Tuesday, December 23, 2008
NATIONAL TELEPHONIC PRESS CONFERENCE--LIPAN APACHE WOMEN DEFENSE DELIVER LETTER TO OBAMA-TRANSITION TEAM
PRESS CONFERENCE PANEL:
Dr. Eloisa Garcia Tamez
Diana Valenzuela (Jumano-Apache)
Daniel Castro Romero, Jr. (Lipan Apache)
Jose Matus (Yaqui)
Michael Paul Hill (Chiricahua Apache)
Chris Scherer, Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law
Denise Gilman, University of Texas Law Working Group--Texas-Mexico Border Wall
Jeff Wilson,University of Texas Law Working Group--Texas-Mexico Border Wall
Arnoldo Garcia, National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
Monday, December 22, 2008
YES, YOU CAN JOIN EFFORTS TO PRIORITIZE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES & PRINCIPLES! SIGN-ON OUR LETTER TO PRES.-ELECT OBAMA
EMAIL MARGO TAMEZ AT email@example.com to join!
SIGNATORIES on LETTER TO PRESIDENT-ELECT OBAMA
INTERIOR DEPARTMENT TRANSITION TEAM
Dr. Eloisa García Támez, Lipan Apache, Associate Professor, Department of Nursing, University of Texas Brownsville and Texas Southmost College; Co-Founder Lipan Apache Women Defense, El Calaboz Ranchería, TX
Margo Tamez, Lipan Apache, Jumano-Apache, Co-Founder Lipan Apache Women Defense, WA; PhD Candidate, American Studies, Washington State University, Pullman, WA
Carmelita (Tamez) Lamb and Family, Lipan Apache, Jumano-Apache, Bottineau, North Dakota
M. ReBeca (Tamez) Drury and Family, Lipan Apache, Jumano-Apache, San Antonio, TX
Daniel Castro Romero, Jr., Lipan Apache, Chairman, Lipan Apache Band of Texas, Inc., TX. Official Representative of 745 Members
Michael Paul Hill, Nnee’ (Chiricahua Apache), San Carlos Apache Tribe, Staff, Lipan Apache Women Defense, AZ
Enrique Madrid, Jumano-Apache, Council Member, Jumano-
Apache Tribe of Texas, ( El Polvo) Redford, TX
Adelina Carrasco Whitecrow, Jumano-Apache, Community Leader & Elder, (El Polvo) Redford, TX
Roberto Lujan, Jumano-Apache, Council Member, Jumano-Apache Tribe of Texas, Presidio-Redford, TX
John Wood, Cameron County Commission, Commissioner—Precinct 2, Brownsville, TX
Andrea Carmen, Yaqui, Executive Director, International Indian Treaty Council, AK
Tia Oros, Zuni, Executive Director, Seventh Generation Fund, Arcata, CA
Petuuche Gilbert, Indigenous World Association, United Nations NGO
Teresa Leal, Ópata-Mayo, Proyecto Comadres Ambos Nogales, Sonora, Mexico
Peter Schey, Founder and Director, Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, Los Angeles,CA
Jose Matus, Yaqui, Director, Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras/Indigenous Alliance Without Borders, AZ
Lori Riddle, Akimel O’odham, Co-Founder, Gila River Alliance for a Clean Environment, Bapchule, Gila River Indian Community, AZ
E. Elizabeth Garcia, Director, Coalition of Amigos in Solidarity & Action (CASA), TX
Reverend Michael Seifert, Proyecto Digna, Inc., Brownsville, TX
Juanita Valdez-Cox, Executive Director, La Union del Pueblo Entero (LUPE), TX
Graciela Sanchez, Director, Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, San Antonio, TX
Gloria A. Ramirez, Editor, La Voz de Esperanza, San Antonio, TX
Bill Guerra Addington, Sierra Blanca Legal Defense, Sierra Blanca, TX
James C. Harrington, Director, Texas Civil Rights Project, TX
Ann W. Cass, Executive Director, Proyecto Azteca, San Juan, TX
Benigno Pena, South Texas Immigration Council Inc., Brownsville, Texas
Alejandro Siller-González, MACC, San Juan Diego Project, Immigrants and Migrant Farmworkers /Inmigrantes y Campesinos Migrantes, San Antonio, TX
Kriss Worthington,Council Member, Berkeley City Council, Berkeley, CA
Arnoldo Garcia, National Network for Immigrant & Refugee Rights, CA
Pedro Rios, Director – US/Mexico Border Program, American Friends Service Committee, San Diego CA
Bradley Angel, Co-Founder and Executive Director Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice, San Francisco, CA
Mark Sanchez, President, San Francisco Board of Education, San Francisco, CA
April Cotte, Co-Founder, El Polvo Women’s Network, Redford, TX
Kamala Platt, The Meadowlark Center, KS
Noemi Lujan Perez, Raramuri, Chief Information Architect, Desert Runner, LLC, Washington, D.C.
Kirk L. Smith, MD, PhD, Frontera de Salud, Galveston, TX
Bill Chandler, MIRA! Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance
Paul "Pablo" A. Martinez, Apache, NM State Director, New Mexico LULAC Organization, Las Cruces, NM
Fabiola Torralba, Buena Gente y Nepantlera, Espereranza Peace and Justice Center, San Antonio, TX
Lupita De La Paz, El Comité Cultural Del Pueblo,Inc. Del Rio, Texas
Morning Star Gali, Citizen of the Pit River Nation, Community Liaison Coordinator, International Indian Treaty Council
TONATIERRA, Phoenix, AZ
Mary Ann Tenuto Sanchez, Chiapas Support Committee
United Native Americans, Inc., Turtle Island
Adrienne Evans, Co-Founder, No Wall - Big Bend Coalition
Angelique Eagle Woman (Wambdi A. WasteWin), Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota Oyate, James E. Rogers Fellow in American Indian Law, Associate Professor, University of Idaho College of Law, ID
Pablo Padilla Jr., Zuni, Attorney, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Jeff Wilson, Assistant Professor, Environmental Science, University of Texas-Brownsville, University of Texas Law Working Group (Texas-Mexico Border Wall), Brownsville, TX
Aurora Vasquez, Senior Attorney, Advancement Project, Washington, D.C.
