Tuesday, July 13, 2010

SAVE THE PEAKS! July 15th - 16th, 2010 - PHOENIX, AZ Prayer Vigil

Wesley Bolin Memorial Park
Please spread the word. If you cannot make it to Phoenix or Flagstaff please consider organizing a vigil, rally or event in your community!

If you would like to help with outreach you can pick up posters at Taala Hooghan infoshop in Flagstaff (1704 N 2nd St. near Rt 66 and 4th St.) or you can print your own from www.savethepeaks.org. Volunteer support is also needed, contact phxrally@www.truesnow.org/

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July 15th - 16th, 2010
Prayer Vigil • March • Rally

Arizona Snowbowl is attempting to expand development on the San Francisco Peaks and make fake snow out of treated sewage effluent on our public lands. This wastewater has been proven to contain harmful contaminants such as pharmaceuticals, hormones and cancer causing agents.

The US Forest Service has ignored public health concerns and approved this development without any tests to determine the health effects if our children eat the wastewater snow.

Snowbowl would be the only ski area in the world to use 100% wastewater to make snow. They would use 1.5 million gallons per day, storing and spraying this wastewater on a mountain that is holy to more than 13 Indigenous Nations.

Rideshare available: ride@savethepeaks.org
There is also a rideshare board at Taala Hooghan Infoshop
1704 N. 2nd St Flagstaff, AZ 86004



Taking Action for Healthy Communities
Free dinner and discussion - 6:30PM - 9:30PM

At Serena Juste (Padilla) Residence
Onk Akimel O'odham Nation (Salt River)
9312 E. Thomas Rd. Scottsdale, AZ 85256

Camping available
Please RSVP atwww.truesnow.org/


Sunrise Prayer Gathering for Protection of Sacred Places
At Serena Juste (Padilla) Residence
Onk Akimel O'odham Nation (Salt River)
9312 E. Thomas Rd. Scottsdale, AZ 85256

NOON - Rally and March to Protect the Peaks
Wesley Bolin Memorial Park
1700 West Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ 85007

We will gather at Wesley Bolin Park at about Noon and do a prayer circle. Then we will march down the sidewalk on Washington St. to the Courthouse. Please be sure to bring water and anything you might need to be out in the sun for a few hours. It is HOT in Phoenix. Parking is available at the park, but it is recommended that you use one of the parking garages along Washington and Jefferson to park since they are covered and we cannot be responsible if your car gets towed from the Bolin park parking lot after we head out.

Flagstaff Solidarity Vigil: July 16th -- 2PM - 4PM City Hall Lawn

More information:www.truesnow.org/

SAVE THE PEAKS July 14 Final Clean Up of Grounds

O'odham Solidarity Across Borders Collective is putting a call out for immediate support for the upcoming Thursday, JULY 15/16, Save the Peak's Taking Action for Healthy Communities
dinner and discussion At Serena Juste Padilla Residence (Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community). A few last minute tasks need to be completed on the grounds in preparation for the dinner.

At this time, we are asking for individuals to help support us with preparing the site.

Support looks like:

Picking up trash
Basic yard work

This is most immediate need of support as of now. Additional support will be announced late this week.

These preparations will help ensure the space to host Thursday dinner and discussion around taking action for healthy communities. Part of healthy communities is supporting each others needs. In the past OSABC, has given and received solidarity/support in working towards community awareness/ empowerment. In an effort to make the most welcoming environment for our friends up north, OSABC is asking for individuals who have helped in previous solidarity efforts with indigenous people.

Lets come together for a healthy community of support.

We plan to start on:

July 14
Wednesday Morning
6:00 am - ???

Don't forget to bring water

So if you are interested, email us at:oodhamjeved@gmail.com
or call 602-881-6027

So we can help coordinate with transportation and direction to the site.

(***additional ground work may be need Thursday as well***)

If you are unable to attend, you can support by attending Thursdays dinner/gathering and Fridays ralley.
For more info, please go to: www.truesnow.org/

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Border Patrol HQ Occupiers Call for Direct Action Support

Scuckson (Occupied Territories of Tucson, AZ) -- On June 1, 2010 at 8:30AM (MST) the 6 peaceful resisters who locked down and occupied the Border Patrol Headquarters in Tucson, AZ on May 21, plead not guilty to charges of Disorderly Conduct and Criminal Trespassing at Tucson City Court. At this point no trial date has been set, and additional court proceedings are anticipated at the end of June and the beginning of July.

More than a dozen peaceful resisters, six of whom used devices to lock-down, occupied the Border Patrol Headquarters to demand that the Border Patrol, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Obama Administration end border militarization. The occupation lasted more than 4 hours while 70 supporters were outside protesting border militarization in solidarity with the six people locking down.

We reaffirm our opposition to border militarization and racist laws such as SB1070. We are committed to direct forms of action that uphold human dignity and respect. Terrorizing and destroying Indigenous communities, as well as the criminalizing of migrant communities, through racist legislation such as SB1070, must end.

In the past 10 days, since the peaceful act of resistance, the Obama administration has chosen to further military aggression against Indigenous & migrant communities by adding $500 million for "enhanced border protection and law enforcement activities" and mobilizing 1,200 National Guard Troops to the US and Mexico border. Even still, Arizona Senator John McCain threatens to double the number of troops in the borderlands.

We are making a non-exclusive call for affinity to those who stand in solidarity with us and others who take direct action against border militarization and the criminalization of our people.

These are some ways you can support those who continue to choose to take more direct forms of action against state violence in our communities:
- Hold Janet Napolitano and the Department of Homeland Security accountable to its attack on indigenous/migrant communities.
- Donate funds for legal defensive and offensive work
- Show solidarity at court proceedings
- Jail support
- Provide legal support/observing
- Media support
- Spread the message!

Make a donation to support legal defense/offense at:

Contact: stopbordermilitarization@gmail.com

For previous news releases and statements visit: http://oodhamsolidarity.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

END BORDER MILITARIZATION CONTINGENT @ 05.29.10 National Day of Action Against SB1070 in PHX

National Day of Action Against SB1070
May 29, 2010

O'odham Solidarity Across Borders Collective sends you greetings from occupied O'odham lands,

We urge all who support indigenous nations and migrant communities to join us on Saturday May 29th at the National Day of Action Against SB1070 to demand that Border Patrol (BP), Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE), their parent entity, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Obama administration end militarization of the border, end the criminalization of immigrant communities, and end their campaign of terror which tear families apart through increasing numbers of raids and deportations.

This contingent is in support of the O'odham elders, and other indigenous elders that will be leading the march. It is a follow-up to last Friday’s (May 21st) Peaceful Occupation of the US Border Patrol Headquarters in Tucson, AZ. We hope to use this formation to voice the end of border militarization and racist, colonial laws that attack not just indigenous communities, but migrant ones too. We hope to project true Indigenous/Migrant solidarity in the face of the state's police oppression, and the immigration reform movement’s suppressive tactics to further marginalize the indigenous voice in border policies and colonial laws that affect us all.

The contingent also calls on the State of Arizona to repeal the racist Senate Bill 1070 that criminalizes immigrant communities on the state level, makes it illegal to transport or harbor an undocumented person regardless of family relationship, requires police agencies to engage in racial profiling, and ultimately is an attempt to ethnically cleanse Arizona of those with brown skin.

