An O'odham Perspective on Border Controls and Immigration

Check the links below to see this article with maps and images. -Rick
 
Alex Soto: Movement Demands Autonomy: An O'odham Perspective on Border Controls and Immigration
This
article has already been distributed in pamphlet form, the few
paragraphs immediately below are a few notes on recent developments.
In
light of the state's new attack of SB 1070 on migrant communities,
OSABC would like to show a perspective and experience that is often
overlooked in the immigration struggle, that being the indigenous
impacts. Indigenous communities have, and still are being attack by the
state (meaning the political entity, also called "government") since
the first migrants, European settlers, arrived to this hemisphere. But
that, we already know. What OSABC would like to express is, WE ARE
STILL HERE. As O'odham, we have seen our lands occupied by three
colonial states (Spain, Mexico, and now the United States), and STILL,
we have endured in the face of colonization. The very land that this
bill was passed on, is still O'odham land! From the Phoenix Valley, to
Scukson (Tucson is from an O'odham word), to Rocky Point, to the Sierra
Madres in Mexico, this is O'odham jewed.
The
passing of SB1070 leads us to the police state, and does not just
affect migrants, it affects us all! SB 1070 like policies already occur
on the Tohono O'odham Nation since the mid-90's with the states push
for immigration enforcement . Border Enforcement that would be a
Berlin-like Wall through our lands to control movement. The current
push for immigration reform by politicians and by reformist activists
includes the push to secure “their” borders which would be the forced
removal and relocations of all indigenous tribes that live in the
border region (Yaqui, Lipan Apache, Mohawk to name a few) . This
dismissal not just shows the colonial attitude that both reformist
activists and politicians have, but also the settler privilege that
they evoke when constructing border policies.
We
need to be asking the why in all this? Immigration Reform to us, means
militarization of our homelands, so we dare to ask the politicians and
reformist activists, how can reform for many, be at the expense of the
original inhabitants of the land? We need to see it for what it is, and
question neo-liberal projects, such as NAFTA, not just put a bandage on
policies that affect everybody! We must challenge both the politicians
and reformist activists that try to pit indigenous and migrant
communities against each other in their “political” solutions ! We are
in this together, and must start at the root of the problem, in this
case from an O'odham perspective.
Movement Demands Autonomy: An O'odham Perspective on Border Controls and Immigration
We
want to express as young O'odham, that we oppose the building and
structure of a wall along the traditional O'odham territory, The
concerns of the villages grow in fear of the on-going tactics that is
plainly disguised as a 'part of the rules of conduct for testing
censors and technology', have now made the Tohono O'odham people
walking targets and criminals in the eyes of the Department of Homeland
Security (DHS) in our own homelands. As O'odham people, we face the
ever growing crucial attacks on Homes, traditional routes, and Identity
as indigenous people . The O'odham voice still goes underminded by
tribal government and the right of passage through our routes have
become a killing field and a battle ground.
------
Department
of Homeland Security (DHS) recent, unprecedented power to waive
existing law along the borders of the United States to construct a
massive Border Wall and implementations of stricter border crossing
regulations, undermines the Tribal Sovereignty, Indigenous Autonomy and
Self-Determination of the many indigenous nations whose ancestral lands
span into Mexico and Canada. The O'odham people, particularly the
Tohono O'odham people, of southern Arizona are one such indigenous
nation once again caught in the middle of the United States Border
Policies. Policies that have disregarded the history, voice and
cultural impacts that any border wall will bring to all indigenous
people whose homeland will be further disconnected by the U.S. push to
establish the 1,951 mile barrier on the U.S./Mexican Border, 75 miles
of which rest on Tohono O'odham Nation southern boundary. In my
introductory analysis, I feel the need to state the history and
connection the O'odham people have with their ancestral lands, Homeland
Security's waiver power on the border and stricter policies and how
such power has lead to the militarization of O'odham Jev'ed (O'odham
lands). DHS power to waive existing laws to ensure the border wall will
have negative implications on all Indigenous Nations whose land is
separated by the U.S./Mexican Border and represents the continuation,
of the colonization of Indigenous people and land in the 21st Century.
