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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 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.


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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 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.

30 review for Oak Flat: A Fight for Sacred Land in the American West

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    Thank you for the gifted copy, Random House. Oak Flat is a mesa belonging to the Apache. It’s a holy place where girls have a ritual to celebrate their coming-of-age. Reading about this had me in awe because the culture celebrates women and their femininity. In 1995, a copper reserve was found nearby, and ever since, a conflict has been waged on who this land belongs to and what it should be used for (as if that should really be a question?! But I digress). I’ve read about conflicts between the fe Thank you for the gifted copy, Random House. Oak Flat is a mesa belonging to the Apache. It’s a holy place where girls have a ritual to celebrate their coming-of-age. Reading about this had me in awe because the culture celebrates women and their femininity. In 1995, a copper reserve was found nearby, and ever since, a conflict has been waged on who this land belongs to and what it should be used for (as if that should really be a question?! But I digress). I’ve read about conflicts between the federal government and Native lands before, but I was not familiar with Oak Flat. It makes me wonder how many more there are that we don't hear about often enough. Oak Flat is a stunning and powerful portrayal, a true experience of a read, important, timely, and thought-provoking. I loved it so much I plan to listen to the audio while I gaze and study the visuals inside the book. A can’t miss. I highly recommend a physical copy due to the artwork. I received a gifted copy. All opinions are my own. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    "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 "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...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." I understand the print version of this to have stunning visuals; I enjoyed the audio with multiple narrators. I appreciated that the issues raised are more broadly shared with various indigenous groups but I also enjoyed learning more about Apache ceremony and this one family's experiences with it. I had free access through Random House Audio's Volumes app since they have me on the yes list.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Evie

    I have read the print edition while listening to the audio and that's how I would recommend approaching this work of nonfiction. The illustrations are an important part of the book but at the same time, the audio is phenomenal. All in all, this is an important and illuminating piece filled with meaningful stories that are both heartbreaking and awe inspiring. I have read the print edition while listening to the audio and that's how I would recommend approaching this work of nonfiction. The illustrations are an important part of the book but at the same time, the audio is phenomenal. All in all, this is an important and illuminating piece filled with meaningful stories that are both heartbreaking and awe inspiring.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tom Mooney

    On the face of it, this is a beautiful work of visual non-fiction about a global mining giant attempting to extract vast amounts of copper from under sacred Apache land in Arizona. But rather than give us an easy moral conundrum, Redniss delves deep into the community of both the San Carlos Apaches and the nearby small town, which like many in Arizona has mining in its blood. What we get is a balanced, thoughtful and deeply moving investigation and a springboard to explore the great questions of o On the face of it, this is a beautiful work of visual non-fiction about a global mining giant attempting to extract vast amounts of copper from under sacred Apache land in Arizona. But rather than give us an easy moral conundrum, Redniss delves deep into the community of both the San Carlos Apaches and the nearby small town, which like many in Arizona has mining in its blood. What we get is a balanced, thoughtful and deeply moving investigation and a springboard to explore the great questions of our age. How do we protect the environment and also create jobs? How do we access the resources needed in our daily lives without causing destruction of our natural environments? How do we deal with the injustices of the past while also looking to the future? Is capitalism viable any more and, if not, what then? How the hell do we live now? What the fuck have we done?? What the fuck do we do??? Redniss gives us none of the easy answers because there aren't any. Only great conundrums we are going to have to solve if we still want to exist as a species in a century's time.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rod Brown

    The flat and dull text is kept from sinking this book by throwing in lots of illustrations by the author. But the art isn't that great either. I support the cause of preserving Oak Flat for the Apache who hold it sacred against a destructive copper mining project planned for the area, but the narrative meanders around so much and noodles about in digressions, I'm not sure there is a persuasive point made nearly as effectively as the subtitle. And its one of those books that wants to draw attentio The flat and dull text is kept from sinking this book by throwing in lots of illustrations by the author. But the art isn't that great either. I support the cause of preserving Oak Flat for the Apache who hold it sacred against a destructive copper mining project planned for the area, but the narrative meanders around so much and noodles about in digressions, I'm not sure there is a persuasive point made nearly as effectively as the subtitle. And its one of those books that wants to draw attention to an issue, throwing in opposing viewpoints and tons of quotes from people effected, but the author never definitively comes out and says this sucks, let's oppose it and let's do these things to stop this crap. This isn't history. This is happening right now. Without taking a stand and offering an action plan, the whole thing becomes a big shrug: "Aah, so sad. Now what will my next book be about?"