The contingent demands:
• An end to border militarization
• The immediate repeal of SB1070 and 287g
• An end to all racial profiling and the criminalization of communities of color
• No ethnic cleansing or cultural genocide
• No border patrol encroachment/sweeps on sovereign native land
No to comprehensive immigration reform that further militarizes the border or exploits migrant labor
• No Deportations
• No Raids
• No ID-verification
• No Checkpoints

• Yes to immediate and unconditional regularization (“legalization”) of all people
• Yes to human rights
• Yes to dignity
• Yes to respect
• Yes to respecting Indigenous Peoples inherent right of migration

Support looks like:
• Banners calling for an end to border militarization,for migrant/indigenous solidarity, and drawing the connection between racist laws like SB1070/287g/HB2281, immigration reform and the destruction of indigenous and migrant communities.
• Noise makers, puppets and other visuals, etc.
•Cop Watching, video documentation, legal observation of the contingent and the march to ensure safety in light of police repression
•Medics prepared for sun exposure, dehydration, police attacks
•Our own “security” – not to police our people, but to deescalate the police, step-in as a barrier in case of a police attack, help people cross the street, etc.
•People who can flyer/lecture expressing our message.

Join us on Friday, May 28th to help prepare for the following day. Bring materials to finish making signs, banners, noise makers, etc. To connect, let us know you're down, meet up with us on Friday, if you have any questions or for more information, contact Alex Soto @ 602.881.6027 or Ned @323.541.2352 or stopbordermilitarization@gmail.com.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Video: Occupation & Lockdown of Tucson Border Patrol HQ



Tucson, AZ – More than a dozen people occupied Border Patrol headquarters at Davis-Monthan Airforce Base today in an act of peaceful resistance. The group includes members of Indigenous Nations of Arizona, migrants, people of color and white allies. Six people used chains and other devices to lock themselves in the building. These Arizona residents disrupted the Border Patrol operations to demand that Border Patrol (BP), Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE), their parent entity, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Obama administration end militarization of the border, end the criminalization of immigrant communities, and end their campaign of terror which tear families apart through increasing numbers of raids and deportations. (read more...)

Activists Lockdown & Occupy US Border Patrol Headquarters Demanding End to Border Militarization, Protesters Cited and Released

High resolution pictures and B-roll available at: www.oodhamsolidarity.blogs

Tucson, AZ – At approximately 1:00PM Friday, May 21, 2010 more than a dozen people occupied the Tucson Headquarters of the US Border Patrol to draw attention to impacts of border militarization in Indigenous Communities. Six people, including Alex Soto a member of the Tohono O'odham Nation and a volunteer with the group O’odham Solidarity Across Borders, locked themselves together for up to 3 and 1/2 hours. “Indigenous voices have been ignored. In our action today we say NO MORE!” Said Soto.

Banners were hung, including one placed over the reception window that read, “Stop Militarization of Indigenous Lands Now”, traditional songs were sung and the group chanted, “Border militarization destroys Indigenous communities!” and “No raids, no deportations! No SB1070, no racist laws!” Approximately 30 Border Patrol agents flooded the lobby of the headquarters and scrambled to react. Roads to the headquarters and adjacent air force base were shut down. Tucson City Police were eventually called and began preparing an extraction of the peaceful resisters.

A diverse crowd of up to 70 people quickly gathered outside the Border Patrol headquarters to support those locked down inside. Ofelia Rivas of O’odham Voices Against The Wall, an elder in support of the action stated, “It was a historical and powerful moment for people of all color to unite with O’odham to stand in solidarity for human rights and to see the next generation take a stand”.

At approximately 4 o’clock the peaceful resisters negotiated the conditions of their release on their terms. Their requests to consult with Tohono O’odham elders to negotiate terms of release were denied by Tucson Police. The protesters decided to unlock and were cited for two misdemeanors each of trespassing and disorderly conduct. The resisters were released just outside the premises to join supporters where they gathered in traditional prayer and rallied against border militarization for another hour. Community members including members of the Pasqual Yaqui, Tohono O'odham, and Dine' Nations reacted emotionally when two Wackenhut Corp. buses left the Border Patrol compound filled with undocumented people. The detainees responded with returning the symbol of resistance - a raised fist.

“This is just one action of many that makes visible the invisible crimes against humanity that occur every day on the colonial border,” stated one of the peaceful resisters. “We commit to honoring the prayers and call for support of the people most impacted by border militarization, the Indigenous Peoples who’s lands we are on and migrants who seek a better life for their families. We cannot not allow government agencies, border patrol, ICE or reformist agendas to further their suffering. We will continue our actions of peaceful resistance for human dignity and respect for all peoples.”

The action also denounced SB1070 and HB2281 as racist laws that are a part of an ongoing system of genocidal policies against Indigenous Peoples and migrant communities.

For previous Press Statement, please see attachment.
Note to editors, high resolution photos attached; Photo credits: O'odham Solidarity Across Borders Collective

Media Contacts:
Alex Soto (602) 881-6027
Leilani Clark (520) 982-5687

Mainstream Coverage of Tucson Border Patrol Occupation Newslinks.

Down below are links to mainstream media coverage of the occupation.
OSABC would like to share this link of today's occupation of Border Patrol in particular, down below.

6 people cited after protest at Border Patrol Headquarters (KVOA.com-Tucson and Southern AZ)

Our voice, put into words in the "1st NATIONS AND MIGRANTS OPPOSE SB1070 DEMAND DIGNITY, HUMAN RIGHTS, AND END TO BORDER MILITARIZATION"statement, was to our surprise, expressed succinctly in this article's line below:

"The demonstrators say they are protesting SB 1070 and any military presence at the border."

In this occupation, we came from our voice, the O'odham voice, along with other indigenous voices in the region, to address the bigger attack on indigenous/migrant communities by colonial, racist border policies/racist laws of the United States.

I'm glad that most coverage was positive of our peaceful resistance, but at the same time, I would hope the consideration and respect of our people (O'odham) is given in all coverage of this occupation. We would hope the colonial marginalization of our people, and all indigenous people, will not be continue in coverage of this occupation. We must recongnize where we are at. In southern AZ and northern Sonora, this is our traditional homelands, O'odham jewed (land).

Down below, are more links:

6people cited after protest at Border Patrol Headquarters (KVOA.com-Tucson and Southern AZ)


Update: Six protestors unlink themselves, leave Border Patrol lobby (KOLD13-CBS Tucson)


Activists Occupy Border Patrol Headquarters in Tucson (Allvoices.com)

Protesters cited after sit in at Border Patrol offices in Tucson (KGUN9-ABC Tucson)

Tucson Border Patrol HQ Protested by Activists, Half-Dozen cited by Tucson PD (Phx Newtimes)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Photos from Tucson Border Patrol Headquarters Occupation to End Border Militarization

Photo credits: O'odham Solidarity Across Borders Collective
Photo credits: O'odham Solidarity Across Borders Collective

Photo credits: O'odham Solidarity Across Borders Collective
Photo credits: O'odham Solidarity Across Borders Collective


For Immediate Release Media Contacts:
Friday, May 21, 2010 Leilani Clark (520)982-5687



“The militarized border imposed by the U.S. has lead only to cultural and environmental destruction of the indigenous peoples whose land is on or near the border. This militarization brings death and terror for indigenous peoples from other parts of the continent migrating to this land.”
21 May 2010

Tucson, AZ – More than a dozen people occupied Border Patrol headquarters at Davis-Monthan Airforce Base today in an act of peaceful resistance. The group includes members of Indigenous Nations of Arizona, migrants, people of color and white allies. Six people used chains and other devices to lock themselves in the building. These Arizona residents disrupted the Border Patrol operations to demand that Border Patrol (BP), Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE), their parent entity, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Obama administration end militarization of the border, end the criminalization of immigrant communities, and end their campaign of terror which tear families apart through increasing numbers of raids and deportations.

