Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

May 22, 2019

US Homeland Security aims to annihilate Indigenous Peoples,Tohono O'odham Ofelia Rivas testifies in Jamaica

Ofelia Rivas in Jamaica.
Photo by Brenda Norrell

US Homeland Security aims to annihilate Indigenous Peoples, Tohono O'odham Ofelia Rivas testifies in Jamaica

US Homeland Security brutalizing Tohono O'odham in their homeland, Ofelia Rivas testifies in Jamaica

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
French translation by Christine Prat

KINGSTON, Jamaica -- Tohono O'odham Ofelia Rivas testified that her people are being brutalized by the US Department of Homeland Security, and her homelands militarized, just as was the case in Standing Rock.
Speaking before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Jamaica, Ofelia told of the 500 years of genocidal policies that today result in her people constantly under attack by the United States.
"U.S. Homeland Security has criminalized the Tohono O'odham," Ofelia testified.
As a result of her testimony, as she was returning home, the US placed an SSSS status on her airline ticket in Jamaica. Ofelia was delayed for two days with repeated searches in Kingston, Jamaica, Miami and Dallas.
In her testimony in Jamaica, she began by acknowledging the Arawak people, the ancestors of the island's people.
Ofelia said she was testifying as a direct witness and descent of over 500 years of brutal genocidal policies against Indigenous Peoples by the United States government.
In 1848 the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and in 1953, the Gadsden Purchase, divided her original homelands into land in two countries, the United States and Mexico, displacing O'odham and placing them into exile, she testified.
"Today we exist on one-tenth of our original homelands in the United States."
Ofelia described the loss of O'odham homelands in Mexico.
"Our homelands have been sold and stolen by the state government and taken over by the drug cartels," she testified.
On the Tohono O'odham Nation, the most recent impact after 911, was the United States militarization of our homelands.
"The racist and inhumane laws such as the Patriot Act and inhumane immigration laws" have resulted in constant abuse of Tohono O'Odham.
"Today people are attacked by dogs."
"They have home invasions and are detained in their homes with their children.
"People are attacked by the armed military, and forced off the road and detained without cause."
"The US Department of Homeland Security has criminalized the Tohono O'odham."
Ofelia said she has witnessed O'odham elders who are 80 years old, kneeling beside the road, with their arms above their heads, because they do not understand the demands for proof of citizenship.
"They speak their own language. and do not understand the demands to speak English or Spanish," she testified.
She said that the United States intent is a widespread wipe-out of so-called inferior people with its genocidal policies.
Ofelia said the United States is intent on carrying out its policy of manifest destiny, as the world witnessed during the attack on Water Protectors in Standing Rock
"I pray that all animals, plants and living beings will be recognized and protected," she said in conclusion.
Ofelia is founder of O'odham Voice against the Wall. She exposed the current plan for spy towers in her community on the Tohono O'odham Nation. U.S. Homeland Security has contracted Israel's Elbit Systems to construct the towers on sovereign land. Elbit is responsible for Apartheid security in Palestine.
Ofelia testified on the criminalization of Indigenous Peoples, with Michelle Cook, Dine' lawyer and organizer; Casey Camp Horinek, Ponca Tribal Councilwoman, and Leoyla Cowboy, Dine' wife of imprisoned Standing Rock water protector Michael Little Feather Giron.
The Indigenous women's delegation testified on May 9, in Kingston at the University of the West Indies.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights heard testimony from throughout the Americas.

Support Ofelia's work on her website: O'odham Solidarity Project

Read more:

Live from Jamaica -- Native Women Testify:
Dine' Michell Cook: Oil companies engineer new laws after Standing Rock:
Water Protector Leoyla Cowboy, Dine', honors NO DAPL Political Prisoners
Tohono O'odham Ofelia Rivas delayed two days by airline, with repeated searches, after U.S. slaps SSSS status on her boarding passes following testimony in Jamaica. Ofelia testified about the militarization of the border, and abuse by the U.S. Border Patrol
Brutalized at Standing Rock, Poisoned by Extractive Industries, Ponca Casey Camp Horinek Testifies
United States blames excessive force at Standing Rock on private mercenaries, not police, during hearing

Below: Ofelia Rivas' exposures of the spy towers planned to be built on the Tohono O'odham Nation:

Breaking News Exclusive! This article is from 2015. But the spy towers are still planned.
US Israeli spy tower pact targets Tohono O'odham sacred mountain and spying on traditional O'odham