Tom I. Romero, II J.D., Ph.D. Associate Professor, Hamline University School of Law
Diana Webster, Minnesota Ojibwe White Earth, Attorney at Law, Redondo Beach, CA
Monica Schurtman, Associate Professor and Clinic Supervisor, University of Idaho College of Law, Idaho
Jeffrey P. Shepherd, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of History, University of Texas at El Paso, TX
Cynthia L. Bejarano, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, New Mexico State University, NM
Amy Kastely, Board Member, Esperanza Peace and Justice Center and Law Professor, St. Mary's University, San Antonio, TX
J. Kehaulani Kauanui, Kanaka Maoli/Native Hawaiian, Associate Professor American Studies and Anthropology, Wesleyan University, CT
Victoria Bomberry, Muscogee Nation, Assistant Professor, Department of Ethnic Studies, University of California, Riverside, CA
Dr. Gail Perez, Ethnic Studies, Professor University of San Diego, San Diego, CA
Emmy Perez, Assistant Professor, Department of English, University of Texas-Pan American, TX
Linda Zuniga-Heidenreich, Chair and Associate Professor, Women’s Studies Department, Washington State University, Pullman, WA
Martha Bárcenas, Pitzer College (Professor/Language and Culture Lab Director), Claremont, CA
Madeline Newman Rios, Ríos Translations, Claremont CA
Dorinda Moreno, Fuerza Mundial/Elders of 4 Colors 4 Directions, Santa Maria, CA
Jeanne Chadwick, Cherokee, Publisher/Editor My Two Beads Worth~Indigenous News
Ken Koym, Indigenous R & D Institute & A Maya Artifacts Museum Exchange Program, Austin, TX
Enrique Morones, Border Angels, San Diego CA
T.V. Reed, Buchanan Distinguished Professor American Studies and English, Washington State University, Pullman, WA
Joni Adamson, Associate Professor, Environmental Humanities, Arizona State University,Mesa, AZ
Vicente M. Diaz, Associate Professor and Director, Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies, Program in American Culture, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Erik Tamez-Hrabovsky & Children: Hawk Mendoza (14), Milpa de Otoño Mendoza (13), Maura Sun Tamez (9), Aria Mikassandra Reina Mundo Yellow-Basket-Weaver Tamez-Hrabovsky (5), Lipan Apache, Jumano-Apache ,Pullman, WA
Rosie Molano Blount, Chiricahua Apache, Del Rio, Texas and Pecos, Texas
Lucille Contreras and Children, Beto Chacon, JoseKuautli Contreras Maestas, LuzTlanezi Contreras Maestas, Jesus Tekuani Contreras Maestas, Lipan Apache Band of Texas—Azteca, Flatonia, TX
Emil LaRocque, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, Tribal Scholarship Director, Turtle Mountain Community College/Chippewa Rancher, North Dakota
Yvonne 'Little Fawn' Oakes, Mohawk Nation
Richard Oakes Jr., Mohawk Nation
Leonard Oakes, Mohawk Nation Akwasasne, St. Regis, Canada
Pura Fe Crescioni, Tuscarora Nation of North Carolina
Looking Back Woman, Suzanne Dupree, Minneconjou Lakota, Cheyenne River Agency, Eagle Butte, SD
Bettina Escauriza, Oakland, CA
Abner Burnett, Attorney (Civil Rights), Rio Grande Valley, TX
Isabel Sanchez, San Antonio, TX
Lupita Santana, Pharr, TX
Phillip H. Duran, New Mexico
Jacqueline White, RN, PhD, Tucson, AZ
Erika Gisela Abad, Chicago, Illinois
Ryan Tauber, Educator, Brownsville Independent School District, and Member of Coalition of Amigos in Solidarity & Action (CASA), Brownsville, TX
Yajaira Fuentes-Tauber, Brownsville Independent School District, and Member of Coalition of Amigos in Solidarity & Action (CASA), Brownsville, TX
Judy Meuth, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Women's Studies, Washington State University, Pullman, WA
Cesar Alejandro (Filmmaker), President, Alexandria Films, El Paso, TX
Iram and Molly Verduzco, Austin, TX
Joe and Jane Krause, Pax Christi, Brownsville, TX
Sandra Cisneros, Author, San Antonio, TX
Yolanda Moreno, A Resource In Serving Equality (ARISE), Rio Grande Valley, TX
Sanjuanita Martinez, Rio Grande Valley, TX
Esperanza Berrones, Pharr, TX
Maria Esparza, Rio Grande Valley, TX
Hortencia Medina, Rio Grande Valley, TX
Gary James, Ontario, Canada
Teresa Kurtzhall, Elk, Washington State
Braulio Carvajal Veloz, Esperanza Peace & Justice Center, San Antonio, TX
Lila Maes, The Marigold Project, San Francisco, CA
Juan N. Reza, California
Xoxi Nayapiltzin, Yolihua, Alpine, Tx
Francisco Solis Garcia, Jr., Lower Rio Grande Valley, TX
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Letter to Robert Anderson, Interior Department Transition Team Co-Chair, from Lipan Apache Women Defense
Co-Chair, Interior Department Transition Team
Director University of Washington School of Law
Native American Law Center
Cc: Keith Harper
Team Lead, Interior Department Transition Team
Kilpatrick Stockton LLP
607 14th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005-2018
Dagotee' Robert Anderson,
At this time, on behalf of my mother, Dr. Eloisa Garcia Tamez, Indigenous peoples, and impacted land owners of El Calaboz Rancheria, and in coordination with our allied communities throughout the hemisphere, we are handing to you an important document which articulates the prayers, vision and requests from traditional elders, women, families, veterans, and workers of the Texas-Mexico bordered lands.
Since I last spoke to you, an enormous effort has gone into the preparation of this document, encompassing the voices of a vast binational, international network of grass-roots communities, legal advisors, NGO's, non-profit organizations, and key Indigenous leaders along the U.S.-Mexico bordered lands
We are entrusting you with this historical document in the hopes that you will safekeep and deliver our message to the Interior Department Transition Team and to President-Elect Obama.
Attached is our letter addressed to to the President-Elect, care of yourself, and copied to Keith Harper.
Lipan Apache Women Defense
LETTER TO OBAMA TRANSITION TEAM (ENGLISH)
LETTER TO OBAMA TRANSITION TEAM (SPANISH)
ALL MEDIA ADVISORY (20DEC08)
LIPAN APACHE BAND OF TEXAS--SUPPORT LETTER
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Texas landowners win small victory on border fence
By CHRISTOPHER SHERMAN Associated Press Writer © 2008 The Associated Press
Dec. 18, 2008, 6:24PM
McALLEN, Texas — Dozens of South Texas landowners whose land is being condemned for the border fence scored a victory when a federal judge ordered that juries will decide the value of their property rather than an appointed land commission as the government had requested.
U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen set the stage for a series of trials to begin in March with his order signed Wednesday. While the trials will be restricted to determining how much the government pays landowners for the property, it gives Texas landowners their first opportunity to take an issue related to the border fence before a jury.
"I'm proud of him, he's doing his job," Eloisa Tamez, a landowner facing condemnation near Brownsville, said Thursday. "To have this kind of news before the holidays is like a Christmas gift for me."
The federal government has filed more than 300 condemnation lawsuits against South Texas landowners to make way for portions of the 670 miles of fencing it is building along the U.S.-Mexico border. So far about 500 miles is up, but it has been slow going in the Rio Grande Valley, where opposition is widespread.
Federal prosecutors had argued that the number of jury trials would swamp the courts, result in uneven payments and be extremely complex. A panel of land experts appointed by the court would be a more efficient option and more fair since it would be difficult to find enough unbiased jurors in an area where the fence has been a hot-button issue for months, the government said.
But Hanen, based in Brownsville, sided with landowners, 28 of whom are set for trial next year and all requested juries. The U.S. Attorney's Office did not immediately return a call for comment.
"This court is a firm believer in the jury system and the ability of everyday citizens to set aside their personal beliefs, biases and prejudcies to decide cases solely on the evidence presented within the context of a court's instructions," Hanen wrote in his order.
Hanen also cast doubt on the government's claim that about 80 cases will eventually need juries to determine land values. He suggested that even among the 28 cases scheduled for trial so far, similar parcels could be clustered in groups of three to be heard by the same jury. Most property owners settled with the government out of court.
The condemnations range from a quarter acre to more than 12 acres, but in many cases those are just slivers taken from tracts covering hundreds of acres north of the Rio Grande. Land commissions are generally believed to award lower compensation than juries, eminent domain attorneys say.
Each case will offer its own complexities, from calculating the impact on hunting leases to the value of the land left in the no-man's land between the fence and the river.
Kimberli Loessin, an attorney representing some of the landowners, wrote in an e-mail, "Landowners are pleased and believe that Judge Hanen did the right thing."
El Calaboz, Lower Rio Grande Valley, TX
December 18, 2009A year ago… the hostile enforcement policies of the US DHS/Secure Border Initiative against ancient border communities came to the foreground in landmark struggles on the Texas-Mexico border. The construction of the border wall through the middle of ancient, Rio Grande communities, forced Eloisa Garcia Tamez, (Lipan Apache), and community elders of El Calaboz Rancheria, as well as numerous poor Native land owners along the Rio Grande to stop the U.S. DHS from taking the community’s lands, ancient burials, archaeological resources, botanical and medicinal riparian zones, and their pastoral ways of life dependent upon cattle, grazing rights, water rights and Indigenous Peoples’ communal lifeways. The conflict raised constitutional, civil, and human rights in the face of intensified government force to pressure the community in numeros ways to surrender their lands.
