Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

February 27, 2009

Indigenous Alliance without Borders Statement on Southern Border Indigenous Peoples Issues

Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras
P.O. Box 826 Tucson, Arizona

Contact: Jose R. Matus, Project Director, Tel: 520 979-2125,
Photo: Alianza 2008/by Brenda Norrell

Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras Statement on Southern Border Indigenous Peoples Issues

TUCSON -- The Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras (Indigenous Alliance Without Borders) located in Tucson, brought together individual members of the Tohono O'odham Nation, Pascua Yaqui Tribe, Gila River Indian Community, White Mountain and Lipan Apache, along with indigenous organizations from Tucson and Phoenix at a regional consultation and strategy meeting on Southern Border Indigenous Peoples issues. At this gathering, on Feb. 14, an indigenous led transnational initiative focusing on issues of the US-Mexico border region was launched, and strategic plans made to proactively promote recognition and respect for the rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras will spearhead the development of this first ever southern border transnational collaboration of Indigenous Peoples to collectively address the militarization of the US-Mexico border, to promote indigenous rights of mobility and passage, and pursue southern border rights legislation and recognition for traditional ceremonial leaders, language keepers and cultural ambassadors.

Working through the Alianza Indigena, the organizing initiative will collectively address anti-immigrant legislation and border enforcement policies of the region which have violated Indigenous Peoples rights across the borderlands of the southern US border with Mexico. The Alianza Indigena also commits to collectively support the current Lipan Apaches Woman Defense fight against eminent domain in the Texas-Coahuila corridor and opposes the building of the border wall.

Our goal is to create a strategic collaboration among southern border nations of Indigenous Peoples and unite with northern border indigenous Nations including the Dakota-Nakota-Lakota 7 Council Fires of South Dakota engaged in similar issues along the US-Canada border. The Alianza Indigena shall facilitate and intervene collectively to support efforts to preserve traditional intra-tribal and inter-tribal relations and practices across the region, looking to affect long term systemic changes in favor of Indigenous Peoples Rights along the US-Mexico border.

Acting as organizational hub, the Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras will serve to implement proactive strategies of the Indigenous Peoples regionally, collectively address issues in accord with the principles of Article36 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted by the UN General Assembly on September 13th, 2007, which states:

Article 36
1. Indigenous peoples, in particular those divided by international borders, have the right to maintain and develop contacts, relations and cooperation, including activities for spiritual, cultural, political, economic and social purposes, with their own members as well as other peoples across borders.
2. States, in consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples, shall take effective measures to facilitate the exercise and ensure the implementation of this right.
The Alianza Indigena further commits to bringing forward these issues to the appropriate agencies and venues of the United Nations system, in particular the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples.

The militarization of the US-Mexico border which began in 1990, has threaten the survival of our indigenous culture, family ties and social networks, and our rights of mobility and passage have suffered restrictions and policies creating dangerous conditions. We are subjected to being turned away, stopped, detained and harassed by immigration officials on both sides of the border.

The cultural and religious ties between our Indigenous Nations and communities on both sides of the US-Mexico border precede the imposition of the international boundary between the countries by millennia. These ties present a cultural mandate that must continue and will continue in spite of the great difficulties of today's political climate and economic realities.

Currently, there are eight tribal nations that experience border crossing problems even if the US-Mexico border does not physically divide their traditional territories. As nations of Indigenous Peoples, the ability to conduct traditional ceremonies is essential for the continuity, healing and security of our mind and body, family and community. For some of these ceremonies to be held, it is necessary for participants and ceremonial leaders to travel and return across the nation-state boundaries in order to fulfill these spiritual obligations.

In the context of the continental movement redefining the relationship between the Indigenous People and government states in the hemisphere, Professor Jack D. Forbes, Powhatan-Delaware and Professor of Native American Studies at the University of California. Davis comments: "First, we can seek legislation which will amend the immigration laws of the U.S. and Canada so that First Nations People are able to have free movement everywhere in North America, as the
original nations of this continent."

The Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras, founded in 1997, was created by and for Indigenous Peoples to address border issues of the southern US border with Mexico. The Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras consists of individual tribal members from eight southern border indigenous nations with relatives in Mexico. We seek to increase public awareness regionally and nationally on how anti-immigrant legislation and border enforcement policies daily affect the lives of Indigenous Peoples.

The Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras also urges President Barack Obama and his administration to hold Indigenous Consultation Hearings in the Southern US-Mexico border region, in order to gain a direct understanding from indigenous Peoples regarding land and cultura.

Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras Supports the National Human Rights March to Challenge Sheriff Joe Arpaio

The United States government is failing to protect the human rights of Indigenous peoples to practice their own spiritual beliefs.

The Alianza Indigena is here in solidarity because people of color 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.

The Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras, call on Maricopa County Government to stop Joe Arpaio racist tactic, abuse of authority and violation of human rights against people of color. No Human Being is illegal! Institutional racism is evident in the policing and enforcement of immigration laws, widely reported racial profiling and rampant law enforcement abuses of due process. Stop Arpaio.

The way and the only way, to stop the evil are for all people of color to unite in claiming a common and equal right to food and basic survival.
l issues, and dialogue in the traditional community setting about alternatives to present US border policies such as the wall.

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