August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Traditional O'odham Relief by O'odham Voice Against the Wall

The drive to the south by Ofelia Rivas. 

Some of the food, greens, frozen chicken, eggs and canned goods.

"Because of an illegal gate, we had to walk the donations across." -- Ofelia Rivas

"We also brought a rooster and two chicks to a family." -- Ofelia Rivas

O'odham land to the south, O'odham land in what is called Sonora, Mexico.
Photo by Ofelia Rivas, O'odham

Article and photos by Ofelia Rivas, Tohono O'odham
Special to Censored News
French translation by Christine Prat

To begin this story is somewhat difficult, we are not facebook warriors. We are just following the ways of our ancestors,  we help any person and we share what we have. The political International boundary does not stop our efforts.

The decades of neglect of O'odham communities on the southern side of this border is shameful. The O'odham as a whole has lost tremendous vast lands of cultural significance, very vital in the lives of all O'odham.

Generations of young O'odham have never set foot on the shores of the sea or climbed the mountains to collect foods and medicines, nor do they know the names of these places.

Institutions that display maps of O'odham lands abruptly end at this political border. The political system creates documents of guidance and authority such as the Tohono Oodham Constitution that states implicitly that all O'odham are united, that O'odham culture is protected, just as all such documents are just written words often repeated methodically without connection or understanding.

In these fruitful times of the gaming enterprises, the lands to the south are just a nuisance to politicians to write a word or two and budget funds for politicians to travel into Mexico fully stipended.

Meanwhile, O'odham are living without safe drinking water and without electricity and many times without food.

This effort is by donation only. 
"We have no Go Fund Me accounts and are not a non-profit. Compassion is a great O'odham virtue."

Mail donations to Ofelia Rivas
PO. Box 1835
Sells, Arizona 85634

Ofelia Rivas on her O'odham homeland. Photo by Jason Jaacks
E-mail: Ofelia Rivas

Copyright Ofelia Rivas, Censored News. May not be used without permission.

Louise Benally: The balance of life has been disturbed, what is in the Earth was to be left alone

Photo by Ethan Sing

Photo by Lyla June Johnston

Messages from the land, messages from the people

By Louise Benally of Big Mountain

Special to Censored News
April 30, 2020
French translation by Christine Prat

Our elders used to say: Whatever is in the ground, that is a part of the Earth and needs to be left alone, like the natural resources, because it holds the balance of all life.

If it is disturbed it will create a big disruption, which is what we are facing now. There is no remedy to fix it, it is man-made -- the unbalancing of the Earth for its resources and non-stop pollution.

Be very careful with everything you do, wash hands more often with soap and water. Drink hot beverages often, keep away from crowds, don't be close to anyone and stay six feet away or more. Work on projects away from people. Take vitamins C and D. Lemon, garlic and mint teas or good with honey. Prayers with nature as much as possible, and less time on TV or other media that will get you stressed out. Wear masks if you have to go into a crowded area and don't touch just anything.

The virus has no boundaries, and only you can make a difference for your self.

About the author
Louise Benally and her family have been fighting forced relocation for 40 years. Peabody Coal orchestrated the seizure of Dine' land on Black Mesa to seize the coal to mine for the Navajo Generating Station, near Page on the Navajo Nation. It provided cheap coal-fired electricity to the Southwest, depleted the water, poisoned the land, water and air,  while the people suffered, many without running water or electricity. Over the past 40 years, this power plant was designated one of the dirtiest in the world, a leading cause of global air pollution. Surrounding this devastation from coal mines and a total of three coal-fired power plants on the Navajo Nation are the unreclaimed radioactive uranium tailings, left strewn behind by irresponsible uranium mining companies. These uranium mines left behind a legacy of death from respiratory diseases and cancer for Navajo uranium miners and their families. The Church Rock, N.M. uranium spill continues to contaminate the Rio Puerco as it flows toward west. The air, land and water have been poisoned by the oil and gas drilling and flaring on the Navajo Nation,  which is widespread from the eastern homelands in New Mexico to the Aneth, Utah oil and gas fields. -- Brenda Norrell, publisher, Censored News

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