O'odham 101
The
O'odham people have called what is now Southern Arizona (U.S.) and
Northern Sonora (Mexico) home long before any lines were drawn on their
traditional territory. The O'odham people and their culture have
flourished in the heat of Sonoran Desert for hundreds and thousands of
years and their ancestors the Huhugahm (also know as the Hohokam)
created a highly complex society like the Anasazi to the north and the
Mogollon to the east. The massive canals that the Huhugahm constructed
are being utilized by Salt River Project (SRP) today and their
influence is found throughout this region. O'odham culture is deeply
rooted throughout this area, which is as far north as the Phoenix
Valley, as far west as the coast of Mexico in what is now Rocky Point,
east as the San Pedro river and as far south as Hermosillo and the
Sierra Madres Mountains.

In
this area, the many different tribes of O'odham learned to live with
the harsh heat of the Sonoran Desert. In pre-Columbus times, the
O'odham never considered themselves as one “O'odham Nation”, but were
centered in local, regional autonomy. But certain areas did have common
traits that made them more distinguished. The O'odham who lived in the
area of the Gila River and Salt River, are known as the Akimel O'odham
(People of the River), for the O'odham south of this area, they are
known as the Tohono O'odham (People of the Desert), and for the O'odham
who live west of them, along the coast line, they are known as the
Hia-Ced O'odham (People of the Sand).

Each
different tribe had its own unique connection and history with the
regions that they lived in, but all shared a common way of life,
traditions and language. Prior to European contact, the different
tribes communicated and traded with each other. Each band of O'odham
was familiar with each other and would come together for numerous
reasons (i.e. Religious, farming, war, etc.). The O'odham would freely
travel throughout their traditional lands and were unaware of the
events that were happening south of them in Central Mexico with the
arrival of the Spanish.
Colonization
The
Spanish crossed O'odham land in the mid 1500's. The Spanish
Conquistadors were in search of gold, but did not find any riches on
their travels throughout what is now the southwest of the United
States. But their travels did usher in Spanish missionaries who wanted
to bring “god and civilization” to the Indians. Catholic Missionaries
established missions throughout traditional Tohono O'odham lands. The
missions were part of the Spanish's “soft power” tactics to colonize
the O'odham to Spanish Culture. Tactics that would be that of hard
labor, indoctrination of Catholic beliefs and regulation to areas in
closed proximity of the missions. Contrary to most O'odham historians
though, this “soft power” was not effective and only lured few O'odham
to the Spanish way of life. But the Spanish misinterpretations of
O'odham seasonal movement, which is mostly cited by historians as
acceptance to Spanish Culture, is questionable when looked into more
closely. The Spanish took advantage to seasonal migrations to wetter
areas, areas for example being the San Xaiver Mission or Magdalena. The
O'odham move to wetter areas was interpreted as a acceptance to the
Spanish way of life but for the most part, a great number of Tohono
O'odham rejected the harsh practices of the Spanish, and in many cases
rebelled. In 1695, 1751, 1756 and 1776, major rebellions occurred, in
which the Tohono O'odham expelled the Spanish entirely and in most
cases, burned their missions down. In some instances, the O'odham would
form alliances with the Apaches in the east which is interesting being
that for most part, the two were enemies. These rebellions were just as
large and effective as the Pueblo Rebellions going on at the same time.
These rebellions temporarily expelled the Spanish Military from O'odham
lands and prevented the Spanish from gaining a tight hold in the region
which lead to their missions not being built any farther north than
what is now Tucson and kept Akimel O'odham lands free of any permanent
Spanish presence.
Mexico then Washington

After
the Spanish lost its hold in the Americas with Mexico establishing its
independence in 1821, the Mexican government would impose its colonial
control over the O'odham. The newly founded Mexican government
interaction was few compared to the Spanish. The more secular Mexican
Government did not continue the Missionary system and shut down the
last one in 1842. In 1846, the Mexican-American War started over
territorial expansion, which leads to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
in 1848. This placed the U.S./Mexican border at Gila River but this
border was still being negotiated by both governments. The Akimel
O'odham and Tohono O'ohdam were never consulted in these negotiations
and were not of any importance in the colonial governments decision to
where the international border would be drawn. Soon after this border
was expanded to where it is today by Colonel James Gadsden who
negotiated on behalf of the U.S., by purchasing it for 10 million
dollars. This purchase, known as the Gadsden Purchase, placed the
international line through the center of traditional Tohono O'odham
land. The O'odham were also not consulted and are not even mention
within the purchase.
