the root of the problem

April 29, 2010 § Leave a comment

from the o’odham solidarity across borders collective

In light of the state’s new attack of SB 1070 on migrant communities, OSABC would like to show a perspective and experience that is often overlooked in the immigration struggle, that being the indigenous impacts. Indigenous communities have, and still are being attack by the state (meaning the political entity, also called “government”) since the first migrants, European settlers, arrived to this hemisphere. But that, we already know. What OSABC would like to express is, WE ARE STILL HERE. As O’odham, we have seen our lands occupied by three colonial states (Spain, Mexico, and now the United States), and STILL, we have endured in the face of colonization. The very land that this bill was passed on, is still O’odham land! From the Phoenix Valley, to Scukson (Tucson is from an O’odham word), to Rocky Point, to the Sierra Madres in Mexico, this is O’odham jewed.

The passing of SB1070 leads us to the police state, and does not just affect migrants, it affects us all! SB 1070 like policies already occur on the Tohono O’odham Nation since the mid-90’s with the states push for immigration enforcement. Border Enforcement that would be a Berlin-like Wall through our lands to control movement. The current push for immigration reform by politicians and by reformist activists includes the push to secure “their” borders which would be the forced removal and relocations of all indigenous tribes that live in the border region (Yaqui, Lipan Apache, Mohawk to name a few). This dismissal not just shows the colonial attitude that both reformist activists and politicians have, but also the settler privilege that they evoke when constructing border policies.

We need to be asking the why in all this? Immigration Reform to us, means militarization of our homelands, so we dare to ask the politicians and reformist activists, how can reform for many, be at the expense of the original inhabitants of the land? We need to see it for what it is, and question neo-liberal projects, such as NAFTA, not just put a bandage on policies that affect everybody! We must challenge both the politicians and reformist activists that try to pit indigenous and migrant communities against each other in their “political” solutions! We are in this together, and must start at the root of the problem, in this case from an O’odham perspective.


In conclusion, I felt the need to provide the history of the O’odham and the Border was important because it shows the continuation of colonization and puts the struggle in perspective for people who are unaware of the O’odham. In my travels, as a Tohono O’odham, I find myself meeting many who have no idea of our connection to our traditional land. This connection has long been under attacked since the days of the Spanish, and the United States endorsement of globalization policies is now attacking our O’odham Him’dag. The need to understand the Defenders of Wildlife v. Chertoff case is important because it shows the politics of the colonial rule. Politics that put the O’odham voice behind their security and capital. Militarization now is the state of my lands, and judicial system is not the answer. I wrote this to educate my fellow O’odham, and those who stand in solidarity with us, so we can construct ideas thats may, or may not work in their system. Hopefully, this understanding of the issue will lead to a bigger debate. Not just the same colonial one that is offered by them.


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