By Brenda Norrell
copyright Censored News
French translation by Christine Prat

GU-VO, Tohono O'odham Nation -- The US has targeted two traditional Tohono O'odham districts, Gu-Vo District and Chukut Kuk District, with 15 new US spy towers built by the Israeli Apartheid corporation Elbit Systems, responsible for Apartheid security surrounding Palestine.
On Tohono O'odham land, the US conceals the fact the US Homeland Security gave the spy towers contract to the Israeli corporation Elbit Systems, responsible for the Apartheid security surrounding Palestine and a manufacturer of drones.
The Gu-Vo District opposes this proposal. Gu-Vo is in the western most district of the Tohono O'odham Nation.
The Gu-Vo District said in a statement, "The Gu-Vo District opposes these proposed tower sites to protect cultural sites on the holy mountain now called the Ajo Mountain Range. The mountain holds human remains of our people and also places of our cultural practices (medicine bundles) home and home of the ceremonial deer and bighorn sheep and mountain tortoises that are protected under the Endangered Species Act."
"The United States government military forces, the border patrol, have not been forthcoming with impact information, such as health effects and have deliberately misinformed the people regarding the immediate environmental impacts such as the roads they will build on the mountain and installation of electrical power lines to the sites as well as that these proposed tower sites will have a 25-year or longer impact on the mountain, the animal and plant life and the O'odham lives."

Tohono O'odham 1916

"The Gu-Vo District communities landscape have already been greatly impacted by numerous unauthorized roads and destruction of our mountains and hills of great significance to the O'odham way of life. Our future generations will face more restriction to live on our original lands as our rights as original Indigenous peoples continue to deteriorate."
"These U.S. proposed towers also are not on the border but in our communities and on the border of the Tohono O'odham Nation reiterating discrimination and deliberate attack on the O'odham," said Gu-Vo District.
While the US attempts to conceal who this contract has been granted to, the US border contract was celebrated in Israel.
Last year US Homeland Security gave the $145 million Integrated Fixed Tower to Elbit Systems, an Israeli defense contractor, instead of to a US corporation. Prior to this contract, Boeing spent $1 billion attempting to build spy towers before announcing that its spy towers on the Arizona border did not work.

Photo: US Border Patrol with spy cameras pointed into the home
of a traditional O'odham woman

The Israeli spy towers are the latest attack on the traditional O’odham, and a means of surveillance and oppression, for O'odham who live in their sovereign homeland.
The increase of US and Israeli militarization on sovereign Tohono O'odham land has resulted in widespread human rights abuses, including rapes and murders carried out by US Border Patrol agents.
US Border Patrol agents have been arrested and convicted in every region of the US border for running drugs. A Congressional hearing revealed that hundreds of US Border Patrol and ICE agents have been arrested and convicted of drug smuggling and serving as "spotters." Spotters are look-outs for the Mexican cartels and provide safe passage for the cartels to transport large loads of drugs into the US.
The US government has armed the Mexican cartels since 2005 by way of the US ATF's Project Gunrunner, Wide Receiver and Fast and Furious. The US media has failed to expose how US agents are involved in drug smuggling at the southern border. The US uses the excuse of this so-called war on drugs in an attempt to justify these US Israeli spy towers, which violate all laws of privacy and human rights in the US.
Meanwhile, universities have partnered with Israel to target Indigenous Peoples in the creation of drones and surveillance.
The University of Arizona in Tucson is boycotted by O'odham human rights activists for designing drones and border surveillance which target and kill Indigenous Peoples globally. San Carlos Apache also boycott the University of Arizona for taking the lead, with the Pope, in placing massive telescopes on sacred Mount Graham in Arizona.

Above: US spy tower near Sells, Arizona, on the sovereign Tohono O'odham Nation, viewed with outrage by a delegation of Mohawks, Lakota, Dine' and Pueblo during the Indigenous Border Summit of the Americas in 2007. The spy tower was located next to the "cage," constructed of a metal fence and concrete floor where migrants were detained, including Indigenous Peoples from Mexico and Central America, walking and hoping for a better life. Large numbers of Indigenous Peoples have died on the Tohono O'odham Nation of thirst and dehydration. The Tohono O'odham Nation created a law which made it a crime to give a drink of water, or aid, to migrants. This law was opposed by Tohono O'odham human rights activists who say they have been instructed by their ancestors to carry out a spiritual way of life for all of creation, the Himdaag way of life.

Below Aug. 2015:

In the news:
Reuters: US Homeland Security awards contract to Elbit:
Epoch Times: During the Congressional hearing on border agent crime, the US admitted that since 2004, over 130 agents of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have been arrested, charged, or otherwise prosecuted on corruption charges. The convictions include alien and drug smuggling, money laundering, and conspiracy.
Israeli newspaper Haaretz: State of Arizona used Elbit drones on Arizona border in 2004:

Background: The IFT systems will consist of surveillance equipment (e.g., ground surveillance radars and surveillance cameras) mounted on fixed (i.e., stationary) tower(s); all necessary power generation and communications equipment to support these tower sites; and command and control (C2) center equipment (including one or more operator workstations) that are capable of displaying information received from surveillance towers on a common operating picture (COP), based on current BP AoRs.

Copyright, Brenda Norrell and Ofelia Rivas, Censored News
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