Along the way… a robust independent media, and grass-roots network exposed deep corruption among local elites, scandal, and repressive government regimes managing the dispossession of the region’s poor Indigenous Peoples and persons along the Rio Grande's banks.
One year later…approximately eighty landowners continue to litigate their ancestral and communal land claims along the Texas-Mexico border. Success is measured in Chertoff's failures to wall in the resisting communities. Their firm resistances--based in living their daily lives and developing new strategies borrowed from older generations, from coalitions with like-minded grass roots Indigneous persons and groups; and working with allied media, law, grassroots, NGO's, nonprofits, faith-based communities, immigrant rights communities has enlarged the capacity of the prayer. Resistance and ceremony take on new meanings as the struggle continues.
Faith v. Greed...The new layer of corruption, beyond 'holes in the wall', is 'rigged jury system' and 'corrupt appraiser racket', whereby the U.S. and local industry leaders have attempted to shut out any possibility of a fair jury trial for litigants. 'Not on my shift', is fundamentally the message issued from Judge Hanen, in a ruling yesterday. Empaneled jurors will prevail, at least, as long as the resistance to oppressive government and industries continues.
Some of the land claims, such as Eloisa Garcia Tamez’, pre-date the United States as a sovereign nation, and are directly connected to Lipan Apache (Nde') peoples' struggles against forced colonization and dispossession by Spain, Texas, Mexico and the U.S. The Indigenous Peoples rights to exist as self-determining communities is gaining traction, in a region with a history of slavery, Jim Crow, hacendado culture, and harsh repression. In the face of increasing public criticism of the border wall, and claims of human rights violations before the Inter-American Commission/OAS, Indigenous Peoples are reframing and redefining the border wall conflict. We are organizing our networks around a framework of ‘Indigenous Peoples & Principles.’
Friday, December 12, 2008
On December 11, 2007, my mother Eloisa Garcia Tamez, called me to tell me that she had received a vision, an answer to her prayers for help from the Holy Mother to stop the construction of the border wall and the United States use of colonial instruments to steal Indigenous lands and to quash Indigenous resistance: Eminent Domain, Condemnation Proceedings, Declaration of Taking and Just War... She received instructions to go to the people, be unafraid, tell the truth, defend the people, and have faith. My mother followed the instructions...
[photo: Arnoldo Garcia]
Traditionally, the women of our culture pray to the Holy Mother. The Spanish Catholics converted the Apache of the Lower Rio Grande in the colonization process, and the Holy Mother of All Nde' (Apache People) who is Naiiess Isdzanaklesh, eventually became collapsed into the Guadalupe, the Virgin who gave birth to the Child of Water--Monster Slayer, or in the Catholic tradition, 'Jesus.'
In the U.S.-Mexico border region, Indigenous elders, grandmothers, mothers, daughters, and the men who support them, continue to live out the ancient rituals and Nde' beliefs 'under-the-cover' of state-approved religions. In the Lower Rio Grande, the religious practice of Catholicism is Indigenized.
A year ago, my mother called me to joyously announce that the Holy Mother came to her and told her that my mother must go to the local parish priest on December 12, at San Ignatius church, in the sister Rancheria of El Ranchito, down the road. The Holy Mother told my mother that she must pray, be strong, and that she must tell the people that they must unite and join in the fight against the injustice of the border wall. She commanded my mother to tell the parish elders and community that they must all join and go to the march in Brownsville, and to take the message of the people to the government, who were staging deception in corporate-contracted and controlled 'meetings.'
This all came to pass, and is documented now throughout our communities, and the internet, how an elder woman from El Calaboz confronted the U.S. DHS at the "community meeting", and exposed the scandalous corruption of the U.S., and its 'Chiefs'--war contractors.
In the process, an Indigenous restoration movement gained strength in our communities. For decades, Nde' in the Lower Rio Grande struggled for rights to our culture and way of life. This year, we witnessed the miracle of our ancient traditions emerge from the shadows and under-cover, to the open light. The Holy Woman/Mother Naiiees Isdzanaklesh (White Painted Woman) ceremony returned to our people in the open, and the ancient and the current converged in our resistance movement.
Please join us in taking a moment today to pause, reflect and to pray for the elders who are going to churches, sweat lodges, teepees, and to earth and water today, throughout the Americas. We stand firm on the rights of our Indigenous people to send the prayers and thoughts of peace and justice on the wings of Eagles, up to the Creator.
Join us in our celebration of a strong year helping in the efforts of many who are uniting our Indigneous people communities throughout the border, December 12, 2008, and celebrate the ongoing resistance and disruption of the Texas-Mexico border wall, from El Calaboz Rancheria!
Join and support Indigenous Women's Tribal Law, Lands and Life. We need all of your support.
PLEASE MAKE a financial contribution to the LIPAN APACHE WOMEN DEFENSE FOR 2009! USE THE PAY-PAL BUTTON. AHE'YE'E'
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
(Film still: Kieren Fitzgerald)
(Photo: Margo Tamez)
(Photo: Austin American Statesman)
Yuma, Arizona News Reveals Suspicion, Napolitano Could Send More Troops to Border
Indigneous Nde' people of the Lower Rio Grande Valley are threatened by increased militarization of our home communities, rancherias, farmlands, stock areas, water, riparian wetlands, and sacred sites.
Nde' and other indigenous communities of the rancherias along the Rio Grande, who uphold traditional indigneous teachings of sacred lifeways which respect and honor Life, stand firm on denouncing further hostile encroachments upon our traditional ways of life and cultures.
Nde' teachings come from our foreparents and our contemporary elders who are leading the resistance against a Berlin-style steel-concrete wall through indigenous traditional sacred lands. We ask all Nde' people and our friends and allies throughout the region to stand firm against further militarization of our region. Peace cannot come through armed force and aggression. Local Nde' elders, children, women and men, indigenous workers, and our communities will be first impacted by increased armed uniformed soldiering in our communities.
The elders and families of the Lower Rio Grande Valley currently endure one of the harshest, violating and lawbreaking militarized operations in North America, as evidenced in the numerous layers of armed guards policing the unarmed, noncombatant civilian population. These layers of soldiering are comprised of the U.S. Customs Border Patrol, U.S. Army National Guard, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. D.H.S., local police, Texas Highway Patrol, Texas Rangers, paramilitaries, and private security personnel, among others. The U.S. Department of Defense, North Command (NorthCom) Task Force directs the training of all armed units in the region, as part of the tripartite U.S. global military campaigns: 'war on terror', 'war on drugs', and 'war on illegal immigration.'
NEWS KSWT, YUMA, ARIZONA reports early warnings that Janet Napolitano, if confirmed as Secretary of the United States Department of Homeland Security, may initiate a secondary "Operation Jump Start."
The following is excerpted from a news report from Yuma, Arizona
"Would Napolitano Send Troops Back to the Border?
Governor Janet Napolitano is gearing up for confirmation to the post of Homeland Security Chief. If approved, would she send troops back to the U.S.- Mexico border? A job with the Obama administration would come six months after the Bush adminstration denied Napolitano's request for further help at the border.
The governor's office refused to comment on any decisions that may come after Napolitano's confirmation, but in a June 12th interview, Napolitano expressed concerns over the National Guard's departure from the border.
"We've made progress at the border," she said in that interview. "But things that were supposed to happen while the National Guard was here: the completion of some of the fencing, the staffing up of the Border Patrol, the virtual fence, the technology, you know, has been slower than you said."
The Yuma Sector Border Patrol says the Guard was very helpful. During the deployment, the agency nearly doubled its staff, adding about 400 agents.
"Our recruitment team has been very active holding job fairs throughout our area of operation which includes eastern Arizona, parts of Nevada and Kansas. So we've gone out there and attended colleges. We've gone to job fairs," says Agent Laura Boston. "We now have fencing covering almost all 125 linear miles of Yuma Sector. It's not always fencing but some type of tactical infrastructure."
The proposed virtual fence remains at a stand-still as officials struggle to optimize the technology. It's hard to tell right now whether Arizona could see a second Operation Jump Start."
