August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Yaqui Assassinated Water Rights Defender Tomas Rojo: Tomas' Words Translated Now, Nine Years Later



Yaqui Assassinated Water Rights Defender Tomas Rojo: Tomas' Words Translated Now, Nine Years Later



Text in EnglishDisappeared Yaqui Water Rights Defender Tomas Rojo: Video 2012


Special thanks to Anayansa Garza for this translation and honoring our friend Tomas Rojo. After Tomas went missing from Vicam Pueblo on May 27, I found this video interview that I did with him at the Vicam Rights Forum in Sonora in 2012. Thanks to Anayansa, it is now translated, 9 years later. Tomas was murdered in a horrible way, with a blow to his skull, and a hammer found near his shallow grave near Vicam. But, as our friend Ofelia Rivas, Tohono O'odham, said, "They could not kill his spirit." Here are Tomas' words as he sat centered, at peace, speaking of the water and his people. -- Brenda

Article and video copyright Brenda Norrell, Censored News
Transcribed and translated by Anayanse Garza


My name is Tomás Rojo Valencia. I am a member of the traditional authority of the Basarian peoples. We have a lifetime of struggle, but specifically in the water issue, we have been fighting for three years.

Previously, we have actively participated in the problems that affect our people. As we said a moment ago, in the last 500 years of the Yaqui tribe, like the majority of indigenous peoples, the main element that has always weighed on the conscience of our people and each one of its men, women, children and elders is the struggle for the land and the water.

We will not rest until we connect our objectives and achieve this task that rests in the memory of our elders. The only thing that we do is to give continuity, under conditions not as severe, for what they fought for.

They fought in the mountains among the stones, among the thorns, among the bush, among the wild animals that were their friends.

And today we continue to fight under other conditions, first using the knowledge of our ancestors and what we have learned in the schools and with the instruments that the development of our own societies gives us, which are the laws, the right and the normative practices of our peoples and the international laws.

And with the pencil and paper, to give continuity to this struggle, to be able to recover what has been ours, what has been recognized and what has been taken from us.  That which is the land and the water.

And for this it is also very important to fight in parallel for better material living conditions for the Yaqui families.

That the living conditions they have be so that they can live as dignified people.

That they be given the opportunity that they deserve, the generations that are currently at play right now, the children that are at play, under the children at play that later will be the struggle for our people at play.

For them, what we do, what we can minimally do, is to want to vindicate ourselves with our right, being congruent with our history and the glorious past of our ancestors.


Vicam Pueblo Water Rights Forum 2012 Photo Brenda Norrell

Article translated and video transcribed by Anayanse Garza in Espanol below.

By Brenda Norrell
Translation by Anayanse Garza
Censored News
June 19, 2021

Watch video interview below.

Tomas Rojo sat serene, as a person who is in the center of where he should be, at the Yaqui Water Rights Forum in Vicam.

On Thursday, a partially covered grave was found, seven miles southeast of Vicam, believed to be that of Tomas. The red neckerchief appears to be the one he was wearing.

Tomas was disappeared during his dawn walk on May 27. Yaqui Water Rights Defender Agustin Valdez was assasinated in May. Yaqui Water Rights Defender Luis Urbano was assassinated in June. All were part of the years of highway blockades at Vicam, in defense of their water rights.

The blockades, in protest of an aqueduct stealing Yaqui River water, stalled semis on a major highway.

We share with you this video interview with Tomas that I recorded while we were at the Yaqui Water Rights Forum in Vicam Pueblo, Sonora, hosted by the Yoeme (Yaqui) Traditional Authority of Vicam, in 2012.
 
Espanol: Conclusion, Foro Internacional del Agua 2012
Conclusion, summary of final statement at the International Forum for the Defense of Water, Vicam Pueblo, hosted by Traditional Authority of Yaqui. Nov. 20-21, 2012. 
By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com

VICAM PUEBLO, Sonora, Mexico -- In solidarity with Zapatistas, Indigenous gathered on Yaqui land in Sonora, south of Arizona and near the coast, to unite in the defense of water. Yaqui are fighting the government of Mexico who wants to seize Yaqui water from the Rio Yaqui for the city of Hermosillo.
Tomás Rojo Valencia, Yaqui, summarizes in this video the final document.
The gathering was hosted by the Traditional Authority of Yaqui at Vicam Pueblo and produced a final document on the defense and respect for water. Speakers also spoke in Yoeme (Yaqui.) O'odham Ofelia Rivas, delegate from the Indigenous National Congress in Mexico, spoke in O'odham.
Photos from the gathering: http://bsnorrell.blogspot.mx/2012/11/yaqui-vicam-pueblo-international.html
Video by Brenda Norrell, Censored News.

Article and video copyright Brenda Norrell, Censored News
Transcribed and translated by Anayanse Garza

My name is Tomás Rojo Valencia. I am a member of the traditional authority of the Basarian peoples.  We have a lifetime of struggle, but specifically in the water issue, we have been fighting for three years. Previously, we have actively participated in the problems that affect our people. As we said a moment ago, in the last 500 years of the Yaqui tribe, like the majority of indigenous peoples, the main element that has always weighed on the conscience of our people and each one of its men, women, children and elders is the struggle for the land and the water.  We will not rest until we connect our objectives and achieve this task that rests in the memory of our elders.  The only thing that we do is to give continuity, under conditions not as severe, for what they fought for.  They fought in the mountains among the stones, among the thorns, among the bush, among the wild animals that were their friends. And today we continue to fight under other conditions, first using the knowledge of our ancestors and what we have learned in the schools and with the instruments that the development of our own societies gives us, which are the laws, the right and the normative practices of our peoples and the international laws.  And with the pencil and paper, to give continuity to this struggle, to be able to recover what has been ours, what has been recognized and what has been taken from us.  That which is the land and the water.  And for this it is also very important to fight in parallel for better material living conditions for the Yaqui families.  That the living conditions they have be so that they can live as dignified people.  That they be given the opportunity that they deserve, the generations that are currently at play right now, the children that are at play, under the children at play that later will be the struggle for our people at play. For them, what we do, what we can minimally do, is to want to vindicate ourselves with our right, being congruent with our history and the glorious past of our ancestors.

