August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Friday, May 14, 2010

Mike Wilson: Tohono O'odham Chairman lacks moral authority to speak against SB 1070

Photo copyright Brenda Norrell
Mike Wilson, Tohono O'odham who puts out water for migrants, says Tohono O'odham Chairman Ned Norris has no moral authority to speak on behalf of migrants, since Chairman Norris and other elected O'odham officials encourage the deaths of migrants on a daily basis.

By Mike Wilson, Tohono O'odham
Censored News
Photo: Mike Wilson at one of his water stations on the Tohono O'odham Nation. Photo by Brenda Norrell

TUCSON -- U.S. Congressman Raul Grijalva, Dist. 7, had a protest rally in Tucson against SB 1070 at one of his campaign offices on Saturday morning, April the 24th.

Guess who was the first speaker? Tohono O'odham Nation Chairman Ned Norris, Jr.!

I'm insulted and angry that the Chairman was invited to speak, given the Tohono O'odham Nation's fatal anti-immigrant history. The Tohono O'odham Nation has a 10 year demonstrated record of allowing hundreds of Indigenous and Latino migrant men, women and children to die by dehydration on tribal lands.

The Tohono O'odham Legislative Council, the Executive Branch, and specifically Baboquivari District, not only do nothing to prevent inevitable migrant deaths, but worse, continue to confiscate and/or destroy my 4 water stations in the Baboquivari District, the deadliest migrant trail in the U.S.

To destroy or remove life-saving water in the Sonora Desert is a deliberate, universal crime against humanity for which the Tohono O'odham Government and its leaders must be held accountable.

I'm curious as to why Congressman Grijalva invited Chairman Norris to speak. Was the invitation an exercise of political favoritism that shows Congressman Grijalva chooses to conveniently ignore the fact that the Tohono O'odham Nation has migrant blood on its hands?

But now, speaking as a Tohono O'odham AND as a registered Democrat, I'm more suspicious than curious as to how much the Tohono O'odham Nation and/or Desert Diamond Casino has or does contribute directly or indirectly to the Democratic Party of Arizona, the Pima County Democratic Party and to Congressman Raul Grijalva's political campaigns.

I don't understand why Congressman Grijalva would share the podium and attempt to present Chairman Norris as a friend of immigration, as a champion of human rights and as a distinguished Native spokesperson of the oppressed.

Chairman Norris has no moral authority to speak against SB1070.
Mike Wilson, Tohono O'odham, is a human rights activist and maintains water stations for migrants on the Tohono O'odham Nation, against the wishes of the Tohono O'odham Nation.