Monday, December 1, 2008
Border Fence Documentary to be Shown This Week At Two Locations in the Lower Rio Grande Valley
Date?: Thursday 12/4/8
Where?: Galleria 409 ( 409 E. 13th St. ) in Brownsville
Time?: 6 pm
Where?: South Texas College mid- Valley campus in Weslaco, (Auditorium, Bldg G190)
Friday, November 28, 2008
12 Methods Used to Deny 'Lipan Apache' Genocide in Texas and to Regulate Nde' Struggles to the Normative Discourse of 'the Past' & 'Extinction'
Read; Read; Read;
Consider critical analysis for further consideration of indigenous self-determination movements, settler colonialism, Nde' struggles for self-recognition, self-governance and self-determination.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
(These photos are from the Naiiees Ceremony. Tamez Family and Nde' Photos and are Not for Distribution Without Express Consent from the Family Members, Thank you!).
I send you all a prayer and a wish for your unending grace, growth, empowerment, loving paths, kindnesses, and safety today. I suddenly felt a huge wave of inspiration, which I think came from seeing the immense power of the will of human beings coming together to dismantle the wall in Berlin. Suddenly, quite fast, this feeling rose to the top of me, literally from my toes to the top of my head! And, then, this poured out of me. I hope this will explain a little of how I feel about the wall, and why I work everyday, in some way, to stop the wall's construction in our lands, the Nde' people aboriginal to the Lower Rio Grande. Thank you for letting me share with you. Be blessed today in all you do.
Nde' Mothers Voices Against the Wall
Ussn, Bringer of Life, I thank you,
Creator, please hear the prayers of our mothers and grandmothers,
our fathers and grandfathers,
our children and grandchildren at this time...
Ussn, please hear the voices of the ancestors ...
whose footprints, handprints, prayers, struggles and love
spread across the lands like morning mist
I ask you Ussn, for your help,
in a serious way, I ask for your help
The mothers tell us in their words, worries, and sadness
We must destroy this wall of death
Ussn, I believe the voices and the wisdom of the mothers
for their severe worries show me that the taproot of this wall
brings to pass upon our people immeasurable destruction
and that this wall of steel and cement
is against the very core of the teachings
of my ancestors of
the Garcia, Cavazos, Esparza, Montalvo, Galvan, Rodriguez, Tamez... clans
who taught us that we are here for the community, not self, and
we are to simply honor all forms of Life, provided to us as a sacred gift.
Ussn, Bringer of Life,
Hear my prayer...
the wall encroaches upon my soul and displaces light
leaving only shadow and misery inside my heart,
and this is the illness of the wall...
spreading bad thoughts, bad words, bad actions, fear, distrust, anger
like projectiles of destruction deployed upon our people's minds, bodies and spirits
I see everyday the shadow and misery of this wall
already pressing down, like a soldier's boot, upon the necks of our children
extinguishing the children's breaths, extinguishing any possible future
as free, and indigenous and humans
what we call Nde' ~ the Real People.
This is the wall,
and here is what the elders say
came before the wall.
Hear the voice of resistance
bitter wails of ancestors engulfing my lungs
their impatient howls bursting out my throat
rattling the chains of trauma & memory and the old ones say
"Enough!!", their cries
blasting through the numbness
like tiny shrapnels of lightning
the ancestors come out like that---hard, real, no more time for waiting.
The wall's path
follows other paths of hate upon our ancestors...
whose mangled and mutilated bodies
lay un recognized and un eulogized and under grounded
in Starr county, Hidalgo conty, Cameron county...
We remember, we remember
We are the daughters who our mothers
nursed and teethed on the daily rations
of witnessing our elders as survivors of war in our own lands
The elders of these lands say...
in the Lower Rio Grande,
the wall is being built
the indigenous children of the 19th century
hunted down by soldiers and militias
the small children and women
who could not escape the blunt end of the rifle
cracking their skulls
and the ones who got away
their minds incised with the terror of those screams
the indigenous mothers in 1910-1916
forcibly removed from their huts, gardens and medicines
who begged for mercy from the settlers before they starved
in a land abundant with wildlife, mesquite, mescal---they were starved
their gasping voices laid over by farmlands, cotton, cement ...
the newer forms of slavery
the indigenous grandmothers of 1935
who fought the soldiers against the construction of the levee
on the day my mother was born
and who screamed to the soldiers
to stop the impending deaths of their sisters and children
who would be flooded out on the other side
the destruciton of women's collective corn fields
the destruction of fertile topsoils tended carefully over generations
the indigenous youth and adults in 1937-1965 sent off to wars, and to labor camps
in the fields of the new lords
to blend and to bend among the multitudes of imported 'laborers'
under the guns and barbwire open-air fortress of South Texas
human bodies reduced to mere 'energy'
as if calculating batteries
the indigenous grandparents from these lands
enduring and enduring
toiling like mere 'units' not 'People' or 'Humans'
in their own lands
for food, for shelter, for wages...
the indigenous of the Lower Rio Grande in 2008
our memories, histories, languages, experiences---resilience!
refusing to be buried and the evidence of the violence
once again hidden beneath a wall of death
Hear me! Ussn! Hear me! An Nde' Woman,
Let this voice be heard for the People!
I won't surrender our history
I won't surrender our ancestors
I won't surrender our language
I won't surrender our territories
I won't surrender the medicine
I won't surrender the children
I won't surrender the parents
I won't surrender the elders
I won't surrender the memories
I won't give up the traditions
I won't give up the songs
I won't give up the future
Because I am the daughter of Life
Because I am the daughter of Naiiees Isdzaneklesh
Because I am the daughter of the Lightning People
Because I am the daughter of the Nde'
I am a daughter of the resurging Nde' Nation
My roots are in El Calaboz Rancheria
the place of my mother's birth
Where the elders gave her lightning ceremony
Where she went into the world to Slay the Monsters
With the Elders Smiling Behind Her
With the Elders Smiling Behind Her
Where the Wall of Death
Stopped in the Path
of the Bringer of Life
The place where the People Fight for Life from the Belly of Mother
From small holes in the ground
the indigenous fight the monsters
From small holes in the ground
the indigenous cannot be seen, and yet can see and feel
the rumblings of the enemies from far away...
Ahe'he'e Ussn --thank you Bringer of Life
Ahe'he'e Diyin --thank you Holy People
Ahe'he'e Shimaa Lepaiie --thank you mother clan
Ahe'he'e Shitaa Lepaiie --thank you father clan
November 7, 2008
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Evictions and Condemnations for the Poor and Brown, Special Status for Historical Slave Owner Property Owners
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Valley Morning Star: U.S. DHS Makes Unusual Single Concession on Border Wall for Old Nye Plantation Property
Border fence OK, but not in my houseComments 0 | 0
BROWNSVILLE - Dorothy Irwin is one of the Border Patrol's staunchest local supporters and was a fan of the proposed border fence - until she found out it would run right through her house.
But on Friday, the federal government made a major concession to help Irwin save her land.
It has been an awkward situation for Irwin, 68, as she balances her belief that a fence is needed to secure the U.S.-Mexico border with her need to protect the 19th-century plantation that her grandparents moved onto more than 80 years ago.
She says the government is right to build the fence, but wrong to seize private property as much as two miles inland from the Rio Grande, destroying the homes of the very people it set out to protect.
The case of the Old Nye Plantation has been discussed at levels as high as Washington, D.C., among U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials, but is now back in the hands of U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen in Brownsville.
"This is the first situation we've had where someone said, 'Hey, this fence is coming through my house,"' Hanen said two weeks ago when he ordered Irwin and the Department of Homeland Security to come up with a compromise.
On Friday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Hu told Hanen they might have a plan.
In a major concession to a single landowner, the federal government has proposed building a massive concrete retaining wall into the river side of the levee that skirts the south side of Irwin's singlestory white wooden house and several brick buildings that date back to 1885 on the 600-acre farm. The design will allow Irwin to still see the distant tree lines and the hundreds of acres that run down to the Rio Grande.
