Letter to the Editor
The Bush administration is continuing its disregard for Native American culture. Interior Secretary Gale Norton is not satisfied with destroying the Gwich'in way of life in the Arctic National wildlife Refuge in Alaska by wanting to drill for oil there.
Now she is set to reverse previous Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt's decision not to let a foreign-owned mining company, "The Glamis Imperial Mine," dig a massive open-pit, cyanide-leaching gold mine in the heart of an area withdrawn from future mining claims.
Quechan tribal member Lorey Cachora says, "President Bush has often spoke about his goal of upholding religious freedom for all Americans. This must include American Indians. If Interior ultimately revokes the decision and allows this mine in this place, it would be the same as destroying a church where people have prayed for centuries."
The Quechan Indian tribe is a federally recognized tribe. Members on the reservation total about 3,000 persons. The Quechan are the third largest California land-based tribe, with about 45,000 acres in reservation status. Their aboriginal lands include the area protected in the Babbitt decision to deny the mine.
Many members still speak their native language. The area contains some 49 known historic properties eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, items subject to Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, and religious sites.
How many sacred Native American sites are on the list of sites that Bush and Norton want to mine, log, and drill here in Indiana, let alone the rest of the country? Hopefully public outrage and pressure from Senators Lugar and Bayh can help stop this trend nationwide.
Copyright © 2007 Hoosier Chapter Sierra Club, all rights reserved.[6/28/02]efp