Saturday, May 24, 2008

Tohono O'odham Chairman: Graves destroyed in border construction

Tohono O'odham Chairman testifies that border wall construction violates federal law, destroyed graves

By Brenda Norrell

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS -- Tohono O'odham Chairman Ned Norris, Jr., testified at a Congressional hearing that the construction of the border wall has plowed through the graves of the Hohokam and fragments of human bone have been found in the contractor's heavy equipment tracks.
"Imagine a bulldozer in your family graveyard," Norris testified at the Congressional field hearing on April 28.
"In the words of the U.S. Supreme Court, Indian tribes predate the United States. We are older than the international boundary with Mexico, but our nation is now cut in half."
Norris said the Tohono O'odham Nation has repeatedly "partnered" with Border Patrol to construct border vehicle barriers in places instead of walls, and allowed federal spy towers and checkpoints. However, the federal government has failed to uphold the standard of federal law.
Norris said Homeland Security's desire to move forward with inflexible time guidelines has damaged the environment and cultural areas.
Norris testified that the contractor, Boeing, has destroyed graves, cultural sites and created a barrier of the Tohono O'odham ceremonial route.
When the Tohono O'odham Nation acted to delay construction of the border wall in endangered jaguar territory, the construction continued as planned, despite promises to the contrary.
"I am here to urge you to restore the rule of law," Norris said, adding that the price being paid is too high for the people and their ancestors for the border wall.
"Today it is as if Congress never passed NEPA," Norris said, referring to the National Environmental Policy Act. "We support border security, but not at the price that is now being paid."
Norris said the US/Mexico border crossed the Tohono O'odham people and their land. Today, the border construction has divided a salt pilgrimage route and Tohono O'odham families.
"We didn't cross the 75 miles of border on our reservation, the border crossed us."

Watch video from South Texas border wall hearing:
Includes: Representatives of the Department of Interior, the U.S. Border Patrol, the City of Eagle Pass, Texas, the Tohono O'odham Nation, and the University of Texas, Brownsville, remark on the merits and demerits of border fences and walls.
Photos by Brenda Norrell: Boeing constructing border vehicle barrier and federal spy tower, both on Tohono O'odham Nation land south of Sells, Arizona.

Lipan Apache Defense

In South Texas, Eloisa Tamez and daughter Margo Tamez, Lipan Apache, continue to fight Homeland Security over the seizure of their land for the US/Mexico border wall.

Photo Arnoldo Garcia

Lipan Apache Community Defense Blog: Lipan Apache (El Calaboz) Women Community Built a Local-Global Movement..
Our case is supported by~~Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law
:// PRESS RELEASES: Lipan Apache (El Calaboz) Communty Defense (courtesy of National Network for Immigrant & Refugee Rights, (RE: Dr. Eloisa Garcia Tamez vs. Michael Chertoff/U.S. DHS):
WE ARE~~Lipan Nde' Shini', South Texas-Tamaulipas, Apacheria, (San Pedro de Carricitos)
WE FIGHT FOR~~Restoring Nde' hat'i'i shimaa shini'


1 comment:

RoB said...

Great Coverage! as usual!

Some of US from Houston Indymedia recorded some of this as well. We have a feature here with links to everything:

Highlights are the Audio of Chairman Norris' presentation:

And we uploaded some video to the Youtube (Mayor Chad Foster of Eagle Pass, UT Brownsville President Juliet Garcia, and responses from Community activists):

Keep up the great work, solidarity from Tejas.