Without the compromise, an 18-foot fence would have been built on the north side of the levee, nearly abutting Irwin's house, and the patrol road would have run right through the middle of Irwin's home. Two-thirds of her farm will be behind the fence, accessible only through locked gates from the United States, but open to those crossing the river from Mexico.
"Obviously we don't want a fence there at all," said Irwin's attorney Kimberli Loessin, but she conceded the government was accommodating her client's primary concern.
While the cost has not been set for the compromise plan, similar barriers under construction in neighboring Hidalgo County have run upward of $8 million per mile, or about four times the cost of regular fence sections.
Cameron County, whose leaders have vocally opposed the fence, has sought a similar concession unsuccessfully for months. After Friday's hearing, Irwin hugged three Border Patrol agents.
"It's important for residents and the Border Patrol to work together," Irwin said later. "If Border Patrol has to fight the residents and the bad guys all the time, how's it going to protect us?"
At a gathering of similarly affected neighbors earlier this summer, Irwin began her prepared remarks by stating her strong support for Border Patrol and its mission.
"We have done our best to work with the Border Patrol, we think very highly of all our agents and our continual desire is to fully support to the best of our ability these men and women who protect our front line and the communities along the border," Irwin said.
But while saying she believed in the need for the fence - a structure widely opposed along the 1,900-mile Texas-Mexico border - she questioned the need to build it as far as two miles from the border. Irwin said the federal government was "thoughtlessly handing land from the levee to the river over to Mexico, illegals and/or wildlife."
U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which is overseeing the project, had said the fence had to be built on the north side of the levee to avoid diverting the flow of floodwaters and breaking international treaties with Mexico. The agency has stuck to this argument in many cases, but in others, has made concessions like a removable fence in the floodplain.
Some details remain for Irwin to hammer out with the government on their compromise, but Hu said the International Boundary and Water Commission has given an expedited technical approval for the plan.
Both sides are scheduled to return to court Nov. 20.
As of Oct. 22, the government had built 216 miles of pedestrian fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border and 154 miles of vehicle barriers. Congress had called for 670 miles of barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border to be completed by the end of the year. More recently Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has said having all the fence sections under contract by the end of the year is more likely.
Of the 110 miles of fence planned for Texas, only 3.3 miles are complete, according to Customs and Border Protection.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Feds deliver domain notices
Comments 4 | Recommend 1
October 30, 2008 - 10:35 PM
By Kevin Sieff, The Brownsville Herald
Moving forward with its plans to construct a border fence in the Rio Grande Valley, the federal government has filed land condemnation lawsuits involving nine Cameron County properties whose owners are unknown, deceased or unresponsive.
In South Texas, where land deeds are often convoluted or outdated, it's a vital formality before construction on the barrier can begin.
"We're moving forward with our real estate proceedings," said Angela de Rocha, spokeswoman for the U.S Department of Homeland Security.
In cases of unknown ownership, the government must run an advertisement in local newspapers, informing the public of pending lawsuits. The two-page advertisement ran in Thursday's Brownsville Herald, detailing several swaths of property throughout the county.
As of Sept. 10, 97 landowners in the Valley had refused to sell their property to the federal government, according to a Government Accountability Office report. DHS officials say they've continued resolving cases, but they've encountered a number of convoluted deeds.
Judge Andrew Hanen will hear seven land condemnation lawsuits this morning - a fraction of the remaining cases.
After receiving its appropriation request from Congress, the DHS is continuing with its plans to complete the fence in the coming months. But with so many pending condemnation lawsuits - and no sign of construction in Cameron County - the government's initial Dec. 31 deadline appears increasingly unrealistic.
Notes on Border Walls and Cultural Exchange: From conversations with Wendy Kenin - by Clare Kinberg, Editor, Bridges Journal, A Jewish Feminist Journal
Here's the link to the press release–
" During another hearing, the Commission received troubling information about the impact that the construction of a wall in Texas, along the U.S.-Mexico border, has on the human rights of area residents, in particular its discriminatory effects. The information received indicates that its construction would disproportionally affect people who are poor, with a low level of education, and generally of Mexican descent, as well as indigenous communities on both sides of the border."
En otra audiencia la Comisión recibió información preocupante sobre el impacto que la construcción de un muro en Texas a lo largo de la frontera entre Estados Unidos y México tiene sobre los derechos humanos de los habitantes de la zona y, en particular, su efecto discriminatorio. La información recibida indica que su construcción afectará desproporcionadamente a personas pobres, con menor nivel educativo y generalmente de origen mexicano, así como a las comunidades indígenas que viven en ambos lados de la frontera."
Thursday, October 23, 2008
TEXAS-MEXICO BORDER WALL HEARING AT THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION--ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES. UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS WORKING GROUP AND RAPOPORT CENTER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND JUSTICE (SEE BRIEFING PAPERS).
Sunday, October 12, 2008
On the Cavazos-Garcia land in El Calaboz Rancheria, the ground is frequently rifled with bullets and shotgun shells. One need not walk but a few feet from the levee to see the shells and casings in plain site. There are more of these along my mother's land and her portion of the levee than on the lands on either side of her's. She has been the most vocal and publically outspoken against oppression, racism, and violence. The border wall is but one of the numerous 'events' which the people of El Calaboz have endured.
Since the arrival of the Europeans, our families have lived for centuries propelled into conflicts and tension with settler societies. Settler immigrant groups from other continents arrived in several waves since the late 1400's. They have contributed many harsh memories to the indigenous people's oral history of life, and death, along the Lower Rio Grande.
In addition to deprivations and depredations the indigenous suffered under Jose Escandon and Spanish-Basque settler hacendado regimes, Cameron County would continue to be an epi-center for pogroms, ethnic cleansing and genocide. Between 1910-1915 nearly 5,000 indigenous people were lynched, burned alive, dismembered, decapitated, and sexually assaulted by the "South Texas Machine." Many of our ancestors--men, women and children--lost their lives at the hands of para-military forces mechanized and supported by the regions' elites--the white-ethnic ranching families, whose colonizing ancestors had dispossessed earlier generations of Apaches and other indigneous peoples. History repeated itself with a new immigrant-white group of Southern Creed cotton industrial capitalists. In South Texas, the system's prey are our ancestors, and our living and breathing and very much alive families-- the indigneous people of this region.
The unexamined 'customary' privilege of the mainstream culture of South Texas, which glorifies the use of armed violence also sustains the myth of "Texas" masculinity as a celebrated icon of white settler identity. This social construct empowers a system of structural violence, privileging an elite few, and has bloody consequences for Native American people of the Lower Rio Grande. Like our foremothers and forefathers who were victims of white xenophobia and the ranching class systems--we have not 'vanished', nor have we been 'conquered.' However, those of us who have stayed on our lands--under Texas private property laws--have done so with increasing threats to our lives and livelihoods. The border wall is yet one more pogrom, ethnic cleansing and genocidal policy against Native American people on both sides of its proposed perimeter.
Removing the cobwebs and rust off of the so-call buried histories of the genocidal past gives us opportunities to see reflections and understandings of the current situations we face under the threat of tyrannical government. Uncovering the bloody histories upon which the wealthy agriculture and ranching elites in South Texas is founded allows a critical space for Native American survivor communities to speak, be heard and claim political and social spaces.
Tragically, indigenous communities along the Lower Rio Grande have become enmeshed in numerous forms of colonial violence used as tools to keep subordinated groups under the control of colonial systems and in perpetual dependency. De-Colonial history recover is necessary in order to publically confront the ghosts and demons of our collective histories, and to recover public spaces for commitments to truth and healing.
These bullet casings pepper the ground and levee, in El Calaboz all the way up to Redford, Texas, where I filled yet another ziplock bag full.
I fill gallon-size, zip-lock bags of shot-gun shells and bullets all along my grandfathers', great grandmothers', great aunts', and great great grandfathers, and great great great grandfathers...... and on and on and on and on... our home, our lands.
