Unresponsive Politicians


Emma here. I wanted to share with you an experience I had trying to contact a member of Congress. To give some background, the Save Oak Flat Act is currently sitting in the House Committee on Natural Resources, where it hasn’t moved in months. We need to see it have a hearing in order for it to move forward. In the past two months my mom and I have met many Americans who have shared their thoughts on Oak Flat with us. As we neared Ogden, Utah a few weeks back, we were excited because the chairman of the Natural Resources Committee, Rob Bishop, has his district in an area we walked through. We figured that meeting with a member of his staff would be a great way to relay America’s thoughts to him. After all, he is a representative serving the American people, right? 

So, with all that in mind, I can tell you what happened. About a week before coming into Ogden I called Mr. Bishop’s office, and spoke with a friendly receptionist who told me she would pass along my info to “John”, who “deals with that kind of stuff” as she put it. When I asked where he was, she said he was on the road, and she didn’t know where he was or when he would be back. 

I heard nothing from Mr. Bishop’s office for several days, so I called again, was again told that John was in some mystery location, and again passed along my information. By the time we had entered into Ogden I was feeling frustrated. I was really pleasantly surprised when John himself finally called me and we spoke for a few minutes. He was not familiar with Oak Flat and I told him we’d love to meet with him in person to tell him what the hundreds of Americans we have met thought. He was very friendly and assured my he’d call back within an hour.

An hour passed- and, you guessed it, no call. Then two hours, three, and soon we realized he would not be calling me that day. The following  day I heard nothing. I then called and left a message on his cell phone that he had called me from before, but heard nothing. My mom even called and left a message. Through all this we were polite, to the point, and patient. Yet no one from Mr. Bishop’s office ever got back to me.

I can only guess that perhaps John looked up Oak Flat, realized Mr. Bishop didn’t care about it, and proceeded to ignore me. I know I am not a member of his district, but I am an American and this issue matters to me. In a democracy we are supposed to have the right to speak up for what we believe in, and Congress is supposed to listen. How they can do that when they refuse to even speak to us is beyond me. 

I hope all of you have had better luck in talking with your representives. And Mr. Bishop, if you should read this, I would still love to speak with you.

4 Ways You Can Help Oak Flat- Without Spending a Cent

When people learn about this cause, often their reaction is “what can I do to help?” I’ve put together a list of easy ways you can help to protect Oak Flat.

 1. Get the Facts. Before you speak out in support of Oak Flat it’s important that you know the whole story! This is crucial because to be an effective activist you need to be accurate and thorough, and hopefully be able to answer any questions other folks may have. Check out the FAQ page on our website to start, and read some articles to understand the whole situation. This article is a great place to start, as well as this NYT Op-Ed, this Indian Country Today piece, and many others. The Apache Stronghold website is another valuable resource. A simple Google search for “Oak Flat” will bring you plenty of info to peruse.

 2. 2. Make the Most of Social Media. In this day and age most of us have email, Facebook, Twitter, or some combination of the three. When you see a petition or compelling article about Oak Flat, share it, Tweet it, or email it to friends and family. Raising awareness is crucial to reversing this land giveaway.

 3. Glam Up Your Car (or house or clothes or etc). By writing phrases like “Save Oak Flat” or “Google Oak Flat” on your car windows, you can get the conversation started and create more opportunities for yourself to talk with others about this issue. You can buy washable Glass Chalk at any craft store and let your inner activist shine! (And of course this works just as well with t-shirts, buttons, signs, etc.)

 4. Use Your Voice. America is a democracy, which means that it is the job of your representtive and senators to listen to your thoughts. So call them up, tell them why you want Oak Flat protected, and ask them to Co-Sponsor HR 2811, the Save Oak Flat Act. You can use this resource  if you’re not sure about who your rep/ senators are and how to contact them.

What other ideas do you have of ways to help Save Oak Flat? Share them in the comments. 

Oh, and if you want to help by spending a cent or two, we can always use your support with our Walk to Save Oak Flat Fund. Thank you!

– Emma


  The walk… Yesterday we passed the 600 mile mark! Whoo! Those who have been following us may have noticed a bit of a gap between our 500 mile and 600 mile mark. The reason for that was a change in our plans as we discovered how effective sidewalk chalk murals were. Surprisingly, most media outlets were not interested in reporting on a story about a mother-Daughter pair walking cross country. But as soon as we started doing chalk drawings, the media started to notice, and the public did too. We spoke to hundreds of people as we drew our murals and got 3 articles in local newspapers. Our “art blitz” is over for now, but we hope to do some more murals in Arizona.   So, We are back to focusing on walking. As we get closer to Arizona the landscape is becoming incredible! I cannot wait to pass through the national parks in the south of Utah. Our public lands are amazing!   The petition… It’s official: the effort to save Oak Flat has over a MILLION supporters! The Avaaz petition asking Congress to protect Oak Flat has gone viral and the number of signatures continues to grow (see it here).

