congress approved the mining project last year as part of a package of 80 bills related to public lands.
The deal includes a land-swap whereby Resolution Copper would get about 2,400 acres and 5,000 acres would be set aside for conservation efforts. The company consulted with environmental groups in the deal.
Democrats have been trying to thwart the company, introducing legislation in both chambers of Congress to undo the land deal and stop the mining project. This includes legislation from Arizona Rep. [crscore]Raúl Grijalva[/crscore], the minority leader on the natural resources committee, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
“Resolution Copper is disappointed that mining opponents have pressured members of Congress to introduce legislation to block the Resolution Copper mine,” Jennifer Russo, a Resolution Copper spokeswoman, told TheDCNF.
“The Resolution Copper mine will support 3,700 jobs, generate over $60 billion in economic impact and result in nearly $20 billion in state and federal tax payments – Rep. Grijalva’s legislation puts these economic benefits in Arizona at risk,” she said.
There’s also disagreement over whether Oak Flat is even a sacred site. Dale Miles, the former historian for the San Carlos Apache Tribe, wrote an oped criticizing claims the region was ever considered sacred by Apache tribes.
“There has not been a long history of ceremonial or cultural activities such as Sunrise or Holy Ground ceremonies taking place at Oak Flat,” Miles wrote. “From my personal perspective, the thought of having such a ceremony at Oak Flat, far from the support of relatives, clan members and friends in the San Carlos tribal area is almost unthinkable.”
“In 1970, the Magma Copper Company built a mine shaft on Oak Flat that you can see from the passing highway. No member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe said anything about it being a sacred site,” Miles added. “There were no protests, no publicity of any kind… It wasn’t until recent years that the site of Oak Flat was called sacred in any kind of way.”
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