Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

October 29, 2011

From Tucson to San Xavier, walkers remember migrants

Janice Felix, San Xavier District Council Member,
Tohono O'odham, welcomes walkers

Article and photos by Brenda Norrell
Censored News

TUCSON -- Walkers journeyed eight miles from Tucson to San Xavier on the Tohono O'odham Nation on Saturday, in the annual pilgrimage to remember the migrants who have died crossing the Sonoran Desert.
Family members walked with the crosses of loved ones who died, and placed their crosses in the circle of crosses for their fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, children and grandparents.
Janice Felix, San Xavier District Council member, walked with the walkers and welcomed them to Tohono O'odham land when they arrived.
Kat Rodriguez of Derechos Humanos described how US immigration policies and the militarization of the US/Mexico border has resulted in increased deaths over the past decade, as more migrants risk dangerous areas of the desert for crossing.
Standing in front of San Xavier Mission, walkers called out the names of loved ones, and said, "Presente!" when their names were read.
"The Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a celebration of life, a traditional way for the living to affirm their love for those who have passed away," said the statement.
"Today, as we make our pilgrimage to the beautiful, historic San Xavier Mission, we walk with the spirits of those who have gone before us. We carry in our hearts the memories and dreams of all who have walked beside us in the journey of life. So long as we remember with love and honor, the dead never really die."
There have been 2,287 human remains recovered on the Arizona-Sonoran border since the year 2000.
"For eleven years, we have walked to honor the memory of all who have died, especially those who lost their lives on the U.S. - México border. We invite all friends and allies to walk with us this year, bearing witness to the lives that have been lost in our communities," said the statement.
The walk is sponsored by Coalición de Derechos Humanos, Alliance for Global Justice, Casa Maria, Tucson Samaritans, Borderlinks, Fundación México, No More Deaths and St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church.

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