This is the archaeology of contemporary Lipan Apache women, the archaeology that documents and archives the negative impacts and consequences of the gun culture. The current generations confronting these issues sometimes must take on the past terror and its evidences in order to re-fuel and re-mobilize productive work of dismantling structural oppression --for all people in South Texas, where we live, and where we will live on and on.
October 12, 2008
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, The University of Texas, School of Law
The University of Texas Law Working Group and the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice recently announced that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights /Organization of American States has granted a hearing in response to the legal briefs submitted on behalf of indigenous, farming, ranching, individual land owners, and ecological life systems negatively impacted by Texas-Mexico Border Wall.
"Obstructing Human Rights: The Texas-Mexico Border Wall"
Margo Tamez, co-Founder Lipan Apache Women Defense-Strength, will be present at the hearing in Washington D.C. in support of this effort. She will provide a brief statement and will be available for questions by the Commission.
What is the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights/Organization of American States?Excerpted from the IACHR/OAS Website:
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, (IACHR) is one of two bodies in the inter-American system for the promotion and protection of human rights. The Commission has its headquarters in Washington, D.C. The other human rights body is the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which is located in San José, Costa Rica.
The IACHR is an autonomous organ of the Organization of American States (OAS). Its mandate is found in the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The IACHR represents all of the member States of the OAS. It has seven members who act independently, without representing any particular country. The members of the IACHR are elected by the General Assembly of the OAS.
The IACHR is a permanent body which meets in ordinary and special sessions several times a year. The Executive Secretariat of the IACHR carries out the tasks delegated to it by the IACHR and provides legal and administrative support to the IACHR as it carries out its work.
[...]The Commission may decide to take the case to the Inter-American Court. If it wishes to take the case to the Court, it must do so within three months from the date in which it transmits its initial report to the State concerned. The initial report of the Commission will be attached to the application to the Court. The Commission will appear in all proceedings before the Court.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Texas Civil Rights Project to Honor Border Wall Activist Dr. Eloisa G. Taméz at 18th Annual Bill of...
Sep 26 (2 days ago)
TCRP to Honor Border Wall Activist
Dr. Eloisa G. Taméz
at 18th Annual Bill of Rights Dinner
This year the Texas Civil Rights Project proudly honors Dr. Eloisa G. Taméz with the Henry B. González Award.
Dr. Taméz is currently a nursing director at the University of Texas at Brownsville. She lives in El Calaboz on three acres that are the remnant of a 12,000-acre land grant to her ancestors in 1747 by the King of Spain. Dr. Taméz is a co-founder of the Lipan Apache Women Defense/Strength to protect sacred sites, burial grounds, archaeological resources, ecological bio-diversity, and way of life of the indigenous people of the Lower Rio Grande, North America.
At the age of 15, Eloisa Garcia Taméz led the rancheria of El Calaboz in de-segregation of public schools in Cameron County.
In 2007 she was the first landowner to stand up against the Department of Homeland Security's plan to put an 18-foot steel and concrete wall through her backyard. The non-continuous wall, planned to be built along 700 miles of the Mexican border, bypasses the wealthy and politically connected.
Dr. Taméz's legal battle against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Michael Chertoff to stop the construction of the Mexico-U.S. border wall is documented in the constitutional rights case, U.S. Department Homeland Security, U.S. Army Corps Engineers and U.S. Customs Border Patrol v. Eloisa Garcia Taméz.
In a January 2008 profile of Dr. Taméz and her struggle with Homeland Security, CNN asked her how long she will fight. "As long as I have to," she said.
The TCRP 18th Annual Bill of Rights Dinner will be held on Friday, October 3rd, at the University of Texas Alumni Center. (reception at 6:30 pm; dinner at 7:30 pm).
Famed U.S. attorney and professor, Sarah Weddington, will serve as master of ceremonies. Actress and activist, Vinie Burrows, will receive the the Michael Tigar Center Human Rights Award. Political cartoonist, Ben Sargent will be presented with the Molly Ivins "Give em' Hell" Award.
The Pat Dobbs Civil Rights Student Leader Award will be presented to the winner of this year's high school student competition.
The Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP) promotes racial, social, and economic justice through education and litigation. TCRP strives to foster equality, secure justice, ensure diversity, and strengthen communities. TCRP has offices in El Paso, San Juan (in the Rio Grande Valley), Austin, and Odessa.
The anniversary dinner honors the time, commitment, and dedication of the civil rights community, and celebrates the Bill of Rights to the United States and Texas Constitutions. This event helps TCRP to raise funds to support its work for poor and low-income Texans.
For sponsorship and further information, please contact Susan Harry at 512-542-9744 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support Civil Rights and the Arts in Texas:
Order your Tickets Today!
Your Tax-Deductible Gift Will Help to Keep
TCRP Active in the Most Needed Places
Texas Civil Rights Project
Monday, September 15, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Berkeley NO WALL! Reception for Apache Activists Fighting U.S. DHS in the MX-US Border Wall Conflict.
Click on image (left) to enlarge and get the details of the event.
Monday, August 18, 2008
SEPTEMBER 19, 20, 21
EL CALABOZ, CAMERON COUNTY, TEXAS
HOSTED BY ELOISA GARCIA TAMEZ (LIPAN APACHE), AT THE TAMEZ LAND IN EL CALABOZ RANCHERIA
A Gathering among people of this Land. We continue opposing the Border Wall by proclaiming our land. Join us in this exciting event co-sponsored by The Children of the Earth Foundation and Coalition of Amigos in Solidarity & Action, CASA.
This will be an event for the entire family, a unique opportunity to learn about mother earth, Indigenous cultures (Lipan Apache, Azteca-Chichimeca), outdoor survival skills, and much more!
For more info, please contact Ryan at 203-6801 or Elizabeth at 459-3205.
CLICK ON 'REGISTER' FOR REGISTRATION FORM AND MORE INFORMATION
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
HURRICANE DOLLY--HUMAN RIGHTS AND U.S. FRAUD, WASTE & ABUSE-- FEMA and DHS Cause Further Harm in Lower Rio Grande Against Indigenous Peoples
Fax: (202) 254-4292
Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC 20528
Attn: Office of Inspector General, Hotline
Office of the Inspector General
False Damage Claims: 1 (800) 323-8603
July 30, 2008
Dear Inspector General:
At this time I am submitting a testimony from my community members, the lineal descendent Lebaiye' T'nde' (Lipan Apache) people who are the aboriginal land title holders to territories of South Texas, the Rio Grande River and into northern Mexico. Currently, my family members reside in numerous counties of South Texas which have been horribly and negatively impacted by the ongoing flooding and infrastructural calamities in Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr and other affected counties.
Reports from my mother, Dr. Eloisa Garcia Tamez (Lipan Apache) and other community members, as well as reports from local news reports, compel me to file an official complaint regarding the human rights, civil rights, and indigenous rights abuses occuring at this very moment against colonias, rancherias, unincorporated and incorporated communities all along the Rio Grande.
Many of the communities are undergoing great losses and tragedy, including loss of homes, livelihoods, livestock, crops, and who are currently still without the most fundamental needs to sustain life, i.e. potable water, food, medical supplies and medical attention. Elders, children, the working class poor people of the Rio Grande river front communities are the hardest hit in this ongoing devastation.
My mother and others have reported eye witness accounts of seeing D.H.S. sitting by idly, merely offering electrical fans at the local gas station, as a remedy for folks who do not have electricity, nor food, water, and are wading in a filthy infested stew of both animal and human waste and decomposition.
There are reports that helicopters of the Border Patrol and Army National Guard merely patrol over the border--but do not render aid to those who are in the most isolated and most hard-hit areas. Local news reports that there are countless colonias and rancherias of the poorest of the working classes who have still to be dealt with at all. Their physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual needs are being neglected in this horrendous human disaster. They have yet to see a speck of government, military, NGO, faith-based, or or communitarian aid to alleviate this calamity.