The protesters also call on the State of Arizona to repeal the racist Senate Bill 1070 that criminalizes immigrant communities on the state level, makes it illegal to transport or harbor an undocumented person regardless of family relationship, requires police agencies to engage in racial profiling, and ultimately is an attempt to ethnically cleanse Arizona of those with brown skin. This act of civil disobedience was only the latest in an increasing wave of direct action targeting the federal government’s terrorist immigration policies.

Border militarization destroys Indigenous communities.
The development of the border wall has lead to desecration of our ancestors graves, it has divided our communities and prevents us from accessing sacred places.
Troops and paramilitary law enforcement, detention camps, check points, and citizenship verification are not a solution to migration. We have existed here long before these imposed borders, my elders inform us that we always honored freedom of movement. Why our communities and the daily deaths at the border ignored? The impacts of border militarization are constantly made invisible in the media, the popular culture of this country and even the mainstream immigrants rights movement which has often pushed for “reform” that means further militarization of the border, which means increased suffering for our communities.

Indigenous communities such as the O’odham, the Pascua Yaqui, Laipan Apache, Kickapoo, and Cocopah along the US/Mexico border have been terrorized with laws and practices like SB1070 for decades. Indigenous people along the border have been forced by border patrol to carry and provide proof of tribal membership when moving across their traditional lands that have been bisected by this imposed border; a border that has been extremely damaging to the cultural and spiritual practices of these communities. Many people are not able to journey to sacred sites because the communities where people live are on the opposite side of the border from these sites. Since the creation of the current U.S./Mexico border, 45 O’odham villages on or near the border have been completely depopulated.

On this day people who are indigenous to Arizona join with migrants who are indigenous to other parts of the Western Hemisphere in demanding a return to traditional indigenous value of freedom of movement for all people. Prior to the colonization by European nations (spaniards, english, french) and the establishment of the european settler state known as the United States and the artificial borders it and other european inspired nation states have imposed; indigenous people migrated, traveled and traded with each other without regard to artificial black lines drawn on maps. U.S. immigration policies dehumanize and criminalize people simply because which side of these artificial lines they were born on. White settlers whose ancestors have only been here at most for a few hundred years have imposed these policies of terror and death on “immigrants” whose ancestors have lived in this hemisphere for tens of thousands of years, for time immemorial.

In addition, the migration that the U.S. government is attempting to stop is driven more than anything else by the economic policies of the U.S. Free trade agreements such as NAFTA have severely reduced the ability of Mexicans and others from the global south to sustain themselves by permitting corporations to extract huge amounts of wealth and resources from these countries into the U.S. This has led to millions of people risking the terror and death that so many face to cross into the U.S. looking for ways to better support their families. Thousand of women, men, children and elders have died crossing just in the last decade. If the U.S. really wants to reduce migration it should end its policies of exploitation and wealth extraction targeted at the global south and instead pursue policies of economic, environmental and social justice for all human beings on the planet, thus reducing the drive to immigrate.

The protestors are demanding:
-An end to border militarization
-The immediate repeal of SB1070 and 287g
-An end to all racial profiling and the criminalization of our communities
-No ethnic cleansing or cultural genocide
-No border patrol encroachment/sweeps on sovereign native land
-No Deportations
-No Raids
-No ID-verification
-No Checkpoints

-Yes to immediate and unconditional regularization (“legalization”) of all people
-Yes to human rights
-Yes to dignity
-Yes to respect
Yes to respecting Indigenous Peoples inherent right of migration


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Tucson: Indigenous Peoples Protest Againt SB 1070 and HB 2281 Demostration

Anti-immigration bills such as SB 1070 rest on the "securing" of the borders in order to manage the flow of migration. This securing includes and is not limited to a physical wall to be made on Indigenous land (Tohono O'odham/Lipan Apache to name a few). The state's power to waive pre-existing laws (such as NEPA, NAGPRA) in the name of security, directly attacks Indigenous autonomy/sovereignty. The "political" solution will bring forced removal and relocation of the many Indigenous nations that span "their" borders by means of a reinforced physical barrier. In addition, the peoples who will be primarily targeted for racial profiling will be Indigenous peoples on both sides of the U.S/Mexico border. The passage of HB 2281 further contributes to the cultural genocide of Indigenous peoples by criminalizing the histories of Indigenous peoples in our own lands within the Arizona public school system. The immigration struggle is also an Indigenous struggle.


US Immigration Court

160 North Stone Avenue

Tucson, AZ 85701-1584

Friday, 5/21

11am - 1pm.

For those attending the NAISA conference, please gather in the lobby of Westin at 10:15am.

For more information on the protest, contact:

NAISA members: contact Mishuana Goeman, Southern California Native Feminist Group, at mishuana@gmail.com
Support the following Indigenous groups organizing against SB 1070:

O’odham Solidarity Against Borders Collective

Táala Hooghan Infoshop

Lipan Apache Women’s Defense http://lipanapachecommunitydefense.blogspot.com/

O'odham Voices Against the Wall,

Council Advocating an Indigenous Manifesto

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mexico: Human Rights Defender? Since when?

Shap kwoj,

OSABC wanted to share last month's article from the Tohono O'odham Runner about the new restrictions of movement that the Mexican Government made into law in early March. These restrictions now require "U.S." citizens, to have a U.S. passport in order to travel more than 12 miles into Mexico. This was passed with no reason given, other than the spokesperson for the Mexican Consulate stating:
"We are not doing this to hassle Americans or bother them. It is to have better order, be more organized and provide better services".
OSABC would like to identify the contradiction in the Mexican Government's need for "paperwork" (U.S. Passport) within "its" boundaries, and its oppositional position in Arizona law SB 1070, which also requires "paperwork" within the state of Arizona. Both policies are a tightened regulation of the free movement of people.

Mexico's new restriction are a direct attack on movement for all, but especially for the indigenous on both sides of the border line. For our people, the O'odham, this is a great concern. The article we've reproduced below is from the tribal newspaper, which covers the concerns that our people have with this law in Mexico. Many are concern how this will affect us this coming October as we make our yearly pilgrimage to Malina (also knows as Magdalena), and overall travel into Mexico. Malina is located in the Sonoran state, and is roughly 65 miles south of Nogales, clearly passed their 12 mile checkpoint known as "Marker 21".

