Spiritual & Environmental Significance

Is Oak Flat Sacred?

The Environmental, Spiritual and Religious Significance of
Chi’chil Bildagoteel, 
an Apache Sacred Site


Read Testimony of Wendsler Nosie Sr., Chairman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe Before the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests. June 17, 2009
Read Testimony of Wendsler Nosie Sr. Chairman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe Before the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Concerning the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act of 2007H.R. 3301, November 1, 2007
Read Terry Rambler, Chairman, San Carlos Apache Tribe Testimony Before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural ResourcesSubcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining Legislative Hearing on S. 339 Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act of 2013 November 20, 2013
Read Terry Rambler, Chairman, San Carlos Apache Tribe Testimony Before the House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources Legislative Hearing on H.R. 687 Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act of 2013 March 21, 2013

The Enviornmental and Spiritual Significance of Chi' chil Bildagoteel, an Apache Sacred Site

A Thesis Presented to The Faculty of the Environmental Program, The Colorado College
by Emily Lucas, May 2017

Acknowledgements:  This work would not have been possible without the help of countless people. Ahi'yihe: to the entire Nosie family, especially Wendsler and Theresa, for always treating me with love and acceptance, for becoming my family, and for teaching me what it means to be Apache. To Vernalda Grant, for her wisdom and guidance. To everyone else on San Carlos and in Apache Stronghold who has been a part of this movement. To my academic advisors Dr. Eric Perramond and Dr. Jean Lee, for your patience and invaluable assistance during this process. To Dr. Dwanna Robertson, for being a mentor and a friend. Lastly (but always first in my heart), to my family, for their love and support.
Introduction:  Indigenous peoples across the United States and around the world are disproportionately affected by environmental issues, including mining. Mining on tribal lands has created a plethora of environmental hazards, and side effects like tainted groundwater and tailings have increased rates of diseases like cancer in indigenous communities. Furthermore, the loss of traditional territory can be culturally and spiritually devastating, even in cases where the tribal government agreed to allow mining. Despite mining companies’ promises of economic opportunity, such jobs often fail to materialize, while negative consequences appear in abundance.
Why Oak Flat is sacred to the San Carlos Apache
Wendsler Nosie, Sr. - September 2010