Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

May 30, 2019

Sacred Land, Sacred River -- Carrizo Comecrudo Protecting their Cemetery from Border Wall, Smokescreen for Land Seizures

Sacred Land, Sacred River -- Carrizo Comecrudo Protecting their Cemetery from the Border Wall, a Smokescreen for Land Seizures

On Memorial Day, Carrizo Comecrudo Protect their Cemetery, Their Land, Their Lives

Video by Govinda Dalton
Article by Brenda Norrell
Censored News

SAN JUAN, Texas -- On this ground, their ancestral homeland, Carrizo Comecrudo tribal members are protecting the resting places of their ancestors from construction of the border wall. The construction now threatens their people, their cemetery and their homeland along the Rio Grande River.

"These ancestors are projected to be bulldozed over by the border wall," said Christa Mancias, daughter of Carrizo Comecrudo Tribal Chairman Juan Mancias.
Flowing between the lands now called the United States and Mexico, is the river of rivers, one that is truly grand, the Rio Grande River, and on both sides of the river are the homelands of the Carrizo Comecrudo.
"That river has run through this continent for thousands of years and brings life into the people, it brings life into the land. It is another genocide that we have tried to fight," Christa said.
The planned border wall will cut off peoples' access to this grand river, the Rio Grande, the fifth largest river in North America, and the cemetery would be bulldozed.
"We are trying to protect our ancestors so they will not be forgotten anymore."
Christa called the border wall a smokescreen.
"The wall is not being built on the border. It is being built three or four miles from the river."
If the border wall is built here, it would create a no man's land that oil and gas pipelines and others could build on. The massive development and harsh lights would destroy the pristine natural habitat.
Near the Eli Jackson Cemetery, protectors are camped at the Yalui Village to defend the ancestors burial places.
Looking at the camp, where the protectors have set up tents, she said, "We are trying to set up to be a self sustaining village."
The U.S. government has waived 28 federal laws, including the Native American Graves,  Protection and Repatriation Act, Endangered Species Act, and a long list of federal laws enacted to protect the water, air, fish, land, wildlife and people.
The U.S. government has waived the federal protection laws in order to act with impunity.
Carrizo Comecrudo are here to protect their ancestors, the land, this river, and future generations.
Many of the burial places were covered in grass, and they have cleaned the cemetery, with graves dating back to 1824 and 1829. There are many veterans buried here.
"We are trying to protect land, sacred places, our sacred river"
Since the cemetery is three to four miles from the Rio Grande River, if the border wall is built here, developers in collusion with the United States government could seize the land for commercial enterprises.
The land is sacred, and the river is sacred.
And the families here have a personal reason for protecting it. This is the resting place of their ancestors.
"We do have family members buried in the cemetery."
Walking near the levee, she said, "This cemetery is right up against the river."
"Where we are standing now, would be a border wall."
The United States government has not even told her people whether they will rebury their relatives, or even if they will rebury their ancestors.
"It is not right, it is not fair."
On Memorial Day, she said, "Today of all days, we remember those who are gone."
Walking close to the Rio Grande levee, she said, "The border wall would wipe out the whole cemetery."
Farmers would lose their land, and people would lose their homes.
In the cemetery, there are 150 graves here, and some are not marked.
When the families leave this world, they want to be buried with their relatives. They want be able to be buried with their mothers and fathers, brother and sisters here, and another just down the road.
"Water is life."
During the interview, broadcaster Govinda Dalton said, "There is a whole lot of land that is going to be lost," pointing out that if a foreign country invaded and took this much land, there would be an outrage.
"You would think people would revolt."
Christa said, "And there hasn't been, except for those standing here, protecting our sacred land, our sacred river. It is just a shame that this will be gone."
Chairman Juan B. Mancias told Censored News, "Everyone has got too ask themselves the question why waive such laws just to build a wall? Are there other purposed intentions for use of the border wall land seizure? There are LNG and Oil pipelines that are under scrutiny at this time; will they utilize the waiving of the laws to connect from west Texas to the coast?" Chairman Mancias said.
"Even the rich kids spring break partying place is jeopardized by waiving these laws to build LNGs near Port Isabel and South Padre Island. Nothing is sacred when u put a money tag on it."

    More in this series from the Texas border:
Live from Nation Butterfly Center -- Border Wall Preposterous Cover for Oil and Gas Pipelines

    Federal laws waived. List by Center for Biological Diversity.

  1. The National Environmental Policy Act
  2. The Endangered Species Act  
  3. The Clean Water Act
  4. The National Historic Preservation Act
  5. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act
  6. The Migratory Bird Conservation Act
  7. The Clean Air Act
  8. The Archaeological Resources Protection Act
  9. The Paleontological Resources Preservation Act
  10. The Federal Cave Resources Protection Act
  11. The Safe Drinking Water Act
  12. The Noise Control Act
  13. The Solid Waste Disposal Act
  14. The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act
  15. The Archaeological and Historic Preservation Act
  16. The Antiquities Act
  17. The Historic Sites, Buildings, and Antiquities Act  
  18. The Farmland Protection Policy Act
  19. The Coastal Zone Management Act
  20. The Federal Land Policy and Management Act
  21. The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act
  22. The National Fish and Wildlife Act
  23. The Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act
  24. The Administrative Procedure Act  
  25. The River and Harbors Act
  26. The Eagle Protection Act
  27. The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act
  28. The American Indian Religious Freedom Act
The Center for Biological Diversity said the Trump administration announced that it will waive 28 laws to speed construction of gates and other border-wall infrastructure in Cameron County, Texas, including areas adjacent to a national wildlife refuge.

