Native prayer site in Arizona desecrated after they protest planned deepest mine in the US
Apache Stronghold members/Facebook

A native American group had its prayer site vandalized after it showed up to protest a planned copper mine, the Arizona Republic reports.

The incident took place in Superior, east of Phoenix. A company called Resolution intends to dig a shaft 1.3 miles deep there, which would be the deepest mine in the country.

The land is surrounded by a national forest and an Apache reservation, and a group called Apache Stronghold set up in a camp site in the Tonto National Forest, calling the mine an "assault on their spiritual and cultural practice."

The group had set up a prayer site near their protest camp but found it desecrated, with two crosses stolen, two crosses damaged and sacred eagle feathers thrown onto the ground.

A spokesman for the mining company says they have no idea who was responsible for the vandalism.

"It's a public campground, there's no way of telling who was responsible for it," he said.

"This site is like a church. If this attack had happened at a church, it would be considered a crime," the leader of Apache Stronghold told a Phoenix TV station. "There are federal laws that are supposed to protect a place like this. We have never seen this kind of violence against us here. There needs to be accountability for this crime."