My mother and others are strongly critiquing the LACK of FEMA's presence in rendering immediate and assertive aid to our poorest river front communities. Many of these communities are direct lineal descendents of the aboriginal people of this region--they are the land owners, who have legal title to live and to enjoy their freedoms on their own lands. They also have the civil rights and human rights of all other U.S. citizens in similarly declared disaster areas.
Finally, this testimony is a complaint against the Department of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, President George W. Bush, and the infrastructure which supports their offices due to the fact that local land owners in Hidalgo County reported yesterday that INSPITE of this calamitous disaster which has brought South Texas counties, cities, and the International Water Boundary Commission and Mexico to its knees---that DHS has begun to build the unpopular border wall once again.
This is a sign of a tyrannical, cold and vampire-like government which instead of utilizing public resources towards rendering aid to the local governments and people, it is exploiting the local systems, institutions and populations at their greatest moment of vulnerability and humanitarian need.
I see DHS/Michael Chertoff and President George W. Bush as the primary perpetrators of heinous crimes against humanity, human rights abuse, indigenous rights abuses against my Lipan Apache people, my ancestors, our sacred sites, our ecological and biological resources, our mineral resources, and our water resources with their aggression against us up to the present moment, in regards to their focus on the increased militarization and imprisonment of our people and lands in the border wall project.
Currently, at this dark hour, as my people, our lands, our sacred sites, and all the plant and animal relatives are suffering due to an aggressive, institutionally racist policy of laissez-faire towards Native Americans, Mexican-descent peoples, and border communities, I see DHS/Michael Chertoff and President George W. Bush as perpetrators who are currently committing crimes against humanity and genocide against the Lipan Apache people of South Texas, other indigenous communities in South Texas, and Mexican-descent persons and communities living along the Rio Grande on the U.S. and Mexico side of this calamity. It has not gone unnoticed by the local communities how intensely the nation-states moved to protect their corporate investments--hotels, resorts, oil platforms, airforce jets and planes, and other 'vital' assets of the United States and its companies. At the same time, we have noted how deficiently and minimally the nation-states have responded to the humanitarian needs of the majority of the aboriginal land owners and original title land owners (with Spanish Land Grant and Treaty land ownership claims) in the region.
This is my testimony, from my heart and from the oral testimonies shared with me by my family members undergoing psychological terror due to the fact that they have to witness this further erosion of democracy and justice in the United States under the iron-fist of an unpopular government which clearly demonstrates they rule against citizens and take up hostile policies to further our demise.
Let it be known among you that the Lipan Apache Women's Defense/Strength stands for the indigenous people and all oppressed groups on the Mexico-U.S. international border which violently dissects our natural traditional territories, a border which was aggressed against us without our free and prior informed consent--in the past and continued into the present moment.
Friday, June 20, 2008
The full text of the briefing papers are available at:
Get the Full Story
Saturday, May 31, 2008
hard work, prayers, tears, sweat, and commitment to the border indigenous peoples' struggles against U.S. policies of violence.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Pérez: There's still time for Valley residents to testify against border wall
By Steve Taylor
Rio Grande Valley landowner Betty Perez (center) testified against the border wall at a congressional field hearing in Brownsville on April 28. (Photo: RGG/Steve Taylor)
BROWNSVILLE, May 3 - A rancher and farm owner who testified against the border wall at last Monday’s congressional hearing in Brownsville says there is still time for other Rio Grande Valley residents to have their say.
“Written testimonies can now be submitted in association with this hearing and added to the Congressional record,” said Betty Pérez. “This is one of the best opportunities we have had for our voices to be heard.”
Pérez said comments need to be mailed in by May 16 and sent to:
Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Oceans
Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands
1324 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Pérez said any comments submitted do not have to be in response to the testimony given at the Monday’s hearing at the University of Texas at Brownsville. “They can address the many negative impacts that the wall will have,” she said.
Pérez is an active member of the No Border Wall coalition and a former director of the Friends of the Wildlife Corridor. She and her family own ranchland north of La Joya, on the northwest edge of Hidalgo County. The ranch was bought in the 1930’s by Pérez’s maternal grandfather. However, she can trace her roots in the Valley back to Mexico and to the Texas land grants of the 1700s on both her maternal and paternal sides.
Pérez was a panelist at the hearing held jointly at by the House National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee and the Fisheries, Wildlife and Oceans Subcommittee. Both are subcommittees of the Natural Resources Committee. The hearing, titled “Walls and Waivers: Expedited Construction of the Southern Border Wall and the Collateral Impacts on Communities and the Environment.”
In her testimony, Pérez pointed out that a previous opportunity for Valley residents to have their say about the border wall was snuffed out by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.
Late last year, thousands of Valley residents wrote or gave oral comments as part of the federal government’s draft Environmental Impact Statement. However, the EIS process was eliminated last month when Chertoff announced he was waiving more than 30 federal laws and regulations in an effort to speed up construction of 670 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border by year’s end.
The Department of Homeland Security has yet to make the comments submitted as part of the draft EIS process available to the public.
“This is an important opportunity to inform members of Congress, and to ensure that our voices become part of the official record,” Pérez told the Guardian.
“Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff has announced that since he waived the National Environmental Policy Act there will be no Final Environmental Assessments or Environmental Impact Statements, and it is unclear what will happen to the hundreds of public comments that they received at the open houses they held in McAllen, Brownsville and other cities along the border.”
In her testimony to the House panel, Pérez said DHS has failed to enter into meaningful dialogue with Valley residents about the border wall plan.
“Secretary Michael Chertoff and the DHS are either out of touch or misleading the nation in saying that residents along the border have had this opportunity to be heard many times before,” Pérez said, in her testimony.
“The handful of open house meeting they held, left people frustrated and angry that their questions were not answered and that their opinions could only be written or given to a stenographer. These meetings were not opportunities for public input or dialogue; they were rigid forums where DHS did not listen or respond to legitimate concerns.”
Pérez said Chertoff abused the REAL-ID Act in order to issue his waivers and bypass the National Environmental Policy Act.
“That makes the comments submitted to members of Congress in connection to the field hearing even more important,” Pérez said.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Monday, April 28, 2008
Indigenous Chacalacas in South Texas
To view and listen to SLIDESHOW Go to this link!
Friday, April 25, 2008
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Due to several key events unfolding in El Calaboz with the upcoming visit of the Congressional Delegation led by Congressman Raul Grijalva (Arizona) and accompanied by the Chair of T'ohono O'odham Nation to South Texas for scheduled Congressional Hearings at the University of Texas--Brownsville campus, it is imperative that I travel to Harlingen, TX on Friday night or Saturday morning.
I am calling upon our supporters to help me purchase a roundtrip airline ticket immediately, so that I can be present for key dialogues taking shape between the U.S. Congressional representatives and the Lipan Apache Women (El Calaboz) Defense.
Please email me: email@example.com if you can assist with this urgent need.
Final Approved Statement by Lipan Apache Women Defense/Strength to the UN Special Rapporteurs:
Joint Statement to United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues: Seventh Session APRIL 21 – MAY 2, 2008, United Nations Headquarters, New York
Intervention under Agenda Item 5-Human Rights: Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples and other special rapporteurs
By: Lipan Apache Women Defense
Supported By: Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras, Western Shoshone Defense Project, Tonatierra, Indigenous Enviromental Network, Winnemem Wintu Tribe, Centro De Cultura Pueblo Nacion Mapuche Pelon Xaru, Native Women’s Association of Canada, International Geographical Union-Indigenous Peoples Knowledge and Rights Commission
Good morning Madame Chairperson, Permanent Forum members and delegates. My name is Michael Paul Hill, I am Chiricahua Apache and I am here on behalf of the Apache land defenders from El Calaboz ranchería, El Polvo village (Redford) and the San Carlos Apache Communities. We as Indigenous border communities with traditional territories along the now US/MEX border corridor, along with our non-indigenous neighbors in the southwestern border region of United States and northern Mexico, stand against the political and physical walls, barricades, and fencing that the United States is constructing at this very moment.
