Saturday, November 8, 2008

Nde' Mothers' Voices Against the Wall ~~ A Prayer

(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!).

Dear Friends;
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
'the machine'
human bodies reduced to mere 'energy'
as if calculating batteries

the indigenous grandparents from these lands
enduring and enduring
from 1752-2008
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
El Calaboz!
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

Margo Tamez
November 7, 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Evictions and Condemnations for the Poor and Brown, Special Status for Historical Slave Owner Property Owners

My mother, Eloisa Garcia Tamez,  is sending this message.  She does not have access to the internet in El Calaboz, and so sends this message to supporters.  I add my own comments at the end.
Eloisa G. Tamez (EGT)
Margo Tamez (MT)
(MT): Following up on the story this morning about the plantation owner who went to D.C. to deal directly with DHS and got a different deal (at: :
(EGT): There were 5-6 Poor Hispanic, Land Grant descent families, who were forcibly removed, given a 90 day eviction order, when the U.S. condemned their lands which abutted right up against the levee.
(EGT): Their condemned properties are West of La Paloma Rancheria, off Cantu Rd, which is right off Military Hwy. 
(MT): My mother went to visit them personally months ago when she heard about the U.S. condemnation order, and she was deeply agitated and angered at the desperate condition in which the families were living, and that the U.S. DHS had the gall to forcibly relocate these poor families, to where, we do not know. These are farmers on U.S. land which their families have worked for centuries.  They are poor farmers, and had no access to basic communication technology in the area due to low income. 
(MT): My mother is extremely frustrated that this white land owner, Irwin,  in the above referenced story, is being given special status by the U.S. DHS, especially given the fact that this 'waiver' is yet again for a white land owner.  Irwin is being selected for a special deal, and the article insinuates that her deal is somehow connected to the historical significance of her position as the owner of a former slave plantation.  Are we to understand that white land owners in the Lower Rio Grande, with 'historical' slave quarters and buildings, --a place of human rights abuses on multiple levels-- will be held up as a special condition, and given a green pass?
This is the way Michael Chertoff, the son of immigrant Jewish Holocaust survivors, will mete out his personal injustice and his own unresolved historical trauma on South Texas 'ethnic' 'refusers'.    

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 house

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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.