"The waiver is intended to speed border-wall construction by sweeping aside laws that protect clean air, clean water, public lands and endangered wildlife. This is fourth time the Trump administration has used the REAL ID waiver.
“This adds insult to injury for Cameron County, where the government has already run roughshod over property owners and decimated the environment to build border walls,” said Laiken Jordahl, a borderlands campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity.
“Trump’s latest waiver continues to chip away at crucial protections for people and wildlife in the Rio Grande Valley. They deserve clean air, clean water and the same legal rights as everyone else in the country.”

Trump Administration Waives Laws to Build 100 Miles of Border Wall Across Arizona National Monument, Wildlife Refuges
By Center for Biological Diversity, May 21, 2019
TUCSON, Ariz.— The Trump administration will waive dozens of environmental and public health laws to speed border-wall construction through federally protected sites in Arizona and California.
Today’s announcement from the Department of Homeland Security says waivers will be used to build walls through Organ Pipe Cactus National MonumentCabeza Prieta National Wildlife RefugeSan Bernardino National Wildlife RefugeCoronado National Memorial and numerous designated wilderness areas. The bollard-style barriers will block wildlife migration, damage ecosystems and harm border communities.
“The Trump administration just ignored bedrock environmental and public health laws to plow a disastrous border wall through protected, spectacular wildlands,” said Laiken Jordahl, borderlands campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity. “This senseless wall would rip a scar through the heart of the Sonoran Desert, kill endangered wildlife and cause irreversible damage. We’ll do everything in our power to stop this destruction.”
The three waivers sweep aside 41 laws that protect clean air, clean water, public lands and endangered wildlife. They cover plans to build more than 100 miles of wall in numerous Arizona locations and in California near El Centro and San Diego.
With these waivers, which take effect Wednesday, the Trump administration will have issued 12 waivers under the REAL ID Act. The waivers come during an open comment period where the public is invited to weigh in with concerns. Comments remain open until July 5.
The Center and allies have sued to challenge Trump’s emergency declaration, which would fund this border wall construction. The Center also has sued the administration to challenge border-wall construction in the Rio Grande Valley and near the Santa Teresa Port of Entry in New Mexico. The Center’s first border-related lawsuit ― filed in 2017 in U.S. District Court in Tucson with U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva ― seeks to require the Trump administration to do a detailed analysis of the environmental impacts of its border-enforcement program. All of these suits are pending.
A 2017 study by the Center identified more than 90 endangered or threatened species that would be threatened by wall construction along the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border.
Beyond jeopardizing wildlife, endangered species and public lands, the U.S.-Mexico border wall is part of a larger strategy of ongoing border militarization that damages human rights, civil liberties, native lands, local businesses and international relations. The border wall impedes the natural migrations of people and wildlife that are essential to healthy diversity.
The waivers cast aside these laws:
  1. National Environmental Policy Act
  2. Endangered Species Act
  3. Wilderness Act
  4. Clean Water Act
  5. American Indian Religious Freedom Act
  6. Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act
  7. National Historic Preservation Act
  8. Migratory Bird Treaty Act
  9. Migratory Bird Conservation Act
  10. Clean Air Act
  11. Archaeological Resources Protection Act
  12. Paleontological Resources Preservation Act
  13. Federal Cave Resources Protection Act of 1988
  14. Safe Drinking Water Act
  15. Noise Control Act
  16. Solid Waste Disposal Act
  17. Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act
  18. Archaeological and Historic Preservation Act
  19. Antiquities Act
  20. Historic Sites, Buildings, and Antiquities Act
  21. Wild and Scenic Rivers Act
  22. Farmland Protection Policy Act
  23. Federal Land Policy and Management Act
  24. National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act
  25. National Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956
  26. Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act  
  27. National Trails System Act  
  28. Administrative Procedure Act  
  29. Wild Horse and Burro Act  
  30. Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899  
  31. National Park Service Organic Act 
  32. National Parks and Recreation Act of 1978
  33. 50 Stat. 1827 (April 13, 1937);
  34. Arizona Desert Wilderness Act  
  35. Arizona –Idaho Conservation Act of 1988
  36. Coronado National Memorial Enabling Legislation
  37. Coronado National Memorial Management Policies
  38. National Forest Management Act of 1976
  39. Multiple-Use and Sustained-Yield Act of 1960
  40. Eagle Protection Act
  41. Reclamation Project Act of 1939
Rio Grande and Texas border
Border wall waiver map

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