  6. 5 out of 5

    Conner Horak

    This book is a marvel. A self- described "visual nonfiction," Oak Flat provides a sweeping yet intimate examination on the treatment of indigenous peoples in the United States through the lens of a mining town in Arizona and the elevated plateau above it called Oak Flat, where there is still, today, an ongoing political fight between a copper company who wants to mine the huge ore deposits beneath Oak Flat, and the indigenous people who claim it as scared land. If it sounds familiar, it's becaus This book is a marvel. A self- described "visual nonfiction," Oak Flat provides a sweeping yet intimate examination on the treatment of indigenous peoples in the United States through the lens of a mining town in Arizona and the elevated plateau above it called Oak Flat, where there is still, today, an ongoing political fight between a copper company who wants to mine the huge ore deposits beneath Oak Flat, and the indigenous people who claim it as scared land. If it sounds familiar, it's because it is. Disgustingly familiar. Redniss expertly illustrates, both literally and figuratively, how perverted and corrupt the system has been and continues to be against native people, but with a touch so gentle, you are left to discover your own outrage which makes it all the more powerful. The book is journalism perfected, riveting, and a piece of art unto itself. With a certain holiday just around the corner (currently mid-November as of the writing of this review), I can't help but feel that reading this book is all the more pressing. You won't be disappointed.

  7. 5 out of 5

    KDV

    Imagine being part of a culture that celebrates menstruation?! That alone makes it worth saving, shit.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Gerry