The colonial attitude of
Manifest Destiny was in full effect and embodied by James Gadsden,
whose previous interaction with Indigenous people was his campaign of
removal of the Seminoles. Gadsden previous history before becoming the
Minster of Mexico was that of the railroad business, which at the time
held enormous power in U.S. Politics. One of the main reasons the U.S.
purchased the land was to make way for the transcontinental railroad, a
point I like to state because it shows the U.S.'s total disregard to
the many people that this border would impact then, but only seen the
economic impacts it would bring. Basically the border was established
to ensure capital, a similarity that will continue in the decades to
come.
The
O'odham, unaware of the decisions that were being made by Washington,
continue their way of life relatively unaffected by the establishment
of the southern border for the rest of the 1800's. They still traveled
freely back and forth between the border for traditional ceremonies and
to see family. The O'odham were slow to learn that the United States
now claimed hold to their land north of the border. In the years after
the Civil War, more Anglo-American citizens enter traditional O'odham
lands. From this point, the O'odham faced the same racist attitudes and
injustices that other indigenous people faced with the U.S. Government
and its citizens up to the present (land loss, persecution of
traditional religion, boarding schools, assimilation policies,
establishment of BIA imposed tribal governments to name a few).
For
the O'odham that now resided on the U.S. Side, the loss of land was
intermediate. Reservations were established, and for the first time in
their history, permanent borders and diversions were established around
them to make way for the many Anglo-American that were now settling
their lands. The Akimel O'odham were placed in two reservations, the
Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and the Gila River Indian
Community. The Tohono O'odhams were bunched in the Papago Reservation
(which in 1984 changed to the Tohono O'odham Nation). Ak-Chin Indian
Community was established for the Tohono O'odham and Akimel O'odham who
lived together by their traditional boundaries. The Tohono O'odham in
Mexico have no reservation and fend for themselves, from Mexican
settlers to this day and the Hia-ched O'odham whose land was mostly in
Mexico, lost all of their land on both sides and have no title to their
lands like their O'odham relatives in the north.
The
colonization of O'odham lands impacted the O'odham people's connection
to the different bands of the O'odham such as the Akimel O'odham's
relationship to their relatives in the south. But for the Tohono
O'odham, the international line did not cut their ties to the land.
Enforcement of the border was few, and pillars of the line did not mark
the land as they do now. Besides chicken wire barriers to stop cattle
crossing, there were no signs of any border. The establishment of the
U.S. Border Patrol in 1924 did not affect them at all. Religious
practices that take place on both sides of the border still took place
such as the pilgrimage to Ma:lina (Magdalena). The O'odham in Mexico
would still travel to the U.S. side for medical needs in the tribal
capital of Sells, to buy goods and to see family. The O'odham in the
U.S. crossed southwards to do the same as well.
The
Tohono O'odham up to this point did not have any problems with their
rights as indigenous people to cross the border. The Tohono O'odham
faced the many assaults on their land, and negative impacts that
colonization imposed on their culture, that indigenous people around
the world also faced. This colonization process did lead to the O'odham
settlements in Mexico to be reduced from 45, to 9 and lead to a
limitation of traditional crossings to be recognized by the U.S. Only
till the mid 1990's with Immigration becoming a issue for most of
America did the O'odham begin to see their inherit rights attacked by
the still, colonial government of the United States.
Operation Colonization: Immigration Policy and the O'odham
In
this time, border polices were being formulated once again without
their O'odham input. Clinton era policies such as Operation Gatekeeper
in San Diego, CA, Operation Hold The Line in El Paso, TX and Operation
Safeguard in Nogales, AZ were conducted by the U.S. Border Patrol. The
aim of these operations was to crack down on illegal crossing through
major cities and force migrants to go through the more barren lands
along the border, one such area being the 75 mile region of the Tohono
O'odham Nation lands. Another policy change was the Border Patrol now
shifted its attention away from interior approach and now focused on
the Border itself. With the influx of migrants now crossing the Tohono
O'odham Nation lands, the Tohono O'odham tribal enrolled members slowly
felt the impact of Border Patrol Agents entering their lands. But just
as previous Border Policies, the O'odham people were never considered
and consulted.
Congress mandated that Border
Patrol secure the borders and enabled their jurisdiction to override
local, state and tribal jurisdiction. Agents would now patrol the
sovereign nation of Tohono O'odham, with or without the permission from
the Tohono O'odham Nation tribal government (TON).
I
like to note, TON is the BIA recognized governing body of the Tohono
O'odham people , that was established by the Indian Recognition Act of
1934 (IRA). Since its conception, the legitimacy of this body has been
called into question by the the traditional people of the community.
