Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

December 2, 2019

Tohono O'odham Ofelia Rivas with Extinction Rebellion in New York

Singer and actress Melba Moore (left) with Ofelia Rivas in New York.
Photo courtesy Ofelia Rivas

Photo by Ofelia Rivas

Photo Ofelia Rivas

Photo Ofelia Rivas

Tohono O'odham Ofelia Rivas with Extinction Rebellion in New York

Consumerism driven by the corporate system threatens Mother Earth -- Ofelia Rivas

Article by Brenda Norrell
Censored News
French translation by Christine Prat

NEW YORK -- Tohono O'odham Ofelia Rivas spoke to a gathering of Extinction Rebellion in New York on Black Friday, sharing the need to protect Mother Earth.

Ofelia Rivas said she "shared the message for people to consider a personal conscious choice to end consumerism driven by this corporate system."

"The message from Indigenous Peoples is to protect Mother Earth. They are here taking this action, and it is a sign that people have heard our message," Rivas told Censored News.

In New York, Rivas opened the 20 Million Women Strong organization event in the East Village.

While in New York, Rivas provided a prayer song for Bolivians at the "Impunity with the Aymara Community of Bolivia," gathering of The Center for Constitutional Rights and Harvard Law.

At the Concerned Citizens for Change meeting at Manhattan College, Rivas also delivered a presentation.

The Extinction Rebellion action in New York was part of planned Black Friday protests around the world, with activists blockading shopping malls in Paris, Montreal and Madrid, calling for an end to consumerism.

Rivas is founder of O'odham Voice against the Wall and has lived her life on her homeland, battling the U.S. Border Patrol who sit outside her home. One U.S. Border Patrol Special Operations Agent from El Paso pulled a gun on her as he was stalking her at her gate. 

After testifying before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Jamaica in May on the militarization of her homeland, and abuses by U.S. Homeland Security and its Border Patrol on the Tohono O'odham Nation, Ofelia was delayed two days returning home after being targeted by U.S. Homeland Security with repeated searches because of her testimony.

Currently, protected Saguaro Cactus and endangered species are being destroyed near Rivas' home on the Tohono O'odham Nation. At the nearby Organ Pipe National Monument, construction of a border wall segment, now endangers a sacred spring. The border wall construction all along the Arizona border is now blocking the migration paths of jaguar, pronghorn and other rare and endangered species.

The border wall has already proved worthless, as an eight-year-old climber scaled a mock wall in seconds. On the California border recently, the border wall was cut open and a truck driven through it. 

Previously Rivas and O'odham elders returned the remains of their ancestors to their resting place after they were dug up by the United States' construction of a border vehicle barrier on the Tohono O'odham Nation.

Now, the human rights violator Elbit Systems, an Israeli defense contractor responsible for Apartheid security in Palestine, is constructing spy towers on the Tohono O'odham Nation. These integrated fixed towers, contracted by U.S. Homeland Security in remote O'odham communities will continue the spying and stalking of O'odham, which is already underway by the U.S. Border Patrol.

On Friday, at least 27 members of the Extinction Rebellion were arrested in New York.

“This is a real crisis. It’s a moral crisis. We’re in a very sad place,” said Manhattan resident Sarah Kollodny, 80, reports The New York Post.

“We really want to draw attention to what’s happening in the world. Black Friday is a day of strong consumerism,” she added, urging people to “reflect on our resources and consumerism.”

Extinction Rebellion members carried signs calling for “Empathy, humility, frugality” and declaring a “climate emergency,” caused by what they said were carbon emissions from excessive consumption.

Photos copyright Ofelia Rivas
Article copyright Ofelia Rivas, Brenda Norrell, Censored News

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