Mexico's new requirement for a U.S. passports affects all O'odham, but especially our elders due to the requirement of a birth certificate. Many of our elders were born outside of the system and do not have records of their birth. Or, as was told to me by my grandpa, were lost in the 1940's when a tribal government storage building containing records, burned down. My grandpa was one of many who lost his "paperwork", and to this day, struggles with the State's ever growing demand for it.

Meanwhile, Mexico's public denouncement of SB 1070 sounds good on paper, but at the same time we can't help but see the contradiction in its position. The Mexican government and the state of Sonoran Goverment officials denounce SB 1070 on grounds of racial profiling, safety and overall humiliation towards its citizens. Do they expect a standing ovation, a round of applause?

Hmmm? While at the same time, the human right violations that they denounce, the Mexican State carries out towards the indigenous of Mexico everyday. Ask the Zapatistas and other autonomous indigenous communities that are resisting the Mexican State oppression. The recent news of the Mexican paramilitary attack in Oaxaca is just another example of that.

For our people, we are now restricted in a 12 mile "cage" between the international line and the 12 mile area "granted" to us by the Mexican State. Our tribal ID's are still "respected" (even though are highly questioned when re-entering the U.S.), but with Mexico's new regulation of movement, we are left wondering how long that will continue.

The U.S. could further violate our right to free movement by dismissing our tribal IDs due to Mexico's new regulations. OSABC is left to wonder if this is the first steps towards that. The U.S. could have the attitude that since Mexico is requiring everybody to have U.S. passports to travel more than 12miles, then ALL must have a U.S. passport to re-enter the the U.S.

Regardless of what the State views as "proper" paperwork in international travel, these policies by both the U.S. and Mexican State undermine and attack indigenous autonomy/sovereignty. SB 1070, U.S. Border Patrol on T.O. Nation (overall presence and check points), and internal Mexican check points are all the same, a control on movement. In our case, also a attack on religious freedom due to the requirement just to embark on our pilgrimage to Malina. These requirements now put our elders in an position where they must plead with the state by applying for passports, but without birth certificates, this makes this process a huge task, to say the least. OSABC feels we should not submit to these requirements. We as O'odham should have the right to free movement. This is still our jewed.

OSABC would like to highlight this contradiction so it will hopefully lead to a better understanding of the U.S./Mexican State attack on free movement. Deeper economic policies are into play, that lead to such regulation. If capital can move freely across borders (NAFTA), why can't people?

The last contradiction out of the Mexican State's new regulation is that it will not apply to travel towards Rocky Point. So, free movement for American tourists, but not for indigenous people.

We hope this article below gives some perspective in our struggles to maintain our free movement for cultural autonomy.

(note: the article takes a very complacent stance in the new restrictions.)

Plan to Journey to Magdalena? Get a Passport

APRIL 16, 2010 V.17 NUMBER 18

SELLS- If you're planning to make the pilgrimage to Magdalena, Sonora next October, you will need an American passport, and since it can take up to a couple of months to get one, you might want to get started now.

The Tohono O'odham Nation's Executive Office issued a travel alert in early March, informing tribal members that Mexican law now requires U.S. citizens traveling south of kilometer marker 21 to have a passport.

A handful of inquires about that requirement reveals that some Tohono O'odham are still unclear about the change in Mexican law.

Brenda Cruz, Executive Assistant to Tohono O'odham Nation Chairman Ned Norris Jr., said the travel alert is very clear, and the change in Mexican law in no way affects the use of tribal ID cards issued by the Tohono O'odham Nation.

She said official tribal ID cards issued by the Nation are accepted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Border Patrol when O'odham traveling in Mexico are returning to the United States.

The need for a passport is something required by the Mexican government for U.S. citizens when traveling in Mexico. Why the Mexican government passed the law is unknown to her, Cruz said.

Nonetheless, she said, Magdalena, Sonora, the destination of an annual pilgrimage made by hundreds, even thousands of Tohono O'odham every October, is well below the kilometer 21 marker in Sonora. Because of this, those making the pilgrimage next October will need a U.S. passport, she said.

To get one, a person must fill out and file an application for a passport, and one of the required documents to show evidence of U.S. citizenship is a birth certificate. While this is not a problem for young and middle-aged Tohono O'odham, it could affect elders, many of whom were born at home and never got a birth certificate, Cruz said.

If this is the case, other secondary evidence such as baptismal and early hospital records can be used, and in some cases even testimony by someone who witnessed the birth, she said. But if a person is an elder, it is unlikely someone who could offer such testimony is alive.

Cruz said there may be no relief for elders in this predicament, and some may not be able to make the pilgrimage to Magdalena.

For those Tohono O'odham who will be applying for a U.S. passport, they will need their birth certificate and Social Security card. The cost for a regular passport is $100, and the cost for a smaller, wallet-sized passport is $45. The passport card can be used only for travel to Mexico and Canada. For other international travel a regular passport is required.

Cruz said she gets from one to two inquires a day about passports, and she cautioned that since it can take up to two months to process and received a passport, it would be wise to get started now.

For more information about getting a passport, contact Cruz.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Democrat Senator.Schumer Immigration Reform Plan=SB1070!

We just wanted to share a flyer put together by our good comrade Chaparral Respects No Borders, it sums up not just SB1070, but the overall threat that this bill represents. These threats are not new, but now bring to surface the global context of these threats: neo-liberalism. Border security is needed to ensure neo-liberal projects (NAFTA!), and really should be read for what it is: border "regulation/militarization" of indigenous land to ensure capital exportation of people and resources .

As you have seen, and will continue to see, politicians from both parties and reformist immigration activist organizations, push for "Immigration" Reform" which, directly or indirectly, calls for border "militarization". . As cited in an earlier piece, the "political" solution will bring forced removal and relocation of the many indigenous tribes that span "their" borders by means of a reinforced physical barrier. Regardless of the politics, pseudo-calls for movement unity and Pan-American Indigenous "Perspective" (the use of indigenous themes/imagines/icons of liberation, while ignoring the indigenous of the land they organize on), it must be clear that the immigration struggle is also an indigenous struggle.

In order for the state to pass immigration reform, it has called for the "securing" of the borders first, in order to manage the flow of migration. This securing includes and is not limited to a physical wall to be made on indigenous land (Tohono O'odham/Lipan Apache to name a few). The state's power to waive pre-existing laws ( such as NEPA, NAGPRA) in the name of security, directly attacks indigenous autonomy/sovereignty. We understand that our voice, the O'odham voice, is greatly undermined by the mainstream media, state/national politicians and sadly, even self proclaimed immigrant/human rights activists. Regardless of their politics, our voice will stay strong in the face of 21st Century marginalization/colonization.

Our people have survived and kept our him'dag (O'odham way of life) strong through three waves of colonial settlers (Spain, Mexico and United States). OSABC feels, in order to move forward, and attack the State's new wave of colonization, we must understand "where we are at". The very land we all walk on. This has, is and always will be O'odham jewed. If others cannot acknowledge the indigenous people of the land, and call for policies that attack them (O'odham! Yaqui!), such as Berlin Wall-like barrier, in the name of "reform/security", then we will witness the cycles of capitalist imperialism continue long into the 21st Century!





