Emotional fight over copper mine at Oak Flat inspires unusual support

Mario Tsosie and more than two dozen other motorcycle riders rumbled into Oak Flat Campground last month with a mission and a message.

“We had riders come from San Diego, Fresno, Orange County and Los Angeles,” said Tsosie, a Navajo who rides with Redrum Motorcycle Club, the world’s largest Indigenous-based biker group. “It was pretty exciting.”

Tsosie, a member of the Valley of the Sun Chapter of the club, said the Feb. 21 caravan to Oak Flat, about 70 miles east of Phoenix, was almost a last-minute affair. The club had just two weeks to plan the 41-mile ride from San Carlos, capital of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, to the campground. “We’ve been looking for the right time to do this,” he said.