    I received an ARC of this book from Penguin Random House in exchange for an objective review. This non-fiction book is unlike anything I have ever read. It combines history, testimony, art, and poetry to examine a serious and controversial issue: the proposal to allow the Resolution Copper Company to begin mining copper on land previously set aside as part of an Apache Indian Reservation. The mining company has already succeeded in persuading the US Congress to allow a "land exchange" whereby the I received an ARC of this book from Penguin Random House in exchange for an objective review. This non-fiction book is unlike anything I have ever read. It combines history, testimony, art, and poetry to examine a serious and controversial issue: the proposal to allow the Resolution Copper Company to begin mining copper on land previously set aside as part of an Apache Indian Reservation. The mining company has already succeeded in persuading the US Congress to allow a "land exchange" whereby the Oak Flat land, held as sacred by the Apache tribe, will be turned over to the mining company in exchange for other land yet to be designated. The Native population holds conflicting views on this issue: some see the mine as a sign of progress and a way to boost the local economy and bring new opportunities for work to the residents of the area; others object that the mining operation will destroy sacred lands that have been used for centuries for religious and cultural practices that are crucial to the Apache identity. Redniss presents all sides of the debate, leaving the reader to draw his own conclusions. The art work illustrating this book is amazing! I must admit I enjoyed the illustrations more than the text. Colorful drawings portray the beauty of the land, while more somber line drawings show the various individuals interviewed for the book. The combination of text and images provides an enlightening glimpse of a culture with which most white Americans are unfamiliar, including descriptions of Apache myths and traditions, historical documents, and personal testimony. A very worthwhile read!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    This is a luxurious book. When I picked it up from the library I was surprised at how heavy it was. The pages are on such thick paper that I kept thinking I was turning two pages at once. To me, the physical weight of it communicated the care and attention with which the author and publisher handled the contents. I don’t think I have ever been so impressed by how a book physically feels in my hands. I was also surprised after picking it up from library when I thumbed through it and saw the illus This is a luxurious book. When I picked it up from the library I was surprised at how heavy it was. The pages are on such thick paper that I kept thinking I was turning two pages at once. To me, the physical weight of it communicated the care and attention with which the author and publisher handled the contents. I don’t think I have ever been so impressed by how a book physically feels in my hands. I was also surprised after picking it up from library when I thumbed through it and saw the illustrations. I can’t remember what whim led me to requesting this from the library, but I had no idea that it was “visual nonfiction” and I’m happy to say that it was a pleasant surprise. Again, the illustrations communicated the author’s care and the time she spent researching the book. I loved how they at times were text in and of themselves, and at other times served to accompany the text. They are lovely. The author jumps between prose, interviews, investigative reporting, and what seemed like poetry at times. I don’t know if I have read anything like it. At times the jumps were jarring, but mostly they were well placed and well executed. Sometimes I felt like the connections between various people in the story were hard to grasp because they came so quickly. A family tree or visual element that I could refer back to would have been helpful. But even still I could imagine the author sitting and chatting with the members of the town and the reservation. I wish that there was more at the end, but of course the struggle to preserve Oak Flat is ongoing so I can’t really fault the author for that. I will for sure be looking for information about it in the news, if there is any! I hope that this book will encourage more news coverage.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    The editor/author does a really good job of allowing the Native voices of the Apache peoples to shine here and tell their story. On the surface level, this book is about a sacred site being taken away from Native people for mining or capitalist purposes. There are court cases, congressional hearings, and internal tribal disputes about the titular Oak Flats. It's a lot in a small book. The reader can feel the significance of the site to specific rites within the Apache culture. Beyond that, there The editor/author does a really good job of allowing the Native voices of the Apache peoples to shine here and tell their story. On the surface level, this book is about a sacred site being taken away from Native people for mining or capitalist purposes. There are court cases, congressional hearings, and internal tribal disputes about the titular Oak Flats. It's a lot in a small book. The reader can feel the significance of the site to specific rites within the Apache culture. Beyond that, there is a deepening of the broader, popular cultural understanding of what Apache means. The name is more than a stolen name brand for clothes or software and Geronimo on display for the public. They are people who are alive and dealing with further attempts at cultural genocide through the invalidation of their first amendment rights. The book makes the argument that best fits this sort of desecration: if there were precious metals under the Vatican, would it be acceptable to mine there for profit? It's equally abhorrent to mine in the Oak Flats. What amount of money is worth destroying a nation's religious practices? What amount of money is worth desecrating and destroying an ancient, holy site? It's these questions that really draw the stark reality of what it means to have rights in the U.S. --and something that this book presents well. There are parallels to other less religious sites such as the ongoing struggle with DAPL, which ring equally poignantly to the necessity of environmental and racial justice for BIPOC peoples.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    I really expected to love this book. The illustrations were lovely, but the text was tedious in places. I've read other books written in a more engaging, narrative style offering the same broader historical details. This was a specific place that had its own story, and its people had their own stories, but my reading experience was to feel far removed from them. I really expected to love this book. The illustrations were lovely, but the text was tedious in places. I've read other books written in a more engaging, narrative style offering the same broader historical details. This was a specific place that had its own story, and its people had their own stories, but my reading experience was to feel far removed from them.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Luca Tanaka

    Jan 15, 2021: A nonfiction picture book for adults, this book feels like the best of both worlds: the art and poetry of children's picture books and the depth and complexity of adult literature. In rich color and expressive drawings, Oak Flat chronicles an ongoing fight between Resolution Copper and the San Carlos Apache tribe for rights to lands considered lucrative to Resolution Copper and sacred to the Apache. This text zooms into the personal stakes and out to the cultural, environmental, an Jan 15, 2021: A nonfiction picture book for adults, this book feels like the best of both worlds: the art and poetry of children's picture books and the depth and complexity of adult literature. In rich color and expressive drawings, Oak Flat chronicles an ongoing fight between Resolution Copper and the San Carlos Apache tribe for rights to lands considered lucrative to Resolution Copper and sacred to the Apache. This text zooms into the personal stakes and out to the cultural, environmental, and historical stakes of this fight. It includes testimony from the people involved, as well as extensive research into not only the potential impacts of the mine and the back and forth in the case, but the histories of the involved parties. "My grandmother's generation. These were the people who knew the earth. They died as prisoners of war, but they had children. That generation was afraid. Then comes my generation thinking, Hey, wait a minute, this is wrong. I'm out here challenging things, but I'm still a little afraid. Then comes my daughter, who's like, boom, boom, boom, boom! And then, Here comes her daughter, who's like, We're going this way." —Wendsler Nosie The book takes no explicit sides, simply presenting arguments from many sides. It ends inconclusively, unsettlingly, and irresolutely, because this lands fight is ongoing and unfolding as I type. In fact, the Trump administration rushed to approve the controversial land exchange today, ahead of the Biden administration's promises to expand tribal land rights and reverse Trump-era rollbacks of protected lands. It's somewhat surreal to experience a book like this in real time, but I think it will be able to stand on its own both as a time capsule for this moment, and as an innovative art and storytelling experience. I'm very impressed, but may have preferred a more explicit stance from the author. I would read more from her, appreciate the education this book has provided, and will continue to follow the story. 4.5