Migration is a natural thing, while the necessity of obstructions such as border walls are rationalized by those in power to deal with threats to security against a fortress built on the backs of other people. This fortress is the US, taken and secured by force, built up by slavery and attacks on liberation movements throughout its history. The border is therefore illegitimate and we need not and must not regard migrants as helpless victims to justify their crossing. Everyone should have the right to freedom of movement. Of course migration from south of the border has increased due to the economic and political impacts of neo-liberal projects such as NAFTA.

Homeland Security has nothing to do with making sure we all have homes. Especially when so many people are losing their homes, security should mean shelter, food, health care, safety. The governor is pushing for more National Guard on the border and Comprehensive Immigration Reform will likely include increased militarization. Communities, such as the Tohono O’odham, on the border are already severely impacted by militarization, while many migrants die crossing. This will only get worse. It needs to be opposed at all costs.

What is the threat? The first border patrol and physical barrier on the border are less than one hundred years old, yet some act like we’re doomed if we’re without a border wall. The billions upon billions of dollars to build a wall, buy border security technology, pay border patrol agents, detain hundreds of thousands of migrants, and deport them is hardly justified by the alleged costly impact migrants have on the economy. The impact of supposed over-population is nothing compared to the impact that big corporations- especially weapons manufactures- have on the planet.

Why we oppose the latest anti-immigrant bill, SB 1070:

  • It allows all police to enforce federal immigration law, allowing them to arrest someone without a warrant if they believe that the person is in the country illegally

  • Would create the additional crime of trespassing with which any undocumented immigrant could be charged in this state

  • Would penalize all migrants (legal or not) who don’t carry “an alien registration document”

  • Criminalizes day laborers and those who pick them up to hire them

  • Makes it a crime to conceal, harbor, or shield a migrant, including transportation, and also may include renting to migrants

No to increased border security! No to the created divisions between us and our brothers and sisters based on immigration status! No to continued invasions on native land! No to destroying the environment to build a wall! End NAFTA! We need alternatives to police and jails!




Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Movement Demands Autonomy: An O'odham Perspective on Border Controls and Immigration

OSABC stands in solidarity with anti-SB 1070 convergence at the Arizona State Capitol last weekend

This article has already been distributed in pamphlet form, the few paragraphs immediately below are a few notes on recent developments.

In light of the state's new attack of SB 1070 on migrant communities, OSABC would like to show a perspective and experience that is often overlooked in the immigration struggle, that being the indigenous impacts. Indigenous communities have, and still are being attack by the state (meaning the political entity, also called "government") since the first migrants, European settlers, arrived to this hemisphere. But that, we already know. What OSABC would like to express is, WE ARE STILL HERE. As O'odham, we have seen our lands occupied by three colonial states (Spain, Mexico, and now the United States), and STILL, we have endured in the face of colonization. The very land that this bill was passed on, is still O'odham land! From the Phoenix Valley, to Scukson (Tucson is from an O'odham word), to Rocky Point, to the Sierra Madres in Mexico, this is O'odham jewed.

The passing of SB1070 leads us to the police state, and does not just affect migrants, it affects us all! SB 1070 like policies already occur on the Tohono O'odham Nation since the mid-90's with the states push for immigration enforcement. Border Enforcement that would be a Berlin-like Wall through our lands to control movement. The current push for immigration reform by politicians and by reformist activists includes the push to secure “their” borders which would be the forced removal and relocations of all indigenous tribes that live in the border region (Yaqui, Lipan Apache, Mohawk to name a few). This dismissal not just shows the colonial attitude that both reformist activists and politicians have, but also the settler privilege that they evoke when constructing border policies.

We need to be asking the why in all this? Immigration Reform to us, means militarization of our homelands, so we dare to ask the politicians and reformist activists, how can reform for many, be at the expense of the original inhabitants of the land? We need to see it for what it is, and question neo-liberal projects, such as NAFTA, not just put a bandage on policies that affect everybody! We must challenge both the politicians and reformist activists that try to pit indigenous and migrant communities against each other in their “political” solutions! We are in this together, and must start at the root of the problem, in this case from an O'odham perspective.

Movement Demands Autonomy: An O'odham Perspective on Border Controls and Immigration

We want to express as young O'odham, that we oppose the building and structure of a wall along the traditional O'odham territory, The concerns of the villages grow in fear of the on-going tactics that is plainly disguised as a 'part of the rules of conduct for testing censors and technology', have now made the Tohono O'odham people walking targets and criminals in the eyes of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in our own homelands.
As O'odham people, we face the ever growing crucial attacks on Homes, traditional routes, and Identity as indigenous people. The O'odham voice still goes underminded by tribal government and the right of passage through our routes have become a killing field and a battle ground.


Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recent, unprecedented power to waive existing law along the borders of the United States to construct a massive Border Wall and implementations of stricter border crossing regulations, undermines the Tribal Sovereignty, Indigenous Autonomy and Self-Determination of the many indigenous nations whose ancestral lands span into Mexico and Canada. The O'odham people, particularly the Tohono O'odham people, of southern Arizona are one such indigenous nation once again caught in the middle of the United States Border Policies. Policies that have disregarded the history, voice and cultural impacts that any border wall will bring to all indigenous people whose homeland will be further disconnected by the U.S. push to establish the 1,951 mile barrier on the U.S./Mexican Border, 75 miles of which rest on Tohono O'odham Nation southern boundary. In my introductory analysis, I feel the need to state the history and connection the O'odham people have with their ancestral lands, Homeland Security's waiver power on the border and stricter policies and how such power has lead to the militarization of O'odham Jev'ed (O'odham lands). DHS power to waive existing laws to ensure the border wall will have negative implications on all Indigenous Nations whose land is separated by the U.S./Mexican Border and represents the continuation, of the colonization of Indigenous people and land in the 21st Century.

O'odham 101

The O'odham people have called what is now Southern Arizona (U.S.) and Northern Sonora (Mexico) home long before any lines were drawn on their traditional territory. The O'odham people and their culture have flourished in the heat of Sonoran Desert for hundreds and thousands of years and their ancestors the Huhugahm (also know as the Hohokam) created a highly complex society like the Anasazi to the north and the Mogollon to the east. The massive canals that the Huhughm constructed are being utilized by Salt River Project (SRP) today and their influence is found throughout this region. O'odham culture is deeply rooted throughout this area, which is as far north as the Phoenix Valley, as far west as the coast of Mexico in what is now Rocky Point, east as the San Pedro river and as far south as Hermosillo and the Sierra Madres Mountains.

In this area, the many different tribes of O'odham learned to live with the harsh heat of the Sonoran Desert. In pre-Columbus times, the O'odham never considered themselves as one “O'odham Nation”, but were centered in local, regional autonomy. But certain areas did have common traits that made them more distinguished. The O'odham who lived in the area of the Gila River and Salt River, are known as the Akimel O'odham (People of the River), for the O'odham south of this area, they are known as the Tohono O'odham (People of the Desert), and for the O'odham who live west of them, along the coast line, they are known as the Hia-Ced O'odham (People of the Sand).

Each different tribe had its own unique connection and history with the regions that they lived in, but all shared a common way of life, traditions and language. Prior to European contact, the different tribes communicated and traded with each other. Each band of O'odham was familiar with each other and would come together for numerous reasons (i.e. Religious, farming, war, etc.). The O'odham would freely travel throughout their traditional lands and were unaware of the events that were happening south of them in Central Mexico with the arrival of the Spanish.