Many Traditional O'odham and parts of the community feel that TON
decisions do not speak for the community as a whole. Congresses border
mandates would now reflect such disconnect with TON and “its” members.
TON lack of effort to enforce sovereignty, or realization that they
don't really have any sovereign rights under IRA would would soon come
to light with the O'odham peoples struggle to maintain autonomy in its
everyday affairs. The split between TON and the traditional O'odham is
not new, but would sadly play out in the struggles to come. True
sovereignty over Tohono O'odham lands would not allow the many negative
policies to come.
But regardless of
sovereignty, or lack of it, Congresses approvals of evaluated
enforcement greatly attacked the Tohono O'odham people's autonomy of
free movement and right to culture. Indigenous people along the border
were feeling the effects of Congress's Plenary Power to impose its
jurisdiction over their BIA tribal nation government and their inherit
autonomy of as indigenous people.
All of T.O. Nation lies in West Desert Corridor
Accounts
of Border Patrol harassment started to be voiced and citizenship issues
brought to life. Large numbers of the TON enrolled members were not
born in hospitals and did not have valid birth certificates, if any.
This confusion lead to the TON issuing Tribal ID cards to the 25,000
Tohono O'odham in the U.S. and to the estimated 2,000 in Mexico. This
tribal ID acted as their passport. Their Akimel O'odham relatives also
utilized their tribal ID as a passport. But the wave of migrants
crossing through reservation land grew throughout the late 90's and
early 2000's lead more Border Agents to enter Tohono O'odham lands.
Also, along with migrates crossing reservation land, established and
dangerous Human and Drug smuggling rings beginning to utilize
traditional crossing along the border. Border Agents were not well
trained about the O'odham people and their culture, which lead to many
accounts of racial profiling and human rights violations when crossing
on their reservation or when crossing the borders as they did before,
to see family and participate in traditional gatherings.
Department of “American” Security
“In
the words of the United States Supreme Court, Indian tribes “predate”
the United States. We are older than the international boundary with
Mexico and had no role in creating the border. But our land is now cut
in half, with O’odham communities, sacred sites, salt pilgrimage
routes, and families divided. We did not cross the 75 miles of border
within our reservation lands. The border crossed us. And the border
comes at a price.”i
-Tohono O'odham Chairman Ned Norris
In
wake of 9/11, the United States push to secure the borders greatly
evaluated more so than any time previously mentioned. At this time,
Border Patrol was moved to the newly established Department of Homeland
Secretary (DHS). Under DHS, the TON would soon feel Congresses Plenary
Power, imposed on them all in the name of national security. The Tohono
O'odham would now face more harassment when crossing back and forth
between the border, by the need to secure the border from “terrorists”
and “illegal immigrants”. The TON, under pressure from DHS , partnered
with Border Patrol to slow down the amount of illegal immigration
activity to much dismay from the Tohono O'odham people. Tribal
Governments decision to support alternative strategies to the wall,
such as the construction of vehicle barriers, checkpoints and
integrated camera-radar systems open the door for the Federal
Government to undermine Tribal Sovereignty and attack the people's
autonomy to exist as O'odham. The TON's willingness to work with DHS
was desired by TON, hoping that such cooperation would prevent any
Border Wall to be constructed on their lands. But just as their history
shows, the concerns of the O'odham would not be heard and appeared to
be ignored by the United States to established “its” border. Even
though the TON decided to “work” with the Federal Government on the
“Border Issue”, the TON publicly denounced a physical wall to cross
their ancestral lands.
But the aftermath of
9/11 would now put TON sovereign rights to not allow any wall,
secondary to the bigger national emergency. The fear of another 9/11
gave the Federal Government an excuse to invade Indigenous land under
the guise of security, and with the flux of immigration growing, along
with huge anti-immigrant sentiment growing throughout the country, the
O'odham voice would be marginalized out of the debate. The REAL ID Act
of 2005 and the Secure the Fence Act of 2006 would reflect the
marginalization of that voice because these acts implemented many
security related mandates, one being the securing of the U.S. Borders
with a physical wall. This display of Plenary Power and the executive
branches mechanism to apply it (DHS) would give the Federal Government
the excuse to now invade Indigenous land all in the name of national
security.
It’s interesting to note, that the
REAL ID Act and the Secure the Fence Act were passed without the TON
and the many other Border tribes being consulted by Congress. This lack
of consideration follows in stride with this country's lack of regard
for Indigenous peoples who have never been consulted since the border
was “created” on their lands.