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tracey

    "In Apache tradition, black is the color of the East, where the sun rises. At night, the sun is said to sink underground, into a black hole...It's dark underground. It's dark in outer space. We grope around, searching for meaning and treasure. Black is the beginning. If you go back to the beginning, everything was dark. You start from nothing. Things start to come to light." Mining. A dark and destructive industry. This visual non-fiction book is about mining and its very specific impact on the "In Apache tradition, black is the color of the East, where the sun rises. At night, the sun is said to sink underground, into a black hole...It's dark underground. It's dark in outer space. We grope around, searching for meaning and treasure. Black is the beginning. If you go back to the beginning, everything was dark. You start from nothing. Things start to come to light." Mining. A dark and destructive industry. This visual non-fiction book is about mining and its very specific impact on the land and people of the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation in southeastern Arizona. If you've read any work by Redniss (Radioactive, perhaps?), you know how well-researched her work is and how gorgeously perfect the art work is as well. I am not surprised that I just read a whole lot of history about the Indigenous people of Arizona that I never learned in the schools I attended in growing up in Phoenix. I do remember the Mt Graham battle over the building of telescopes when I was living in Tucson though and it's interesting to think the Pope was involved in that battle (I don't remember that part!) This book left me with a lot to think about in terms of what mining does to communities because it also made me aware that copper (which what these large mining conglomerates want to extract from under Oak Flat) is needed to construct my car (even more for "greener" cars apparently), my home's wiring, and the very device on which I type this review. Stuff. It always come back to stuff.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Laura Hoffman Brauman

    I first encountered Redniss' work when I read Radioactive at the beginning of the month. Oak Flat is another work of "visual nonfiction", this one about Oak Flat, an area of protected land in Arizona that is sacred to the Apache people. It also happens to be near a recently discovered lode of copper and the struggle to protect this land from mining is working it's way through the courts. I'm familiar with the Standing Rock protests, but I didn't know anything about the mining proposal at Oak Fla I first encountered Redniss' work when I read Radioactive at the beginning of the month. Oak Flat is another work of "visual nonfiction", this one about Oak Flat, an area of protected land in Arizona that is sacred to the Apache people. It also happens to be near a recently discovered lode of copper and the struggle to protect this land from mining is working it's way through the courts. I'm familiar with the Standing Rock protests, but I didn't know anything about the mining proposal at Oak Flat. Redniss explores the meaning of the place to the Apache people and the push to mine the area for the economic impact. As with any dispute over the rights to land that is tied to our native peoples, the US track record of taking what we want, and deciding what we think is acceptable risk/loss/cost with no concern for the long term impact on the land, the community, and the culture is evident throughout. Redniss is a talented writer, able to pull elements together from across points of view. The illustrations in here are absolutely stunning and made this an immersive reading experience.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kathy (Bermudaonion)

    4.5 stars When copper was discovered on sacred Native American ground, the poor native people find themselves fighting corporate greed and the federal government. I found this well researched book to be enlightening and disturbing and had a knot in my stomach most of the time as I listened to it. The audio has a full cast and is formatted differently than I’m used to (each character was announced before they spoke) but I came to enjoy it and appreciate it. I came to realize just how poorly native 4.5 stars When copper was discovered on sacred Native American ground, the poor native people find themselves fighting corporate greed and the federal government. I found this well researched book to be enlightening and disturbing and had a knot in my stomach most of the time as I listened to it. The audio has a full cast and is formatted differently than I’m used to (each character was announced before they spoke) but I came to enjoy it and appreciate it. I came to realize just how poorly native people are treated in the US to this day and it upset and shamed me.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Alej