That’s all for now! 

– Emma   A very sleepy Waldo


Rally in DC

  Wendsler Nosie Sr. Speaks to a crowd of supporters. [photo from Apache Stringold]


Today was a day that we hope will go down in history as an influential part of the journey to save Oak Flat. On the lawn of the Capitol building in Washington DC, hundreds of supporters gathered to raise awareness about this critical issue. Members of the San Carlos Apache were joined by concerned community members, journalists, and Congresspeople alike. My mom and I watched the rally on a live stream (thank you, Internet!) as many passionate speakers took to the stage. (If you missed the rally, read a recap by the Huffington Post here and a Cronkite News story here).

There were many inspiring moments during the rally, perhaps most notably the presentation of an Avaaz petition asking Congress to protect Oak Flat that has nearly a million signatures. People from literally all over the world recognize this injustice and demand a change. The people have spoken, and their message is clear: protect Oak Flat. 

Words of wisdom were spoken by tribal members including Wendsler Nosie Sr., Sandra Rambler, and Terry Rambler. “When you go back to your states, call your congressmen…and you tell them to protect Oak Flat,” said Sandra Rambler. “The power is the people.” 

Representative Grijalva, who introduced the Save Oak Flat Act, also spoke and was presented with a traditional pipe by the tribe. “No member of Congress should feel proud – or feel like they got away with something – by ignoring the needs and rights of the original Americans,” said Grijalva. “Oak Flat is as sacred to the Apache people as any other church, temple, synagogue or mosque is to its congregants across this country.”

With growing awareness and steadfast support from folks around the world, our hopes are high for Oak Flat. We’ll be thinking of Apache Stonghold tonight and we applaud them for their incredible effort to repeal the deal and SAVE OAK FLAT.

 From Utah, Emma  

Outreach from Coast to Coast

A.S. NYC 1     U.S. Capitol 7-22-2015

Efforts to save Oak Flat are in full swing across the country. On the east coast Apache Stronghold is taking New York and is spreading the word in big venues over the next few days. Be sure to watch the news and follow the Apache Stronghold Facebook page for the latest on their public protest. We hear they’re going to be on Good Morning America this week, so be sure to keep an eye out for that.

Back in the west we’re getting traction with our mural project and have a few new sites coming up. This week we’ll draw at the headquarters of the Northwest Band of the Shoshone Nation in Brigham City, and we thank the Shoshone Nation for their support. Last week’s mural was in Logan, Utah, many thanks to James and his crew at Great Harvest Bakery for the space and the free slices of the most excellent fresh baked bread in Utah! Click Here to read details of our stop in Logan.IMG_3567

Remember, the most powerful thing you can do to help is to contact your representative and let them know you want them to strongly support the HR 2811, the Save Oak Flat Act. This piece of legislation is in committee right now, so the first push is to get it through committee and onto the floor. That’s what we’re walking for, and that’s what Apache Stronghold has traveled to DC for – to rally support. If you haven’t taken action yet, be sure to do it today!

Democracy in Action

howdy everyone!

I was beyond excited today to recieve this email from our district’s representive, Derek Kilmer

Mr. Kilmer’s decision to co-sponsor HR 2812 is a result of our community speaking out in support of this bill. We are so proud that our district’s efforts to help this important bill along have paid off.

There is still a lot to do, and we hope that if your representative has not yet become a cosponsor of the Save Oak Flat Act, HR 2811, that you will keep up the pressure until they do so.  Look up your representive and their contact information here. Together we can make this bill a priority in Congress and save Oak Flat!

With gratitude,


[photos from the road  


New Save Oak Flat TShirts Now Available

Our National Forests are an important part of the land we all share. Did you know that there are many campsites sprinkled all over our National Forest lands, in some of the most beautiful parts of the country? Not only that, but if you’re the kind of camper who likes to rough it, you can camp throughout many undeveloped areas of the forests for free. It’s land that belongs to us, the citizens of the U.S., so if you like to hike, camp, fish, hunt, ride ATV’s or rock climb, your National Forest is a treasure of opportunity. It belongs to you, don’t miss the chance to visit and enjoy.

