This past Saturday the Hia C’ed O’odham organized a protest against the building of the wall on their sacred land at Quitobaquito. They called on all O’odham and their allies “to rally alongside the people of the Jewed, in defense of the land, water and liberation.”
I was unable to attend the protest because I am in Detroit. The maps below are my poor attempt to stand in solidarity with the Hia C’ed O’odham.
Colonialism had impacted the community as early as 1541 when Conquistador Melchior Diaz rode the trail to Quechan lands at present day Yuma. It had become more entrenched in the late 1600s and early 1700s with the arrival of another Conquistador, Fray Eusebio Kino. In 1890, three US Americans lived at Quitobaquito, Tom Childs Jr., Reuben Daniels and John Merrill, they ranched cattle, prospected for gold, silver and copper, and Childs and Daniels married into Quitobaquito families. In addition, Mexican haciendo, Cipriano Ortega, had built a corral, well and butchers shop a few miles north of the Springs; the first US Border Patrol agent, Jeff Milton, had established a customs house nearby; and Manuel Levy had opened a store, expanding his retail empire which stretched from Sonoyta to Ajo.
The Hia C’ed O’odham community had been forcibly evicted between 1936 and 1957 to make way for the new Organ Pipe National Monument. After removing the community, the National Park Service (NPS) bulldozed the homes and other buildings at the Springs. The orchards were destroyed, and cattle ranching prohibited. They covered the graves in the cemetery with iron gratings to “preserve” them. The only grave to escape grating was that of the lone white man buried at the Springs, Louis Sestier. Sestier was a store clerk at Levy’s store and had been buried by Levy himself on a southeast facing slope under a rectangular headstone topped with a cross.
|The border fence and road on Organ Pipe |
National Monument in summer 2018
In 2006, President G.W. Bush signed the Secure Fence Act, authorizing the building of 700 miles of new barriers along the US/Mexico border. At Quitobaquito the result of the Act was a post and rail fence and two lane dirt road that was only open to Border Patrol and NPS Law Enforcement traffic.
|The border wall and road on the same stretch of |
Organ Pipe National Monument in spring 2020
In early 2020 construction was also started west of the Springs on the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife refuge. The wall advanced towards the Springs from both sides and has now reached this sacred site for the Hia C’ed O’odham.
To support the Hia C'ed O'odham and Tohono O'odham land defenders and their allies please CLICK HERE or send a donation to @ / DefendOodhamJewed on Cashapp or Paypal, donations will go directly to support land defenders.