March 2, 2024

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Automotive to Us

Emotional fight over copper mine at Oak Flat inspires unusual support

Members of Redrum Motorcycle Club stand with Wendsler Nosie and members of Apache Stronghold at Oak Flat on Feb. 21, 2021.

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.