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Dubious Distinction: Oak Flat and Grand Canyon Among 11 Most Endangered Historic Places

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has put Oak Flat and the Grand Canyon on its 2015 list of 11 most endangered sites.
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Embattled Oak Flat in Arizona is one of two Indian country sites that have made this year’s list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

“A sacred site to the San Carlos Apache and several other Native American tribes, Oak Flat is threatened due to a land exchange provision included in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015 that would open the site up to mining,” the National Trust for Historic Preservation said in announcing the dubious award on June 24.

The Grand Canyon is the other Indian site on the list.

“A beloved international icon and a sacred place for several Native American tribes, the Grand Canyon is threatened by development proposals ranging from tourist resorts to mining,” the National Trust said.

Oak Flat is under heated contention because of the threat of mining by Resolution Copper, which gained control over 2,400 acres of Apache holy land.

RELATED: Oak Flat Protesters Plan March on Washington to Protest Apache Land Grab

The Grand Canyon is being beset from several sides, with developments being planned or proposed.

RELATED: Begaye Vows to Blow Up Grand Canyon Escalade Deal

The Colorado River at the bottom of the canyon recently headed the list of most endangered rivers in the U.S., to boot.

RELATED: 5 Most Endangered Rivers of Turtle Island: Many Flow Through Indian Country

The two sites join the likes of the cultural icon Little Havana in Miami, “threatened by zoning changes and lack of protection for its many historic buildings,” the West Hollywood gay institution The Factory, known for its AIDS activism and celebrity performances, and New York City’s South Street Seaport, which boasts some of the oldest architecture in the city and is under threat from development proposals.

“For more than a quarter century, our list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places has called attention to threatened one-of-a-kind treasures throughout the nation and galvanized local communities to help save them,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, in a statement. “This year’s list is our most diverse ever, and reflects our commitment to recognizing and preserving all the facets of our diverse history. From the LGBTQ history of the Factory in California to the Cuban-American heritage of Miami’s Little Havana to the civil rights legacy of the A.G. Gaston Motel in Birmingham, these sites tell American stories that have been overlooked for too long. We hope this list inspires more Americans to join us in the ongoing effort to save the places that tell the full story of our nation.”