"Archaeologists and Native American tribes are protesting language in a Senate bill that would approve a controversial land exchange between the federal government and a copper mining company—a swap that may put Native American archaeological sites at risk. The bill is needed to fund the U.S. military and is considered likely to pass the Senate as early as today.
The company Resolution Copper Mining hopes to exploit rich copper deposits beneath 980 hectares of Arizona’s Tonto National Forest. The land, however, also contains important archaeological sites and places sacred to local Native American tribes, especially the Apache. “This is the best set of Apache archaeological sites ever documented, period, full stop,” says John Welch, a former historic preservation officer for the White Mountain Apache Tribe and a professor at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, Canada".