Save Oak Flat TShirts help keep the Walk to Save Oak Flat rolling forward. Show your support and spread the word at the same time. Choose your favorite color and let everyone know you support the effort to keep our National Forest lands protected.

Click here to place your order, and thanks for your support.

     Nat Forest Tshirt Front      Nat Forest Tshirt Back


5 Things We Couldn’t Live Without 

hey there!

Today I thought I’d tell you a bit about our most beloved gear items- the things that get us through each day. Without these pieces of gear, we would be at a big disadvantage. So, drumroll….

Here are our FAVORITE pieces of gear:

1.  The Jetboil

I promise they didn’t pay me say this, but Jetboil is a lifesaver. This tiny thing can boil water in minutes, which means we get to enjoy hot tea or coffee and hot food, even when we’re in the middle of nowhere. Warm ramen is infinitely better than a cold, uncooked version. As my mom says “it’s fast, it works, and I can’t live without my coffee!” 


 Okay, this isn’t really gear, but it is an essential. Seriously, try walking 15-20 miles and then drink a nice cool iced tea or soda- there is nothing better. My personal favorite is Califia Farms iced espresso! And of course, ice water is pretty darn good too. Yum yum yum


 We walk through a lot of places with no cell phone service, so these are really a lifesaver. They reach up to ten miles, so we can stay in touch all day long.


 This may look like an ordinary bandana, buts it’s filled with cold-absorbing crystals. After soaking it in ice water, it keeps us cool for up to an hour. And on a hot day, this can make all the difference. 


Whoever is walking carries this handy pack with them. We keep it stocked with water, sunscreen, and safety devices (and sometimes a little snack.) 
Those are just a few of our favorite gear items. What is your favorite piece of outdoor gear?

Well, more news later!



Month Two: New Route to Oak Flat

We’re one third of the way from Bainbridge Island to Oak Flat and have walked 500 miles. The first month we’ve crested the cross-country walker’s learning curve and now know how far and how fast we can travel taking turns walking and piloting our support car. We’ve also learned better ways to reach our audience and have a bigger impact on the Oak Flat issue. From our learning we’ve decided to make some changes to our route.

In order to reach more people and make it easier for our fellow Apache Stronghold supporters to join us, our walk will route along areas where we’ll meet more people along the way. We’ll continue to walk in our national forests and camp in national and state parks and we’ll walk the same distance daily – 15 to 24 miles – but when we reach a stretch of road where there are no towns, trails, or camping areas we’ll use our car to move to the next section of the trip. By staying in more populated areas we can talk to more people and use social media more frequently to try to broaden the base of Apache Stronghold supporters.

Our goal is to get the word out and build support for the San Carlos Apache tribe. The clock is ticking and right now the way we can all help is by pressuring Congress. We are doing all we can to make sure everyone from Washington to Arizona knows about this issue and knows what to do to stop Resolution Copper from turning one of our national treasures to rubble.


Without strong support from every state it’s too likely that Oak Flat will become another story of lost nature, wasted water, and cultural devastation for our First Nations people. Please join us today in reaching out to as many people as possible so that together our voice will be loud enough to carry loud and clear to Congress and the White House. And if you’ll be in Idaho, Utah, or Arizona this summer and would like to take a little walk to help save Oak Flat, contact us at walktosaveoakflat@gmail.com and we’ll meet you on the way.

P.S. Today kicks off the Apache Stronghold caravan to get the word out east of Oak Flat. Safe travels, friends.

New Article in Confederated Umatilla Journal

One more day and we’ll be in Boise! It’s been a very hot week, which makes walking extra challenging because we have to get up very early or in no time it’s too hot to go on (there have been some record setting days of heat recently, 100 degrees is starting to sound like the norm). Also, our drinking water gets warmer and warmer as it sits in the sun as the day goes on, and it’s not very refreshing to drink hot water after walking 5 miles- thank goodness for ice and coolers!

We were excited to see that today the Confederated Umatilla Journal released an article about the Oak Flat issue. We spoke with journalist Miranda Vega Rector in Pendleton, it was a pleasure to sit down with Ms. Rector to share our story. You can read the article here. Check out the rest of the journal online for more great articles.

The San Carlos Apache tribe will be starting their journey to Washington DC in just a few days, on July 5. As they pass through the states and raise awareness, we wish them good luck with spreading the word.

A happy 4th to all!


cuj article photo

photo by Miranda Vega Rector