Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

November 25, 2007

Conspiracy of Silence: O'odham say border wall is genocide

Conspiracy of Silence: O'odham say border wall is genocide

By Brenda Norrell
Posted on Sun Nov 25th, 2007 at 01:34:17 PM EST

The grassroots organization O'odham Voice Against the Wall has denounced the ongoing genocide of the O'odham people in the United States and Mexico, where the border wall and development has resulted in the digging up of graves and the final resting places of their ancestors.
A delegation of Mohawks, Oneida, Lakota and Acoma Pueblo recently voiced their sadness and outrage over the border wall under construction on Tohono O'odham lands in Arizona and the "cage" where migrants are imprisoned.
Further, the Mohawk delegation was horrified to watch the US Border Patrol arrest Mayans in front on them, as they tried to intervene, and also to learn of the hundreds of Indigenous Peoples dying on Tohono O'odham land and the nearby desert each year for want of a drink of water.
The delegation also learned that the graves of the O'odham ancestors were recently dug up for the border wall under construction by contractor Boeing. The Tohono O'odham Nation government has declined to release a public statement regarding the ancestors' remains being dug up and removed in 2007 for the border wall.
After the Mohawks' comments were released, a few Tohono O'odham Nation government officials objected and defended the border wall and their policies, which criminalizes aid to migrants.
However, the O'odham Voice Against the Wall said the true way of life of the O'odham, the Him'dag which honors humanity, is at stake, while the government officials work in collusion with Homeland Security.
O'odham Voice Against the Wall statement:
"America is built on the blood of the original peoples of these lands and stolen lands of the original people, now our own people only speak in a foreign mindset. This is your American dream of depriving your own people of PEACE and justice when they are abusing the elders right in your face and degrading your women and children of dignity. Let's set these things right, politicians are not equal or have more authority then the traditional peoples of the land that uphold the true Him'dag. I have yet to see any politicians sit at our table and bring genuine concern and solutions to this outright land takeover buy the federal government. Soon we will be running around with a cut head when we totally lose all rights to our traditional lands, they will bulldoze over your graves to build their headquarters just as they did in Sonoyta, Mexico. Did the O'odham leaders protect those grave sites, no they didn't. Maria cried until last year when she died, she cried about having no grave to visit, her mother's grave that went under the blades. The WALL is not the solution, yes some families are hurting from their drug smuggling businesses but what about our way of life. The government has created this and planned on this don't you get it. It is called Genocide...and it is here in your face."

(Photos: Homeland Security and Border Patrol's migrant "cage" on Tohono O'odham land near San Miguel, Arizona/Photo Ofelia Rivas; Photo 2: Border wall under construction on Tohono O'odham land near San Miguel, Arizona/Photo Indigenous Delegation.

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