Tall Tales | Oak Flat
A book program designed to help us learn about the many varied cultures, landscapes, and stories of the American West past and present. Before the program, read the selected book, then join us as we gather together to engage in meaningful conversations and shared experiences.
First 10 households to register receive a free copy of the book!*
In our exhibit, Night & Day: Frederic Remington’s Last Decade, the American Southwest features prominently in many of Frederic Remington’s paintings, a few of which allude to or portray members of the Apache. What is the relationship of the Apache to the land? Join us for the next Tall Tales as we read and discuss Oak Flat: A Fight for Sacred Land in the American West by Lauren Redniss. This visual nonfiction book explores a place – Oak Flat in southeastern Arizona – and the people connected to that place – San Carlos Apache.
“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.”
Join us for our next Tall Tales book discussion as we read and discuss Oak Flat: A Fight for Sacred Land in the American West by Lauren Redniss. Please read the selected book prior to the program.
Registration: Required – opens Sept. 6
Contact: Leslie Thompson at lthompson@SidRichardsonMuseum.org or 817.332.6554 if you have any questions or would like to be added to the wait list when registration is full.
* Registrants who receive a free copy of the book can elect to pick it up at the front desk during museum hours or have it mailed for a $7 fee. Staff will confirm your option after you register.