Regardless of
the obvious colonial nature, these Acts gave DHS the authority to waive
all pre-existing laws under Section 102 of the REAL ID act, along the
northern and southern border to implement the Secure the Fence Act.
This clause gave DHS the power to “legally” acquire land from private
owners, State and Federal Parks and tribal nations whose land rested on
the border. This act was immediately attacked and on October 8th, 2007
not by any tribal government, but by the environmental organization,
Defenders of Wildlife, who sued to stop the border wall from being
built in the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (SPRNCA) in
Arizona, until environmental impacts studies were completed as required
by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). On October
10th 2007, the Federal Court motioned a temporary restraining order to
halt DHS from any construction. But on October 26, 2007, DHS Secretary
Michael Chertoff waived NEPA and nineteen other laws to begin
construction in SPRNCA. Secretary Chertoff put Section 102 of the REAL
ID into effect, and cited that as his authority to begin construction.
Soon after, Defenders of Wildlife and Sierra Club filed a complaint in
the District Court of the District of Colombia. They claimed that the
Secretary and DHS act was unconstitutional because of his power to pick
and choose what laws to follow in construction of the border wall. This
was soon dismissed by the District Court in December 2007 and which
lead the plaintiffs to file a Writ of Certiorari petition to the
Supreme Court.
In this petition, more
plaintiffs joined the suit, one being the TON. Unfortunately, this
petition was dismissed in June 2008 and the lower courts decision to
allow Secretary Chertoff and DHS the right to waive all statutes was
now the law of the land. In the Writ of Certiorari petition, T.O.
Nation did cite that DHS power to waive The Native American Graves
Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), The American Indian Religious
Freedom Act and The Eagle Protection Act would greatly have negative
impacts on O'odham Culture and undermine their sovereignty of TON.
Unfortunately, Congress's prior legislated commitment to protect
Indigenous people in this country took backseat to the need to secure
the border in the wake of 9/11. In the petition, other non-indigenous
citizens all along the border also addressed their concerns and cited
the injustice that DHS authority would bring to their communities. The
displacement that DHS would cause with the construction of any border
barrier is huge, but the precedent that enables them to do so is even
huger. The parties that joined the Defender of Wildlife suit understood
the implications that would come if the lower court decision was not
reversed. But for the Tohono O'odham people, it showed the U.S.
continuation of colonial polices. The outcome of the SPRNCA decision
did not affect O'odham lands, but as their concerns in this suit
addressed, it open the door for DHS to invade their land because as the
petition was in the judicial system, DHS was already applying its power
to the border region on TON and traditional O'odham lands.
Militarization
Those Who Are Gone..the Huhugahm
In
the time that Writ of Certiorari was working its way in the court
system, DHS used their waiver power on traditional Hia-Ched O'odham
land, that now lies in Barry M. Goldwater Range to start border wall
construction, and to expand the he El Camino de Diablo, a recreational
off-vehicle route. Their Subcontractor, Boeing Company did not need to
perform archaeological surveys, which lead to two known Huhugahm sites
to be damaged and unearthed. These account for the eleven identified
Huhugham sites that lie in the path of the border wall, on or off the
reservation. Since NAGPRA can be waived, the proper care of these sites
is not maintained. Many in the community voice their concern of such
abuse of power may lead to Huhugham and O'odham remains to be funneled
outside the community. The remains unearth by Boeing were later
returned to tribal members but the absolute disregard by DHS to enact
their waiver powers to dismiss NAGPRA shows the impacts that any future
use would cause. The physical wall would just be one attack on O'odham
people and land but the impacts to “those who have gone” would bring
catastrophic damage to the O'odham universe.
Checkpoints and Virtual Wall
TON
initial “cooperation” with DHS to establish vehicle barriers,
checkpoints and integrated camera-radar systems on their lands has lead
to a escalation in these measures. Border Checkpoints have now become
permanent, and become a point of surveillance where O'odham of any
tribal government affiliation are harassed. In many cases, Border
Agents violate traditional items in search/seize procedures.
Surveillance technology, such as radio towers have been constructed on
and off the reservation in DHS “Virtual Wall”. Traditional ports of
entry and the immediate border area are a complete militarized zone.
