Oklahoma tribe fears losing access to Longhorn Mountain

The Kiowa have long considered Longhorn Mountain near Lawton a sacred ground, but word that Cushing-based Material Service Corp. could begin mining the mountain for gravel has some tribe members concerned.
BY KRISTI EATON Published: August 1, 2013
Advertisement
;

Tah-Bone has reached out to organizations within the Kiowa Tribe to write letters detailing what the Longhorn Mountain means to the Kiowa people and what mining of the land would mean, she said.

“We're concerned once they do that it will disrupt the spiritually to us and our people,” Tah-Bone said. “We're coming to a situation — because it's privately owned and no federal nexus — the tribe doesn't have any sort of fix to this issue. It's a really difficult situation for us to put a stop to this.”

A permit to mine for limestone on Longhorn Mountain was issued in 2006, said Bret Sholar, Mineral Divisions administrator at the Oklahoma Department of Mines. One person opposed the permit during a 14-day comment period, Sholar said, but did not follow through with a request for a conference about the opposition.

Material Service Corp. is required to notify the Department of Mines when it plans to start rock crushing, and at that point, the department will notify the Kiowa Tribe as a courtesy, Sholar said.

The owner of Material Service Corp. did not respond to a message seeking comment.

Stacy Ferrell owns the eastern section of Longhorn Mountain. The 75-year-old said his family has owned the land since Oklahoma territorial days and has always allowed Kiowa tribal members access for ceremonies.

Ferrell is opposed to any mining or development on the land, he said, but also is opposed to third-party intrusion.

“I'm not going to do anything to disturb my land. I enjoy the mountain as it is. The good Lord isn't going to make any more of them,” he said. “I preserve the mountain. I will not disturb it.”