------
Sábado, 19 de junio de 2021 
Desaparecido defensor de los derechos del agua Yaqui, Tomás Rojo: Video 2012 

Por Brenda Norrell 
Noticias Censuradas 
19 de junio de 2021 
Traducido por Anayanse Garza

Vea el video de la entrevista a continuación. 

Tomás Rojo se sentó sereno, como una persona que está en el centro de donde debe estar, en el Foro de los Derechos del Agua de los Yaquis en Vicam. 

El jueves encontraron una tumba parcialmente cubierta, a siete millas al sureste de Vicam, la cual se cree que es la de Tomás. El pañuelo rojo parece ser el que llevaba puesto. 

Tomás fue desaparecido durante su caminata al amanecer del 27 de mayo. El defensor de los derechos del agua de los Yaqui, Agustín Valdez, fue asesinado en mayo. El defensor de los derechos del agua Yaqui, Luis Urbano, fue asesinado en junio. Todos fueron parte de los años de bloqueos de carreteras en Vicam, en defensa de sus derechos del agua. 

Los bloqueos, en protesta por un acueducto que robaba el agua del Río Yaqui, paralizaban los semáforos en una carretera principal. 

Compartimos con ustedes esta entrevista en video con Tomás que grabé mientras estábamos en el Foro de los Derechos del Agua de los Yaquis en Vicam Pueblo, Sonora, organizado por la Autoridad Tradicional Yoeme (Yaqui) de Vicam, en 2012. 

Espanol: Conclusion, Foro Internacional del Agua 2012

Conclusión, resumen de la declaración final en el Foro Internacional por la Defensa del Agua, Vicam Pueblo, auspiciado por la Autoridad Tradicional del Yaqui. 20 y 21 de noviembre de 2012

Por Brenda Norrell 
Noticias Censuradas http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com 
Traducido por Anayanse Garza

VICAM PUEBLO, Sonora, México -- En solidaridad con los zapatistas, los indígenas se reunieron en tierras Yaquis en Sonora, al sur de Arizona y cerca de la costa, para unirse en la defensa del agua. Los yaquis están luchando contra el gobierno de México que quiere apoderarse del agua Yaqui del Río Yaqui para la ciudad de Hermosillo. Tomás Rojo Valencia, Yaqui, resume en este vídeo el documento final. El encuentro fue organizado por la Autoridad Tradicional del Yaqui en Vicam Pueblo y produjo un documento final sobre la defensa y el respeto del agua. Los oradores también hablaron en Yoeme (Yaqui). Ofelia Rivas, delegada del Congreso Nacional Indígena de México, habló en O'odham.


Vídeo de Brenda Norrell, Censored News.
Artículo y vídeo con derechos del autor de Brenda Norrell, Censored News
Transcrito y traducido por Anayanse Garza

Mi nombre es Tomás Rojo Valencia. Soy miembro de la autoridad tradicional de los pueblos basarios.  Ya tenemos toda una vida de lucha pero concretamente en el aspecto del agua ya tenemos tres años. Anteriormente hemos participado activamente en la problemática que afecta a nuestro pueblo. Como hace un momento dijimos que dentro de los últimos 500 años de la tribu Yaqui, como la mayoría de los pueblos indígenas, siempre el elemento principal que pese en la conciencia de nuestro pueblo y cada uno de sus hombres, mujeres, niños y ancianos es la lucha por la tierra y el agua.  Nosotros no descansaremos hasta conectar nuestros objetivos y lograr ese cometido que descanse en la memoria de nuestros mayores. Que lo único que hacemos nosotros es darle continuidad, bajo condiciones no tan severas, por las que ellos lucharon.  Ellos lucharon en la sierra entre las piedras,  entre las espinas, entre el monte, entre los animales salvajes que eran sus amigos. Y hoy seguimos luchando bajo otras condiciones, utilizando el conocimiento de primeramente nuestros ancestros y lo que hemos aprendido en las escuelas y con los instrumentos que nos dan el desarrollo de las propias sociedades que son las leyes, derecho y los usos normativos de nuestros pueblos y las leyes internacionales.  Y con el lápiz y el papel para sederle continuidad a esa lucha, para poder recuperar lo que ha sido nuestro, lo que nos han reconocido y lo que nos han despojado.  Lo que es la tierra y el agua.  Y para ello es muy importante también paralelamente luchar por las mejores condiciones de vida materiales de las familias Yaquis.  Que las condiciones de vida que tengan sean para que vivan como gente digna.  Que le den la oportunidad que se merecen las generaciones que horitamente, que actualmente, juega los niños, bajo el juego de los niños, que posteriormente será el juego de la lucha por nuestros pueblos. Esos, lo que hacemos, lo que mínimamente podemos hacer queriendo reivindicarnos con nuestro derecho y siendo congruentes con nuestra historia y el pasado glorioso de nuestros ancestros.


Anayanse Garza


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