Enhance Tribal IDs
Along
with NAGPRA and the virtual wall, the O'odham right to cross the line
for traditional ceremonies became even stricter. Usually, such
traditional practices of religion would be protected by The American
Indian Religious Freedom Act, but since such participation spans
border, O'odham were required to show proper paperwork to freely move
back and forth between the border. Up to this point, Tohono O'odham
people, on both sides used the tribal government ID that was issued in
the mid 90's. But since that ID was also distributed to Tohono O'odham
and Hia-Ched O'odham in Mexico, DHS declared the Tohono O'odham ID not
able to prove citizenship, therefore not a valid ID to cross back into
the United States. Along with the Tohono O'odham ID, the O'odham in the
north; Gila River, Salt River and Ak-Chin tribal nations were told
their tribal government ID was no longer valid. The O'odham in the
north who still ventured to the south for traditional gatherings were
now caught in a position where DHS only recognized the TON as a border
tribe, not realizing their relatives share a connection and inherit
rights just as the Tohono O'odham people do to their ancestral lands in
Mexico. DHS colonial attitude labeled the O'odham not enrolled in the
TON as completely different tribes. The dismissal of tribal ID's is
another clear example of tribal sovereignty being infringed on by DHS,
and how TON supposed sovereign rights, such as a tribal ID, can be
easily waive by Congresses Plenary Powers.
DHS
did set a deadline, June 1st, 2009 as the date that all American
citizens needed a passport and mark the last day any tribal ID would be
recognized as a valid form of proof of citizenship. But the border
tribes who use their tribal ID as a passport were able to extend that
deadline till they can met DHS new federal requirements listed in the
Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). In WHTI, it requires that
any ID card or passport to be RFID ready . So in November 2009, TON
announced that it enter into “agreement” with DHS to produce their new
“enhanced” tribal ID which will be RFID ready.
Apartheid in America
Border Patrol Spy Cameras
DHS's
push to militarized our lands, and tribal government's cooperation in
doing so not just shows how tribal sovereignty in the border region
does not really exist, but shows how the voice and concerns of the
O'odham people have been disregarded by both federally backed
institutions. Regardless of how you see the immigration issue, the
O'odham are stuck in policies that have been created not by them, but
by the bigger ever-existing colonial system where borders are
established to maintain capital flow. The U.S.'s objectives in its war
with Mexico and James Gadsden purchase in the 1800's are no different
to what the U.S. Border policies is today, to ensure capital at expense
of indigenous displacement. If people were informed about the history
of the border, and why it was established, it would then put today's
struggle in perspective.
The O'odham people
are now in the shadows of the North American Free Trade Agreement
(NAFTA), which leads to the bigger struggle of globalization. I feel,
the basic principals of these policies and the history of its
oppression to the many other indigenous nations worldwide , must be
told to show the colonial nature that each embodies. The O'odham people
must be informed of “why” migrants cross and “why” O'odham land is now
a corridor for migration and drug smuggling . If TON took a broader
approach with the immigration issue, it would not be a issue of
migration, but a issue of globalization. TON is in a unique position to
publicly critique these issue, but decides not to due to the colonial
framework of tribal nations and the United States (ward/guardian
relationship).
The Defenders of Wildlife v.
Chertoff case reflects the importance that the U.S. holds in their
global economic agenda of globalization by justifying the Border Walls
in their courts, and the expense of the displacement of all people. It
shows that justice in our lands will not come from the courts because
they represent the colonial power. The same arguments that the courts
offered in the Marshall Trilogy that stated they have no choice to rule
the way they did because the policies of the United States mandated
them to do so, is just as alive today. National Security is the guise
today. But for the O'odham, it has ushered in a apartheid-like tribal
nation, where tribal government operates in a confined colonial system
which offers only colonial solutions to the many migrants who journey
to this country for survival.
In conclusion, I
felt the need to provide the history of the O'odham and the Border was
important because it shows the continuation of colonization and puts
the struggle in perspective for people who are unaware of the O'odham.
In my travels, as a Tohono O'odham, I find myself meeting many who have
no idea of our connection to our traditional land. This connection has
long been under attacked since the days of the Spanish, and the United
States endorsement of globalization policies is now attacking our
O'odham Him'dag. The need to understand the Defenders of Wildlife v.
Chertoff case is important because it shows the politics of the
colonial rule. Politics that put the O'odham voice behind their
security and capital. Militarization now is the state of my lands, and
judicial system is not the answer. I wrote this to educate my fellow
O'odham, and those who stand in solidarity with us, so we can construct
ideas thats may, or may not work in their system. Hopefully, this
understanding of the issue will lead to a bigger debate. Not just the
same colonial one that is offered by them.
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