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Native American Heritage Month 2021- Oak Flat by Lauren Redniss

Getting Started

Welcome to Native American Heritage Month- Oak Flat Research Guide!  This guide is meant to help you navigate various resources for the Oak Flat book discussion and divided into several main parts, which can be found through the left navigator options:

  • Getting Started -- This tab contains a book summary general information.
  • Book Discussion and Zoom Link -- This tab provides date, time and meeting link for the online book discussion as well as information on the book, author and the campaign to save the sacred land of Oak Flat.
  • TAKE ACTION TO SAVE OAK FLATThis tab provides links and information on how you can take action to help Save Oak Flat and various videos on the campaign to protect this sacred land.
  • San Carlos Apache Tribe/ Current Issues - This tap has information on the San Carlos Apache Tribe and some of the current issues the Apache Peoples are facing.
  • Readalikes -- This tab has a list of readalike books available through the GCC library.


Synopsis of Oak Flat by Lauren Redniss from Goodreads

"A powerful work of visual nonfiction about three generations of an Apache family struggling to protect sacred land from a multinational mining corporation, by MacArthur "Genius" and National Book Award finalist Lauren Redniss, the acclaimed author of Thunder & Lightning.

Oak Flat is a serene high-elevation mesa that sits above the southeastern Arizona desert, fifteen miles to the west of the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation. For the San Carlos tribe, Oak Flat is a holy place, an ancient burial ground and religious site where Apache girls celebrate the coming-of-age ritual known as the Sunrise Ceremony. In 1995, a massive untapped copper reserve was discovered nearby. A decade later, a law was passed transferring the area to a private company, whose planned copper mine will wipe Oak Flat off the map--sending its natural springs, petroglyph-covered rocks, and old-growth trees tumbling into a void.

Redniss's deep reporting and haunting artwork anchor this mesmerizing human narrative. Oak Flat tells the story of a race-against-time struggle for a swath of American land, which pits one of the poorest communities in the United States against the federal government and two of the world's largest mining conglomerates. The book follows the fortunes of two families with profound connections to the contested site: the Nosies, an Apache family whose teenage daughter is an activist and leader in the Oak Flat fight, and the Gorhams, a mining family whose patriarch was a sheriff in the lawless early days of Arizona statehood.

The still-unresolved Oak Flat conflict is ripped from today's headlines, but its story resonates with foundational American themes: the saga of westward expansion, the resistance and resilience of Native peoples, and the efforts of profiteers to control the land and unearth treasure beneath it while the lives of individuals hang in the balance."


“Oak Flat: A Fight for Sacred Land in the American West.” Goodreads, 2 Nov. 2021,



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