Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

October 4, 2018

Ofelia Rivas -- Evacuation of Ali Jegk Village


Article and photos by Ofelia Rivas
Censored News

Hello to all concerned friends and supporters, I am on travel and not at home in the village. Hurricane Rosa brought heavy rainfall and caused flooding. There was an evacuation last night of a majority of the people but some are still there.
The authority fear that the earthen dam is over capacity and may collapse flooding the entire village.Should this a occur it will be catastrophic to all that reside there in Ali Jegk.
Menager's Dam was constructed by the labor of my grandfather and uncles and entire population of Ak Chin where the people lived before they moved to Ali Jegk (Little Clearing). The earthen dam was made by hard labor moving earth with farming plows and hand tools using mules and donkeys.  The people used the reservoir water for traditional planting along the Vejupan mountain. In the late 1960's the mechanism that released the water through the tunnel and unto the ditches had rusted and broke. All farming stopped as there were no funds to replace the metal plate and frame. The dam has been sitting idle except for cattle, horses and wild life using the water that collects there after the monsoon rains. The dam fell out of maintenance and management. The old families that farmed are all but disappeared into generations now modern values and dependencies on convenience and no interest in growing food.

My memories as a child  sitting in the fields collecting beans and eating watermelon urges me to plant the ancient seeds in my home garden every year and collect old seeds just as my people had done for thousands of years.
There is a restriction urging people to not return home. Hopefully that i will be able to return after my travels.
In Solidarity
O. Rivas

Ofelia Rivas is founder of O'odham Voice against the Wall, longtime defender of the O'odham way of life, and defender of human rights, as the US Border Patrol continues militarization and abuses in her homeland.

Copyright Ofelia Rivas, no portion can be used without permission

1 comment:

Unknown said...

WOW! Thanks for sharing your story of the O'odham People and your attempts to keep the old ways. There's always hope that someone will be grateful and follow.

Best Wishes, JayBird