The Spanish crossed O'odham land in the mid 1500's. The Spanish Conquistadors were in search of gold, but did not find any riches on their travels throughout what is now the southwest of the United States. But their travels did usher in Spanish missionaries who wanted to bring “god and civilization” to the Indians. Catholic Missionaries established missions throughout traditional Tohono O'odham lands. The missions were part of the Spanish's “soft power” tactics to colonize the O'odham to Spanish Culture. Tactics that would be that of hard labor, indoctrination of Catholic beliefs and regulation to areas in closed proximity of the missions. Contrary to most O'odham historians though, this “soft power” was not effective and only lured few O'odham to the Spanish way of life. But the Spanish misinterpretations of O'odham seasonal movement, which is mostly cited by historians as acceptance to Spanish Culture, is questionable when looked into more closely. The Spanish took advantage to seasonal migrations to wetter areas, areas for example being the San Xaiver Mission or Magdalena. The O'odham move to wetter areas was interpreted as a acceptance to the Spanish way of life but for the most part, a great number of Tohono O'odham rejected the harsh practices of the Spanish, and in many cases rebelled. In 1695, 1751, 1756 and 1776, major rebellions occurred, in which the Tohono O'odham expelled the Spanish entirely and in most cases, burned their missions down. In some instances, the O'odham would form alliances with the Apaches in the east which is interesting being that for most part, the two were enemies. These rebellions were just as large and effective as the Pueblo Rebellions going on at the same time. These rebellions temporarily expelled the Spanish Military from O'odham lands and prevented the Spanish from gaining a tight hold in the region which lead to their missions not being built any farther north than what is now Tucson and kept Akimel O'odham lands free of any permanent Spanish presence.

Mexico then Washington

After the Spanish lost its hold in the Americas with Mexico establishing its independence in 1821, the Mexican government would impose its colonial control over the O'odham. The newly founded Mexican government interaction was few compared to the Spanish. The more secular Mexican Government did not continue the Missionary system and shut down the last one in 1842. In 1846, the Mexican-American War started over territorial expansion, which leads to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. This placed the U.S./Mexican border at Gila River but this border was still being negotiated by both governments. The Akimel O'odham and Tohono O'ohdam were never consulted in these negotiations and were not of any importance in the colonial governments decision to where the international border would be drawn. Soon after this border was expanded to where it is today by Colonel James Gadsden who negotiated on behalf of the U.S., by purchasing it for 10 million dollars. This purchase, known as the Gadsden Purchase, placed the international line through the center of traditional Tohono O'odham land. The O'odham were also not consulted and are not even mention within the purchase.

The colonial attitude of Manifest Destiny was in full effect and embodied by James Gadsden, whose previous interaction with Indigenous people was his campaign of removal of the Seminoles. Gadsden previous history before becoming the Minster of Mexico was that of the railroad business, which at the time held enormous power in U.S. Politics. One of the main reasons the U.S. purchased the land was to make way for the transcontinental railroad, a point I like to state because it shows the U.S.'s total disregard to the many people that this border would impact then, but only seen the economic impacts it would bring. Basically the border was established to ensure capital, a similarity that will continue in the decades to come.

The O'odham, unaware of the decisions that were being made by Washington, continue their way of life relatively unaffected by the establishment of the southern border for the rest of the 1800's. They still traveled freely back and forth between the border for traditional ceremonies and to see family. The O'odham were slow to learn that the United States now claimed hold to their land north of the border. In the years after the Civil War, more Anglo-American citizens enter traditional O'odham lands. From this point, the O'odham faced the same racist attitudes and injustices that other indigenous people faced with the U.S. Government and its citizens up to the present (land loss, persecution of traditional religion, boarding schools, assimilation policies, establishment of BIA imposed tribal governments to name a few).

For the O'odham that now resided on the U.S. Side, the loss of land was intermediate. Reservations were established, and for the first time in their history, permanent borders and diversions were established around them to make way for the many Anglo-American that were now settling their lands. The Akimel O'odham were placed in two reservations, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and the Gila River Indian Community. The Tohono O'odhams were bunched in the Papago Reservation (which in 1984 changed to the Tohono O'odham Nation). Ak-Chin Indian Community was established for the Tohono O'odham and Akimel O'odham who lived together by their traditional boundaries. The Tohono O'odham in Mexico have no reservation and fend for themselves, from Mexican settlers to this day and the Hia-ched O'odham whose land was mostly in Mexico, lost all of their land on both sides and have no title to their lands like their O'odham relatives in the north.

The colonization of O'odham lands impacted the O'odham people's connection to the different bands of the O'odham such as the Akimel O'odham's relationship to their relatives in the south. But for the Tohono O'odham, the international line did not cut their ties to the land. Enforcement of the border was few, and pillars of the line did not mark the land as they do now. Besides chicken wire barriers to stop cattle crossing, there were no signs of any border. The establishment of the U.S. Border Patrol in 1924 did not affect them at all. Religious practices that take place on both sides of the border still took place such as the pilgrimage to Ma:lina (Magdalena). The O'odham in Mexico would still travel to the U.S. side for medical needs in the tribal capital of Sells, to buy goods and to see family. The O'odham in the U.S. crossed southwards to do the same as well.

The Tohono O'odham up to this point did not have any problems with their rights as indigenous people to cross the border. The Tohono O'odham faced the many assaults on their land, and negative impacts that colonization imposed on their culture, that indigenous people around the world also faced. This colonization process did lead to the O'odham settlements in Mexico to be reduced from 45, to 9 and lead to a limitation of traditional crossings to be recognized by the U.S. Only till the mid 1990's with Immigration becoming a issue for most of America did the O'odham begin to see their inherit rights attacked by the still, colonial government of the United States.

Operation Colonization: Immigration Policy and the O'odham

In this time, border polices were being formulated once again without their O'odham input. Clinton era policies such as Operation Gatekeeper in San Diego, CA, Operation Hold the Line in El Paso, TX and Operation Safeguard in Nogales, AZ were conducted by the U.S. Border Patrol. The aim of these operations was to crack down on illegal crossing through major cities and force migrants to go through the more barren lands along the border, one such area being the 75 mile region of the Tohono O'odham Nation lands. Another policy change was the Border Patrol now shifted its attention away from interior approach and now focused on the Border itself. With the influx of migrants now crossing the Tohono O'odham Nation lands, the Tohono O'odham tribal enrolled members slowly felt the impact of Border Patrol Agents entering their lands. But just as previous Border Policies, the O'odham people were never considered and consulted.

Congress mandated that Border Patrol secure the borders and enabled their jurisdiction to override local, state and tribal jurisdiction. Agents would now patrol the sovereign nation of Tohono O'odham, with or without the permission from the Tohono O'odham Nation tribal government (TON).