    Listened via Libro.fm I absolutely missed out on the visuals that accompany the text, however, the narration was incredible and made differentiating between individual experiences much easier. I was unsure about reading a Native American story through the gaze of a White woman, but Lauren Redniss put together something very thorough, purposeful, and heart-felt with this work. I will never look at copper, telescopes, or obsidian as I once did. Many doors of thought and appreciation were opened thr Listened via Libro.fm I absolutely missed out on the visuals that accompany the text, however, the narration was incredible and made differentiating between individual experiences much easier. I was unsure about reading a Native American story through the gaze of a White woman, but Lauren Redniss put together something very thorough, purposeful, and heart-felt with this work. I will never look at copper, telescopes, or obsidian as I once did. Many doors of thought and appreciation were opened through reading this.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Michael Kerr

    This interesting piece of visual non-fiction, focuses on an Arizona mountain site sacred to the local Apache Indigenous population called Oak Flat. Unfortunately, big mining interests have their eye on the place due to a large copper deposit and the U.S. Federal government supports this kind of economic 'development.' It's the old story of settlers grabbing land from First Nations peoples, ignoring their cultural, economic, social, and spiritual interests and it's so sad that we're still playing This interesting piece of visual non-fiction, focuses on an Arizona mountain site sacred to the local Apache Indigenous population called Oak Flat. Unfortunately, big mining interests have their eye on the place due to a large copper deposit and the U.S. Federal government supports this kind of economic 'development.' It's the old story of settlers grabbing land from First Nations peoples, ignoring their cultural, economic, social, and spiritual interests and it's so sad that we're still playing out this drama (or should I say trauma) in 2020. This book is billed as graphic, but it is much more text-heavy than is commonly found in such works. The images are striking, though this kind of naive art is not exactly to my taste; however, the book really works in a way that a more realistic, less magical-realism set of images would likely allow. A good read that underscores the costs of failing to learn from history.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    The book develops deep empathy with the different stakeholders through beautiful storytelling. There are no clear answers but you'll care about the outcome. Highly recommend. The book develops deep empathy with the different stakeholders through beautiful storytelling. There are no clear answers but you'll care about the outcome. Highly recommend.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Caleb Johnson

    Great book! The pictures are beautiful and the stories are wonderful. Great insight. Highly recommend.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    When I first encountered Redniss's work, I was categorizing her in with graphic novels and that ilk, but this book veers back toward conventional narrative. The author bio describes her craft as "visual nonfiction," but it feels like an uneasy hybrid to me. When I first encountered Redniss's work, I was categorizing her in with graphic novels and that ilk, but this book veers back toward conventional narrative. The author bio describes her craft as "visual nonfiction," but it feels like an uneasy hybrid to me.

  21. 5 out of 5

    James Beggarly

    Such a beautiful book. A mining company tries to get the rites to mine for copper at a sacred Apache site in Arizona. The author talks to several groups to see how this might affect them and reports without judgment. A beautiful mosaic of a book, with interviews, concise history and wonderful drawings throughout.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    This book is hard for me to rate and describe. It is about an Indian reservation people fighting to keep their sacred ground safe from a copper mining company. Apparently this is an on-going situation. The book has beautiful colored pictures of the Indians, their land, etc. The book seems to skip from one thing to another but, through it all, I feel like I was educated!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lake Villa District Library

    Featured in LVDL’s Best Books of 2020: https://ccs.polarislibrary.com/polari.... [Re]INVEST in 2020: Re-invest in reading. In May, give graphic novels a try. Find this book in our catalog! Featured in LVDL’s Best Books of 2020: https://ccs.polarislibrary.com/polari.... [Re]INVEST in 2020: Re-invest in reading. In May, give graphic novels a try. Find this book in our catalog!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Luke Stacks

