Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

May 29, 2021

O'odham Victory: Halting Hazardous Waste Dump at Sacred Quitovac

O'odham shut down Route 2 at Quitovac, shown above. Photo copyright Jason Jaacks. Below: O'odham  shut down the border crossing at Sonoyta/Lukeville in 2006 in their successful actions that halted a planned hazardous waste dump near their Ceremonial place of Quitovac, just south of the Arizona border. Ofelia Rivas, founder of O'odham Voice Against the Wall, led the successful effort to halt the chemical waste dump. Photos copyright Ofelia Rivas.
The new website is: O'odham Rights


Protest at Mexican Consulate in Tucson. Photo copyright Ofelia Rivas.

Celebrating Victory: O'odham Shut Down Border and Halted Chemical Dump at Quitovac 

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

Today we honor the victory of traditional O'odham who halted a hazardous waste dump near their Ceremonial place of Quitovac, on O'odham land in Sonora, just south of the Arizona border.

One of their actions was to shut down the Mexico U.S. border crossing at Sonoyta, Sonora/Lukeville, Arizona, in 2006.

With hard work spanning years, traditional O'odham halted this chemical waste dump. 

O'odham in Mexico led a 120-car caravan to oppose a planned hazardous waste dump in O'odham territory south of the international border, near the O'odham sacred site of Quitovac.

Ofelia Rivas was among the O'odham in the auto-caravan protest to the municipal government offices in Sonoyta, south of Lukeville, Ariz.

"The proposed site is near our sacred ceremonial grounds in Quitovac," Rivas said.

"The O'odham in the surrounding communities were not involved in the decision-making and strongly oppose this project."

"The chemical waste site not only will impact the environment, but it would bring health risks to the poor people living in the region, O'odham and Mexicans," Rivas said during the border blockade.

Ofelia Rivas said today, "Thanks for the article. We, the traditional people were written up in Survivor magazine and Americas."

"I  remember my brother and the Elders lodged the official injunction in Mexico. 
I organized events in the US, and held demonstrations at the Mexican  consulants and at the events in Quitovac."

"My brother organized the events in Rocky Point, Caborca, Hermosillo and Sonoyta."

"All the scientists in marine biology, environment and health all got organized and did their part, it was huge," Ofelia said.

More excerpts from our coverage
Censored News 2007

Published at the Hague, 2006, excerpt:


Traditional O'odham halted a hazardous waste dump near their Ceremonial area at Quitovac, just south of the Arizona border, in 2006.

Today, while going through my files, I realized Traditional O'odham were never given the credit they deserved.

Individuals and organizations used their struggle, and received large amounts of funding, without honoring their victory and giving them credit.

Some went so far as to remove my name from my articles, and put a fake name on my articles, in order to steal the content.

The research exposing the planned dump was  among the last investigative reporting I did at Indian Country Today, before I was fired in 2006. 

Today, with Ofelia Rivas' permission, I'm reposting photos of this border action: Celebrating Victory: O'odham shutting down the border in 2006, and halting a chemical dump. -- Brenda Norrell, Censored News

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

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