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Indians Protest Border Policy

Members of a group called Alianza Indigena say tribes whose lands straddle the U.S.-Mexico border should be allowed to freely cross it.
Indians Protest Border Policy - Oread Daily

Members of a group called Alianza Indigena say tribes whose lands straddle the U.S.-Mexico border should be allowed to freely cross it. The group is backing the Tohono O’odham Nation of Arizona in their struggle to allow members on both sides of the border to intermingle without harassment by US authorities. Indianz quotes Lupe Lopez, "They have always moved across their lands, for ceremony or for speaking or medicine or whatever."

Lopez herself a member of the P'urepecha tribe in Michoacan, Mexico, adds, "These were Indian lands from times immemorial.?

Yet, recently introduced U.S. immigration legislation would actually require O'odham to carry U.S. passports to travel within their own territory.

The Tohono O’odham Nation has staged protests against the border policy that separate tribal members who live in the US from those who live in Mexico. At one such protest they carried signs that read, ''O'odham are not immigrants'' and ''You are now entering a war zone,? and ''Do not accept systematic genocide,'' ''Borders kill'' and ''INS [Immigration and Naturalization Service] get out.''

''We were resisting the destruction of the O'odham way of life on O'odham sacred lands, including animal life, plant life, mountains, water and waterways,'' Ofelia Rivas, Tohono O'odham, told Indian Country Today after a border protest at the entrance to the tribal nation. Rivas is founder of the ''O'odham Voice Against the Wall,'' which is fighting the wall being proposed for the border.

Rivas said the ongoing psychological warfare along the U.S. border has resulted in the high price paid by incarcerated O'odham youths. ''The deaths and the violence on O'odham lands are rooted in dishonor. Confusion and apathy are significant in the destruction and lack of respect for the O'odham way of life and the right to exist as O'odham,'' Rivas said.

Rivas said, ''O'odham cannot step out of their homes to conduct social and ceremonial activities without armed U.S. Border Patrol agents tailgating their vehicles, interrogating their travel agendas, watching their activates by satellite imaging and entering private homes and properties without permission.''

And she should know. Rivas, a grandmother, was herself stopped, handcuffed and roughed up by non Indian police in December on tribal land near the border. She was never charged with any crime.

The Tohono O'odham Nation sent a delegation to Washington earlier this year to object to the border policies. The Albuquerque Journal reports the tribe is proposing legislation to permanently recognize the tribal members who live in Mexico as American citizens. While most of the 24,000-member tribe lives in Arizona along the border, about 1,400 live in Mexico. The legislation would end fears of arrest and deportation, the tribe says.

Meanwhile, Lopez and Alianza Indigena are concerned about those non Tohono O’odham using Indian lands to cross the desert into the US from Mexico. But their take is a bit different than the Minuteman types whose racism and anti-immigrant furor they detest. Lopez and her group rather believe that steps need to be taken so that immigrants crossing the desert on Indian lands aren't dying from dehydration.

Speaking of the vigilante border patrols Lopez told the Fort Wayne Sentinel, "We understand the problem, and the Minutemen are not the way to deal with the problem," she said. "People full of hate and racism are not going to solve the problem."

In fact she helped organize a demonstration last month against the Minutemen. She said her intentions were non-violent - but she stopped well short of condemning the rock and can throwing which reportedly her group participated in. "When there is hatred in the community, things can happen," she said. "The supporters of the Minutemen provoked us. They shouted at us and swore at us, tried to intimidate us. It wasn't like the Minutemen just parked their cars and went inside."

Ada McKnight, a Minuteman Project supporter called Lopez and others, “irrational savages.? Sources: Indian Country Today, Indianz, Fort Wayne News Sentinel, Albuquerque Journal

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Re: Indians Protest Border Policy

Submitted by Ofelia Rivas (O'odham Territory-US/MX) founder of O'odham VOICE Against the WALL.

Greetings friends, This time Lupe Lopez is Crow from a Indian village in California, she was O'odham for a while then she was Mayo-Yaqui, then Apache and Chicano before anything else.

Lupe Lopez is a urban Orange County Chicana is looking for glory and using O'odham issues with the likes Tupacanation to disrupt the true information.

Who are these people I am wondering. Every time the 'true' people gain an inch in the our efforts the likes of Lupe and Tupac come out. Are the hired by the government to further the divide and conquer mentality. They always seem to have the funds to travel, to put on events to spread misinformation. They alien themselves with like-minded people to further their disruption. Is the government paying them to create blocks and to confuse goodhearted supporters. This is clearly evident in the International Indigenous organization, and it is evident in local groups. The likes of these people by their own authority and agendas use conquers tactics to disrupt justice for our people.

The real people, grassroots people, will continue to live our very lives, and seek true help which is NOT just a "Border Project". We are not just looking from a safe distance we are living this every day. We live in conditions of abuse and deaths by the Border Patrol agents advocating for our elders and traditional leaders.

The O'odham VOICE Against the WALL is a authentic O'odham organization working for the rights of the O'odham on Safe Border Crossing and Preservation of our way of life.

The O'odham VOICE Against the WALL hereby calls all organizations to honor the truth by NOT allowing Lupe Lopez and Tupac of Tonaterria to speak on our issues and add our issue to their resumes for their glory.

Re: Indians Protest Border Policy

Greetings! May this note find all of you in good health and in very good spirits - Just for your information this group from Orange County, California is run by Lupe Lopez a non-Indian who is a Chicana and is not an Indian organization. They have copy cat, stolen and duplicated the Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras based in Tucson, Arizona. The Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras was founded in Tohono O'odham Nation territory in 1997 to be an international voice for traditional southern borderland Indigenous Peoples. The Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras is an organization of Indigenous peoples from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border region from Texas, Arizona and California working for the respect and promotion of Indigenous human/civil rights, rights of mobility and passage, border justice and fighting to change immigration and border enforcement policies that have profoundly affected our Indigenous Communities on both sides of the White man's impose border.

The Alianza consists of: Individuals members of the Tohono O'odham Nation, Pascua Yaqui Tribe, Gila River Indian Community, Yavapai Apache. Yaqui, Mayo, and O'odham in Mexico, Cocopah Nation, Kickapoo, an Pai Pai.: twenty individual from nine tribal nations and four Indigenous organizations: Solidaridad Con Los Pueblos Rio Yaqui of Monrovia, CA, El ProyectoRegional de Pueblos Indios-Grupo de Mujeres from Rio Yaqui Sonora, Mexico, Yoemem Tekia Foundation from the Pascua Yaqui Reservation and O'odham in Mexico Traditonal Leaders of San Francisquito, Mexico. Our project have been promoting Indigenous border rights, promoting respect for Indigenous human/civil rights and capacity building through community organizing and education.

Jose Matus, Traditonal Yaqui Ceremonial Leader
Director - Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras
P.O.Box 1286 Tucson, Arizona
jrmatus (at)

I am the Director of the Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras, a member of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and Yaqui Ceremonial Leader.


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