    What a striking book. Redniss combines longform journalism with vibrant, colorful drawings to share what it is like to live near a once-and-future boomtown in the American Southwest. Although her work includes arguments for and against mining copper in Oak Flat, it's less invested in what will or should happen there than what it is like to experience the struggle in the first place. Oak Flat is rich in copper, an increasingly-valued resource. But its status as federal land and its significance a What a striking book. Redniss combines longform journalism with vibrant, colorful drawings to share what it is like to live near a once-and-future boomtown in the American Southwest. Although her work includes arguments for and against mining copper in Oak Flat, it's less invested in what will or should happen there than what it is like to experience the struggle in the first place. Oak Flat is rich in copper, an increasingly-valued resource. But its status as federal land and its significance as an Apache spiritual site, among other concerns, would make mining there difficult. None the less, large corporations and government support line up behind the effort. Redniss primarily follows one Apache family, the Nosies, as they protest the project. A different kind of book might be more skeptical of the Nosies--for example, was Wendsler Nosie really trying to pray on Mt Graham the day he was arrested for trespassing, or was he trying to get caught on purpose?--but Redness finds a lot of value in presenting them (and others) exactly in the way they want to be presented. Similarly, a different author might situate the fight within the larger history of Federal land-thefts; but that perspective is only visible through how it affected her interview subjects and their direct ancestors. After some reflection (it takes a little time to figure out what this book is doing), I like this choice. Those other ways of telling the story are out there, they already exist. This is different. The format is engrossing and a little disorienting. It's hard to predict how long each chapter will last. The line spacing can vary from page to page, especially if the text is combined with visual elements. Some of the pages without illustration look odd, too empty. I found the whole effect compelling, but I can imagine your mileage varying.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Lu

    The illustrations made each page turn such a delight! The frank, unbiased set of perspectives told through the stories of different stakeholders was also gently laid out,/l and allowed readers to draw their own nuanced opinions (indigenous Apache folks who are fighting for their land not to be mined, people in the slightly abandoned town of Superior who are eager for an economic injection that a mining town would provide, etc.) The end was really sudden? I was expecting a little more of a conclus The illustrations made each page turn such a delight! The frank, unbiased set of perspectives told through the stories of different stakeholders was also gently laid out,/l and allowed readers to draw their own nuanced opinions (indigenous Apache folks who are fighting for their land not to be mined, people in the slightly abandoned town of Superior who are eager for an economic injection that a mining town would provide, etc.) The end was really sudden? I was expecting a little more of a conclusion, but instead I guess the author wants me to think about these diff perspectives and draw my own. My personal conclusion is that while these mining companies are making billions in revenue, the rest of people are left to fight for scraps. Why is the town of Superior s desperate for an economic injection, that their only option is another Mining excavation that will produce tons and tons of toxic sludge that has to be dammed up? Ok my last comment is that...i saw people said this was really well researched and...it seemed more like a deep dive into a few families and their generations? Not like a fullly well researched thing that I’m used to? That being said, hearing history and facts from the perspective of a continuous lineage of family members leant a smooth story telling that kept my attention, and made it easier to read

  26. 5 out of 5

    Viola

    “We earnestly desire the speedy settlement of all our territories,' reads an 1868 Office of Indian Affairs Annual Report. 'None are more anxious than we to see their agricultural and mineral wealth developed by an industrious, thrifty, and enlightened population. And we fully recognize the fact that the Indian must not stand in the way of this result. . . If the savage resists, civilization, with the Ten Commandments in one hand and the sword in the other, demands his immediate extermination.' Bu “We earnestly desire the speedy settlement of all our territories,' reads an 1868 Office of Indian Affairs Annual Report. 'None are more anxious than we to see their agricultural and mineral wealth developed by an industrious, thrifty, and enlightened population. And we fully recognize the fact that the Indian must not stand in the way of this result. . . If the savage resists, civilization, with the Ten Commandments in one hand and the sword in the other, demands his immediate extermination.' But extermination, as a policy, proved to be inefficient. An educational system designed to destroy native culture was proposed as an economical way to solve the Indian Problem. The 1868 report concluded, 'It costs less to civilize than to kill.” ― Lauren Redniss, Oak Flat: A Fight for Sacred Land in the American West

