Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

January 13, 2022

O'odham Ophelia Rivas: Celebrating the Life of Jeff Hendricks

By Ophelia Rivas
Censored News

To my friends and supporters,

Today is the first anniversary of honorable warrior, Jeff Hendricks of O’odham Solidarity Project.

Today is our letting go ceremony day, we have mourned our friend for this past year.

Today we celebrate our memories of Jeff in conversations, many walks and many friends. A very humbling experience with Jeff when he came to my house driving from California to O’odham lands on a mission to climb on the sacred mountain and overnight there. All I could give him was a walking stick to help him up the mountain. He did not have to tell me why he was making his journey he understood well what the mountain is. I asked him to take many photos of the mountain 7,730 feet view of O’odham lands.

I recall in 2005, Resistant Culture, a metal punk band from San Pedro, California invited me to speak on O’odham Rights and Militarization of O’odham Lands during one of their shows. In a large venue overfilled with punk and metal young people, sitting at a merchandise table waiting for a break in their set to go on stage, I met Jeff. He was very quiet and respectful. Jeff was interested in helping our grassroots group O’odham VOICE Against the WALL by creating a website to build support. The next 6 years he visited O’odham lands several times to meet the group of Elders to understand our work on O’odham Rights which include cultural rights and transnational border crossing rights and Human Rights which are defined by national and global legal documents. The grassroots organization has been supported by the efforts of Jeff for 16 years.

His deep respect and unique character of honor Jeff was respected by the O’odham Elders. Jeff walked many miles with us to show support and solidarity to both the youth and Elder group. Written words were one of his great gifts to O’odham VOICE Against the WALL as he organized and wrote many words on paper for us. We have many memories of him that will stay a lifetime.

Today we Thank You and Honor your life Jeff and let you go. Much Love and Respect.

Thank you, parents of Jeff, Carol and John.

Ophelia Rivas of O'odham VOICE Against the WALL
New website:
In Dignified Solidarity
P.O. Box 1835
Sells, Arizona 85634

Article and photo copyright Ophelia Rivas.

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