We urge the UNPFII to bring special focus and critical attention to the colonization, militarization and industrialization of the T’nde’, Nde’, Nnee’, Dine’ traditional lands and peoples. We ask the Forum to support the peaceful but firm resistance efforts of the Lipan Apache Women land and culture defense, and the Southern Athapaskan Alliance against the increasing militarized occupations and assaults by the United States and Mexico on our lands, culture, livelihoods, ceremonies and traditional sustenance. Of the 2000 mile long militarized conflict zone, over 1400 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border is the traditional territory of the Apache people. The Apache people must be given the opportunity to participate in the environmental, economic, social, and political decision-making in the region.
There are currently over 18,000 U.S. soldiers occupying our border communities with a buildup of up to 75,000 by 2010, and an estimated 8-10,000 Mexican soldiers currently deployed in the border towns and villages positioned for crackdowns on civil society indigenous protests against the construction of a Berlin-style wall which is dissecting Yaqui, O’odham, Opata, Mayo, Cocopah communities along the border. Indigenous women are particularly targeted by violence that militarization culture imposes on the U.S.-Mexico conflict region evidenced by the 4000+ disappeared and murdered women of Juarez and other border towns.
In response to this year’s theme of climate, bio-cultural diversity and livelihoods we bring the Forum’s attention to the adverse affects of the 18 ft high cement and steel border wall on the spiritual welfare of the Apache and other Indigenous peoples along the US/MEX border corridor. This physical barrier is disrupting animal migration routes and deterring the growth of native vegetation and herbal medicinal plants used in traditional ceremonies. The border wall will impede the safe travel on foot, car, and other modes, of Apache people back and forth across the militarized zone. Militarization of the border has resulted in the industrialized destruction of habitats, environments, livelihoods, bio-diversity, water sources, traditional agricultural practices, traditional food security, and traditional peace practices. To allow construction of the border wall, the U.S. recently “waived” over 35 laws to build the wall which provided some measure of protection to indigenous people’s rights to their environment, culture, and way of life.
We respectfully request that the UNPFII consider our recommendations to take an intersectional approach to climate change that involves consideration of militarization, industrialization, gender, and environmental degradation in the U.S.-Mexico militarized zone of occupation and conflict.
Ahi'i'e Ussn, ahi'i'e diyini, ahi'i'e shimaa £ebaiyé T’nde-Nnee’, ahi'i'e shitaa Sumá Ndé-Nneé.
Eloisa García Tamez Grandmother, El Calaboz,
Margo Tamez Co-founder Lipan Apache Women—Defense/Strength
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Indigenous Peoples Organization~~Lipan Apache Women Defense/Strength Prepare Statement to the UNPFII 2008
Official Statement to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, 2008, New York City, New York.
April 22, 2008
Joint Statement to United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues: Seventh Session APRIL 21 – MAY 2, 2008, United Nations Headquarters, New York
Intervention under Agenda Item 5-Human Rights: Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples and other special rapporteurs
By: Lipan Apache Women Defense
Supported By: Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras, Western Shoshone Defense Project, Tonatierra, Indigenous Environmental Network,
Good morning Madame Chairperson, Permanent Forum members and delegates. My name is Michael Paul Hill, I am Chiricahua Apache and I am here on behalf of the Apache land defenders from El Calaboz ranchería, El Polvo village (Redford) and the San Carlos Apache Communities. Although we are an Indigenous border community, with our inherent aboriginal territory along the now US/MEX border corridor, we along with numerous non-indigenous border communities within the southwestern border region of United States and northern Mexico, stand against the political and physical walls, barricades, and fencing that the United States is constructing at this very moment.
In response to this year’s theme we urge the UN PFII to bring special focus and critical attention to the colonization, militarization and industrialization of the T’nde’, Nde’, Nnee’, Dine’ traditional lands and peoples. We ask the Forum to support the peaceful but firm resistance efforts of the Lipan Apache Women land and culture defense, and the Southern Athapaskan Alliance against the increasing militarized occupations and assaults by the United States and Mexico of our lands, cultures, livelihoods, ceremonies and traditional sustenance, such as the migration patterns of the deer, elk, javelina, other big game and small game including the fowl, and many others too numerous to mention. These adverse affects of the four legged migration pattern through 18 ft. high cement and steel border walls and physical barricades deter the growth of native vegetation and herbal medicinal plants used in traditional ceremonies and the spiritual welfare of the Apache and Indigenous peoples along the US/MEX border corridor and impede the safe travel on foot, car, and other modes of Apache people back and forth across the militarized zone.
Of the 2000 mile long militarized conflict zone, over 1400 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border is the traditional territory of the Apache people. The Apache people must be given the opportunity to participate in the environmental, economic, social, and political decision-making in the region.
Due to the last two centuries of attempts to officially exterminate the Apaches of all clans and bands, Apache people today experience the highest levels of poverty, racism, sexism, gender violence, hunger, malnutrition, disease, gang violence, depression, and PTSD. They suffer extreme levels of social, economic and political displacement, dispossession, removal and diasporas while the world commodifies our ancestors on t-shirts, coffee cups, and tourist trinkets.
There are currently over 18,000 U.S. soldiers occupying our border communities—with a buildup of up to 75,000 by 2010, and an estimated 8-10,000 Mexican soldiers currently deployed in the border towns and villages positioned for crackdowns on civil society indigenous protests against the construction of a Berlin-style wall which is dissecting Yaqui, O’odham, Opata, Mayo, Cocopah communities along the border. Indigenous women are particularly targeted by violence that militarization culture imposes on the U.S.-Mexico conflict region evidenced by the 4000+ disappeared and murdered women of Juarez and other border towns.
Climate, bio-cultural diversity and livelihoods are critical areas the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is forced to address in regards to the current battle waged against the Lipan Apache Women land and culture defenders. Militarization of the border has resulted in the industrialized destruction of habitats, environments, livelihoods, bio-diversity, water sources, traditional agricultural practices, traditional food security, and traditional peace practices. To allow construction of the border wall, the U.S. recently broke all democratic principles prescribed by its own Constitution and officially “waived” over 35 laws to build the wall. These violations of state, national and international laws set in place by decades of civil and human rights movements in the United States, which provided some measure of protection to indigenous people’s rights to their environment, culture, and way of life have been revoked by the Department of Homeland Security. Current debates focused on "clearing brush to catch 'illegal aliens'!" do not consider the threat of U.S. Army cranes, bull-dozers, tractors, pavers and tanks to old-growth and requisite woodlands along the river necessary for ecological health and safety, as well as a staple for the traditional indigenous life ways. Included in the groups who cannot speak for themselves are the “habitat” peoples, the "eleven unique plant and animal communities found in the four most southern counties of Texas." These critical sectors of the Lower Rio Grande region, under threat by the border wall, are concentrated in Cameron County, home to Lipan Apache people.
We urge the UNPFII to set as an urgent initiative a special session on restoring gender to the debate and decision-making on climate change and bio-cultural diversity and livelihoods, as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security attempts to intimidate and to force the Lipan Apache Women Defenders to surrender their lands. We urgently request the UNPFII to meet us in dialogue at this forum, and ask that you consider our recommendations to take an intersectional approach to climate change that involves consideration of militarization, industrialization, gender, and environmental degradation in the U.S.-Mexico militarized zone of occupation and conflict.
Ahi'i'e Ussn, ahi'i'e diyini, ahi'i'e shimaa £ebaiyé T’nde-Nnee’, ahi'i'e shitaa Sumá Ndé-Nneé.
Official Representative Michael Paul Hill (Chiricahua Apache)
Supported by Official Representative Michelle L. Cook (Dine’)
On behalf of:
Eloisa García Tamez, Grandmother, El Calaboz,
Margo Tamez Co-founder Lipan Apache Women—Defense/Strength