Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights 2020

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Indigenous Alliance supports Lipan Apache at Texas border

Indigenous Alliance in solidarity with Apaches at Texas border

TUCSON -- As Homeland Security began seizing private lands for the border wall in Texas, the Indigenous Alliance without Borders/Alianza Indigena sin Fronteras sent a proclamation of support to Apaches on the Texas border.
Jose Matus, Yaqui and director of Alianza, released a statement of support and called on other Indigenous groups and Nations to do the same. Matus is a Yaqui ceremonial leader with the responsibility of bringing Yaqui ceremonial leaders from Sonora, Mexico, to Arizona for temporary stays to conduct ceremonies. Matus deals with the problems imposed by the border in Indigenous territories and the harassments of Homeland Security constantly.
"Southern Indigenous Peoples continuously face abuse of authority and violation of human and civil rights by current and proposed U.S. anti-immigrant legislation and border enforcement policies and practice," Matus said.
Urging solidarity, Matus quoted Tecumsch, Shawnee Chief in 1768: "The way and the only way, to stop the evil is for all Red People to unite in claiming a common and equal right in the land, as it was at first, and should be yet; for it was never divided, but belongs to all for the use of each."
Matus said, "The Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras in solidarity with other human rights, immigrant rights and community organizations of the southwest region strongly oppose the U.S. Department of Homeland Security the seizure of Lipan Apache peoples land along the U.S. - Mexico Border.
"Since 1990, Indigenous peoples on both sides of the U.S. Mexico Border have been profoundly affected by the U.S. on-going domestic 'wars:' The War on the Poor, The War on undocumented immigration, The War on Drugs and now the 'War on Terrorism.' For the past 17 years, nationalism, xenophobia, and anti-immigrant hysteria have been on the rise. These attitudes promote and support built-in institutional racism, abuse of authority, and violation of rights.
"Our Indigenous ways, quality of life, culture, sacred cultural lands and borderlands have been disrupted.
"Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., seeks more information on the border fence environmental waiver. In a letter to Secretary Michael Chertoff, the Senator asked for details on why DHS wants to waive 19 federal statues to build the fence through two miles of the San Pedro Riparian National Conservatory Area (SPRNCA) along the Arizona-Mexico border.
"He also asked for information on all actions being developed to monitor and lessen the environment impact of building the fence, the letter concluded by asking DHS for copies of any Environmental Assessments and Environmental Impact Statements before the waiver decision. DHS did respond positively to this request!"These threats are assaults on our Indigenous our limited sovereignty, self-determination, borderlands and cultural sites.
"We call upon all Indigenous people to unite and join the Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras in supporting our Lipan Apache relatives in ther struggle to protect their land and promote respect for Indigenous border justice!
The Alianza Indigens Sin Fronteras in partnership with O'Odham Against the Wall is organizing an Indigenous peoples conference, with more information to follow.
In response, Margo Tamez, Lipan Apache/Jumano Apache, whose mother Eloisa Garcia Tamez, is facing seizure of her three acres on the South Texas border, said the message of solidarity was vital.
"On behalf of my mother, Eloisa Garcia Tamez, and the elders of El Calaboz, El Ranchito and La Paloma, of the San Pedro de Carricitos Land Grant of the Place Where the Lipan Pray, I want to thank you for your stand in support of the indigenous families of the Lower Rio Grande valley whose lands, cultures and way of life is threatened by the Department of Homeland Security and the settler nation of the United States government," Margo Tamez said.
"Your support at this moment is critical, as we have been working with indigenas all throughout the hemisphere, through listening and learning to the immense stories we carry in our bodies, hearts, minds, and spirits of being directly impacted communities throughout the occupied 'International Boundary' region," she said.
"Your solidarity statement helps immensely in the education process, by raising awareness of the Nde' peoples all along the Texas-Mexico conflict region, and means a great deal to the aboriginal peoples of these lands, and by situating our struggles together, side by side.
"Through intense adversities our people have persevered and continue to make the necessary relationships which are necessary in order for critical changes and new solutions to come forth from the people themselves, in unity, and this is a good day.
"I acknowledge the strength, vision, and leadership of the people of the Yoeme, Yoreme, O'odham, Opata, Mayo and Nde people of the Sonora-Arizona corridors who have stepped forward in the last two weeks --daily--to share their hearts, spirits, and ceremonial support for our people and the intense impacts this violent aggression by the colonialist U.S. nation-state, is causing on our people.
"Your statement which you offered to our people in a public forum is a very important step in opening relationships, indigenous to indigenous, that are necessary in the movement towards restoring indigenous democracy in our lands and lives.
"I am truly grateful for your public cry of solidarity--ahi'i'e da go tee gozhoo-- thanks and all around joy. We look forward to this new relationship, and we also encourage indigenous leaders--from the people--to affirm this step you've taken at this moment."

Contact info for Jose R. Matus:
Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras
P.O.Box 826 Tucson, Arizona


PHOTO 1: Indigenous Alliance without Borders/Photo Brenda Norrell Photo 2: Border wall protest in Brownsville, Texas/photo Jay Johnson-Castro

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