I like to note, TON is the BIA recognized governing body of the Tohono O'odham people, that was established by the Indian Recognition Act of 1934 (IRA). Since its conception, the legitimacy of this body has been called into question by the the traditional people of the community. Many Traditional O'odham and parts of the community feel that TON decisions do not speak for the community as a whole. Congresses border mandates would now reflect such disconnect with TON and “its” members. TON lack of effort to enforce sovereignty, or realization that they don't really have any sovereign rights under IRA would would soon come to light with the O'odham peoples struggle to maintain autonomy in its everyday affairs. The split between TON and the traditional O'odham is not new, but would sadly play out in the struggles to come. True sovereignty over Tohono O'odham lands would not allow the many negative policies to come.

But regardless of sovereignty, or lack of it, Congresses approvals of evaluated enforcement greatly attacked the Tohono O'odham people's autonomy of free movement and right to culture. Indigenous people along the border were feeling the effects of Congress's Plenary Power to impose its jurisdiction over their BIA tribal nation government and their inherit autonomy of as indigenous people.

Accounts of Border Patrol harassment started to be voiced and citizenship issues brought to life. Large numbers of the TON enrolled members were not born in hospitals and did not have valid birth certificates, if any. This confusion lead to the TON issuing Tribal ID cards to the 25,000 Tohono O'odham in the U.S. and to the estimated 2,000 in Mexico. This tribal ID acted as their passport. Their Akimel O'odham relatives also utilized their tribal ID as a passport. But the wave of migrants crossing through reservation land grew throughout the late 90's and early 2000's lead more Border Agents to enter Tohono O'odham lands. Also, along with migrates crossing reservation land, established and dangerous Human and Drug smuggling rings beginning to utilize traditional crossing along the border. Border Agents were not well trained about the O'odham people and their culture, which lead to many accounts of racial profiling and human rights violations when crossing on their reservation or when crossing the borders as they did before, to see family and participate in traditional gatherings.

Department of “American” Security

In the words of the United States Supreme Court, Indian tribes “predate” the United States. We are older than the international boundary with Mexico and had no role in creating the border. But our land is now cut in half, with O’odham communities, sacred sites, salt pilgrimage routes, and families divided. We did not cross the 75 miles of border within our reservation lands. The border crossed us. And the border comes at a price.

-Tohono O'odham Chairman Ned Norris

In wake of 9/11, the United States push to secure the borders greatly evaluated more so than any time previously mentioned. At this time, Border Patrol was moved to the newly established Department of Homeland Secretary (DHS). Under DHS, the TON would soon feel Congresses Plenary Power, imposed on them all in the name of national security. The Tohono O'odham would now face more harassment when crossing back and forth between the border, by the need to secure the border from “terrorists” and “illegal immigrants”. The TON, under pressure from DHS , partnered with Border Patrol to slow down the amount of illegal immigration activity to much dismay from the Tohono O'odham people. Tribal Governments decision to support alternative strategies to the wall, such as the construction of vehicle barriers, checkpoints and integrated camera-radar systems open the door for the Federal Government to undermine Tribal Sovereignty and attack the people's autonomy to exist as O'odham. The TON's willingness to work with DHS was desired by TON, hoping that such cooperation would prevent any Border Wall to be constructed on their lands. But just as their history shows, the concerns of the O'odham would not be heard and appeared to be ignored by the United States to established “its” border. Even though the TON decided to “work” with the Federal Government on the “Border Issue”, the TON publicly denounced a physical wall to cross their ancestral lands.

But the aftermath of 9/11 would now put TON sovereign rights to not allow any wall, secondary to the bigger national emergency. The fear of another 9/11 gave the Federal Government an excuse to invade Indigenous land under the guise of security, and with the flux of immigration growing, along with huge anti-immigrant sentiment growing throughout the country, the O'odham voice would be marginalized out of the debate. The REAL ID Act of 2005 and the Secure the Fence Act of 2006 would reflect the marginalization of that voice because these acts implemented many security related mandates, one being the securing of the U.S. Borders with a physical wall. This display of Plenary Power and the executive branches mechanism to apply it (DHS) would give the Federal Government the excuse to now invade Indigenous land all in the name of national security.

It’s interesting to note, that the REAL ID Act and the Secure the Fence Act were passed without the TON and the many other Border tribes being consulted by Congress. This lack of consideration follows in stride with this country's lack of regard for Indigenous peoples who have never been consulted since the border was “created” on their lands.

Regardless of the obvious colonial nature, these Acts gave DHS the authority to waive all pre-existing laws under Section 102 of the REAL ID act, along the northern and southern border to implement the Secure the Fence Act. This clause gave DHS the power to “legally” acquire land from private owners, State and Federal Parks and tribal nations whose land rested on the border. This act was immediately attacked and on October 8th, 2007 not by any tribal government, but by the environmental organization, Defenders of Wildlife, who sued to stop the border wall from being built in the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (SPRNCA) in Arizona, until environmental impacts studies were completed as required by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). On October 10th 2007, the Federal Court motioned a temporary restraining order to halt DHS from any construction. But on October 26, 2007, DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff waived NEPA and nineteen other laws to begin construction in SPRNCA. Secretary Chertoff put Section 102 of the REAL ID into effect, and cited that as his authority to begin construction. Soon after, Defenders of Wildlife and Sierra Club filed a complaint in the District Court of the District of Colombia. They claimed that the Secretary and DHS act was unconstitutional because of his power to pick and choose what laws to follow in construction of the border wall. This was soon dismissed by the District Court in December 2007 and which lead the plaintiffs to file a Writ of Certiorari petition to the Supreme Court.

In this petition, more plaintiffs joined the suit, one being the TON. Unfortunately, this petition was dismissed in June 2008 and the lower courts decision to allow Secretary Chertoff and DHS the right to waive all statutes was now the law of the land. In the Writ of Certiorari petition, T.O. Nation did cite that DHS power to waive The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), The American Indian Religious Freedom Act and The Eagle Protection Act would greatly have negative impacts on O'odham Culture and undermine their sovereignty of TON. Unfortunately, Congress's prior legislated commitment to protect Indigenous people in this country took backseat to the need to secure the border in the wake of 9/11. In the petition, other non-indigenous citizens all along the border also addressed their concerns and cited the injustice that DHS authority would bring to their communities. The displacement that DHS would cause with the construction of any border barrier is huge, but the precedent that enables them to do so is even huger. The parties that joined the Defender of Wildlife suit understood the implications that would come if the lower court decision was not reversed. But for the Tohono O'odham people, it showed the U.S. continuation of colonial polices. The outcome of the SPRNCA decision did not affect O'odham lands, but as their concerns in this suit addressed, it open the door for DHS to invade their land because as the petition was in the judicial system, DHS was already applying its power to the border region on TON and traditional O'odham lands.


Those Who Are Gone..the Huhugham.

In the time that Writ of Certiorari was working its way in the court system, DHS used their waiver power on traditional Hia-Ched O'odham land, that now lies in Barry M. Goldwater Range to start border wall construction, and to expand the he El Camino de Diablo, a recreational off-vehicle route. Their Subcontractor, Boeing Company did not need to perform archaeological surveys, which lead to two known Huhugham sites to be damaged and unearthed. These account for the eleven identified Huhugham sites that lie in the path of the border wall, on or off the reservation. Since NAGPRA can be waived, the proper care of these sites is not maintained. Many in the community voice their concern of such abuse of power may lead to Huhugham and O'odham remains to be funneled outside the community. The remains unearth by Boeing were later returned to tribal members, but the absolute disregard by DHS to enact their waiver powers to dismiss NAGPRA shows the impacts that any future use would cause. The physical wall would just be one attack on O'odham people and land but the impacts to “those who have gone” would bring catastrophic damage to the O'odham universe.