  27. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    This one snuck just under the wire of 2020 reads for me. This is a beautifully designed story about Oak Flat, a sacred ground for the Apache tribe in Arizona. on this particular land, there exists an untapped copper mine and the book outlines the various legal battles, cultural information, and personal accounts affected by the mining companies plans to set up shop on holy Land. Using a combination of illustrations, first hand accounts, and historical detail, including viewpoints from both sides This one snuck just under the wire of 2020 reads for me. This is a beautifully designed story about Oak Flat, a sacred ground for the Apache tribe in Arizona. on this particular land, there exists an untapped copper mine and the book outlines the various legal battles, cultural information, and personal accounts affected by the mining companies plans to set up shop on holy Land. Using a combination of illustrations, first hand accounts, and historical detail, including viewpoints from both sides of the issue, this book illustrates the complicated past of contested Native American lands that by all rights should have remained untouched but thanks to corporate greed and racist governmental policies, continues to be fought over to this day. Redness has crafted an important and riveting way of telling the story. I would recommend this to everyone.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Willis

    The subject matter of this book is vitally important, but it’s organization and focus is often distracted. Some of the art is beautiful, and some of it isn’t. However, it’s visual appeal will likely draw readers who otherwise wouldn’t pick up a book like this. The destruction of Oak Flat would be tragic, and it’s seeming inevitably is disheartening. So much of our technology demands copper, so unless we find better, less destructive ways to produce it, the fight to save Oak Flat feels insurmounta The subject matter of this book is vitally important, but it’s organization and focus is often distracted. Some of the art is beautiful, and some of it isn’t. However, it’s visual appeal will likely draw readers who otherwise wouldn’t pick up a book like this. The destruction of Oak Flat would be tragic, and it’s seeming inevitably is disheartening. So much of our technology demands copper, so unless we find better, less destructive ways to produce it, the fight to save Oak Flat feels insurmountable. Yet, it’s value as a sacred place, as an environmental stronghold, cannot be quantified. We must do more to demand clean, sustainable technology that doesn’t turn the most beautiful, sacred places on earth into toxic wastelands.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sasha

    Oak Flat: A Fight for Sacred Land in the American West by Lauren Redniss (non-Native) is a stunningly constructed piece of nonfiction unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Tracking Apache and settler histories with the lands of and around Oak Flat, Redniss intersperses drawings of people, land, and space. The informative matter-of-fact tone of this book is joined by interview transcripts to create a narrative of land, of family, and of Indigenous and settler nationhood. The intergenerational n Oak Flat: A Fight for Sacred Land in the American West by Lauren Redniss (non-Native) is a stunningly constructed piece of nonfiction unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Tracking Apache and settler histories with the lands of and around Oak Flat, Redniss intersperses drawings of people, land, and space. The informative matter-of-fact tone of this book is joined by interview transcripts to create a narrative of land, of family, and of Indigenous and settler nationhood. The intergenerational nature of this book was particularly interesting as Redniss tracks white and Apache relationships to land and mining in the southwest. At the core of this book is the opening of a large copper mine, which threatens Oak Flat while purporting to be valuable to the local economy. Within these pages are a series of claims to the land itself. Halfway through this book Redniss writes about an Apache man we know as Geronimo. Redniss traces how naming, how remembering, is rooted in staking claims, both in the America West and in the entire United States. Names have power and the power of naming is embedded in power dynamics, in colonialism, in resistance. This is something I think about often. In Oak Flat, Apache belonging to the land is articulated through the words of young Apache women and their family. Naming here is not staking a claim, but a way of knowing land so different from settler colonialism. I found it difficult to keep track of some of the players in this book and at times was unsure what Redniss was trying to achieve (this could have been end of semester brain), but I was absolutely captivated by the artwork and informative tone.

  30. 4 out of 5

    RuthAnn

    Thank you to Random House for my free copy! I am very conflicted about this book. It's a physically beautiful object, inside and out. The combination of illustration and language is very effective. The author uses a script-like format for the dialogue, based on what must have been hours of interviews, so there's not a lot of transition text. I certainly learned a lot from it. But I feel very uncomfortable that this book about Indigenous sacred land is written by a white woman. To date, I haven't Thank you to Random House for my free copy! I am very conflicted about this book. It's a physically beautiful object, inside and out. The combination of illustration and language is very effective. The author uses a script-like format for the dialogue, based on what must have been hours of interviews, so there's not a lot of transition text. I certainly learned a lot from it. But I feel very uncomfortable that this book about Indigenous sacred land is written by a white woman. To date, I haven't been able to find commentary or critique of this book from an Indigenous perspective, and that makes me even more nervous.

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