Checkpoints and Virtual Wall

TON initial “cooperation” with DHS to establish vehicle barriers, checkpoints and integrated camera-radar systems on their lands has lead to a escalation in these measures. Border Checkpoints have now become permanent, and become a point of surveillance where O'odham of any tribal government affiliation are harassed. In many cases, Border Agents violate traditional items in search/seize procedures. Surveillance technology, such as radio towers have been constructed on and off the reservation in DHS “Virtual Wall”. Traditional ports of entry and the immediate border area are a complete militarized zone.

Enhance Tribal IDs

Along with NAGPRA and the virtual wall, the O'odham right to cross the line for traditional ceremonies became even stricter. Usually, such traditional practices of religion would be protected by The American Indian Religious Freedom Act, but since such participation spans border, O'odham were required to show proper paperwork to freely move back and forth between the border. Up to this point, Tohono O'odham people, on both sides used the tribal government ID that was issued in the mid 90's. But since that ID was also distributed to Tohono O'odham and Hia-Ched O'odham in Mexico, DHS declared the Tohono O'odham ID not able to prove citizenship, therefore not a valid ID to cross back into the United States. Along with the Tohono O'odham ID, the O'odham in the north; Gila River, Salt River and Ak-Chin tribal nations were told their tribal government ID was no longer valid. The O'odham in the north who still ventured to the south for traditional gatherings were now caught in a position where DHS only recognized the TON as a border tribe, not realizing their relatives share a connection and inherit rights just as the Tohono O'odham people do to their ancestral lands in Mexico. DHS colonial attitude labeled the O'odham not enrolled in the TON as completely different tribes. The dismissal of tribal ID's is another clear example of tribal sovereignty being infringed on by DHS, and how TON supposed sovereign rights, such as a tribal ID, can be easily waive by Congresses Plenary Powers.

DHS did set a deadline, June 1st, 2009 as the date that all American citizens needed a passport and mark the last day any tribal ID would be recognized as a valid form of proof of citizenship. But the border tribes who use their tribal ID as a passport were able to extend that deadline till they can met DHS new federal requirements listed in the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). In WHTI, it requires that any ID card or passport to be RFID ready. So in November 2009, TON announced that it enter into “agreement” with DHS to produce their new “enhanced” tribal ID which will be RFID ready.

Apartheid in America

DHS's push to militarized our lands, and tribal government's cooperation in doing so not just shows how tribal sovereignty in the border region does not really exist, but shows how the voice and concerns of the O'odham people have been disregarded by both federally backed institutions. Regardless of how you see the immigration issue, the O'odham are stuck in policies that have been created not by them, but by the bigger ever-existing colonial system where borders are established to maintain capital flow. The U.S.'s objectives in its war with Mexico and James Gadsden purchase in the 1800's are no different to what the U.S. Border policies is today, to ensure capital at expense of indigenous displacement. If people were informed about the history of the border, and why it was established, it would then put today's struggle in perspective.

The O'odham people are now in the shadows of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which leads to the bigger struggle of globalization. I feel, the basic principals of these policies and the history of its oppression to the many other indigenous nations worldwide , must be told to show the colonial nature that each embodies. The O'odham people must be informed of “why” migrants cross and “why” O'odham land is now a corridor for migration and drug smuggling . If TON took a broader approach with the immigration issue, it would not be a issue of migration, but a issue of globalization. TON is in a unique position to publicly critique these issue, but decides not to due to the colonial framework of tribal nations and the United States (ward/guardian relationship).

The Defenders of Wildlife v. Chertoff case reflects the importance that the U.S. holds in their global economic agenda of globalization by justifying the Border Walls in their courts, and the expense of the displacement of all people. It shows that justice in our lands will not come from the courts because they represent the colonial power. The same arguments that the courts offered in the Marshall Trilogy that stated they have no choice to rule the way they did because the policies of the United States mandated them to do so, is just as alive today. National Security is the guise today. But for the O'odham, it has ushered in a apartheid-like tribal nation, where tribal government operates in a confined colonial system which offers only colonial solutions to the many migrants who journey to this country for survival.

In conclusion, I felt the need to provide the history of the O'odham and the Border was important because it shows the continuation of colonization and puts the struggle in perspective for people who are unaware of the O'odham. In my travels, as a Tohono O'odham, I find myself meeting many who have no idea of our connection to our traditional land. This connection has long been under attacked since the days of the Spanish, and the United States endorsement of globalization policies is now attacking our O'odham Him'dag. The need to understand the Defenders of Wildlife v. Chertoff case is important because it shows the politics of the colonial rule. Politics that put the O'odham voice behind their security and capital. Militarization now is the state of my lands, and judicial system is not the answer. I wrote this to educate my fellow O'odham, and those who stand in solidarity with us, so we can construct ideas thats may, or may not work in their system. Hopefully, this understanding of the issue will lead to a bigger debate. Not just the same colonial one that is offered by them.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Solidarity & Support: 3rd Annual O'odham Unity Run Benefit Show

Come support this Saturday in Salt River!

Come help raise funds and food donations for our O'odham runners from Salt River, Gila River, Ak-Chin, Tohono O'odham and O'odham in Mexico as they make their journey from the Salt River Indian Community to Posa Verde, Mexico.

We, members of all O'odham communities, will be hosting this benefit to help raise donations.

Optimal(Salt River)
Mike 360(New Mexico)
Definition Rare(New Mexico)
Shining Soul(Phoenix/Tohono O'odham)

DJ Element
Meaty Ogre

El Mac



Culture Fresh
Un3ek Sy5tems
Las Otras Hermanas

Art Workshops
Beat Making Workshops (conducted by shining soul)

Popoverz and Chum-th!
more TBA

3pm-7pm Outdoors **Free
YOUTH WORKSHOPS(Beat Making and Art)

7pm-11pm Indoors
Bboys, Djs, Emcees


$3 W/food donations [prefered:rice, beans, flour, water, gatorade]

If you like to donate, help with food, table, media or help in general, contact us.

This year will be the 15th Annual O'odham Unity Run.
The run will be March 14-20th, 2010

Brief History of Unity Run:

The Akimel O'odham, Hia-Ced O'odham and the Tohono O'odham have long been known for their expertise in long distance running in the desert regions of what is now southwestern United States and Mexico. For over 150 years the O'odham Nations have dealt with separation by the U.S./Mexico Borders. We do not acknowledge this separation within our culture; we encourage our unity to continue.

The Unity Run was founded in 1995, by a small group of grassroots people from both sides of Mexico and the United States, consisting of Tohono O'odham and Akimel O'odham. The group's main goal is to bring awareness to the youth and adults the legacy that our ancestors gave to us centuries ago. The coordinators are actively working to perpetuate that which we inherited and for this to continue for the generations yet to come. Reinstating the tradition of running and the spirituality that comes with running is a challenge to help unite, preserve, heal and respect our history, language and culture. The Unity Run is highly recognized as a drug free, alcohol free and gang free cultural event.