Tohono O’odham Women on the Border

This was originally posted by Brenda Norell at

Tohono O’odham Women on the Border

By Brenda Norrell

SAN MIGUEL, Arizona — Tohono O’odham women describe the militarization of the US/Mexico border on Censored Blog Radio today. The US/Mexico border wall is now a barrier on the annual O’odham ceremonial route. The contractor Boeing has dug up the graves of O’odham ancestors on Tohono O’odham Nation land. US Border Patrol agents harass and threaten O’odham, holding O’odham women and elderly at gunpoint on a regular basis and routinely searching O’odham without cause.

Ofelia Rivas, founder of the O’odham Voice Against the Wall, and Angie Ramon, whose 18-year-old son Bennett Patricio, Jr., was run over and killed by the US Border Patrol, describe the sorrow caused by this US military invasion of O’odham land.
Angie Ramon and her family members believe that Bennett walked upon an illegal drug transfer between US Border Patrol agents and was intentionally killed as he walked home in the desert in the predawn hours. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals did not rule in the family’s favor. The family continues to seek justice for the death of Bennett, now seeking an attorney to file murder charges against the Border Patrol agent.
The US militarization and border wall, with out of control border agents, result in death and intrusion for O’odham, who have lived in this region where the desert meets the sea since time immemorial.
“I don’t know how to live my life without visiting my family members,” said Ofelia Rivas, of her family members in Mexico. “I’m going to be stuck in the United States now since I don’t have a passport.”
Rivas said the border wall is a barrier on the annual O’odham ceremonial route. Without the ceremonies, there will be catastrophes in the universe.
“Our ceremonies, our Him’dag, it is our way of life.”
“We have not migrated anywhere,” Rivas said, adding that O’odham Creation stories tell how the O’odham were created here and have not migrated.
In May of 2007 the border wall contractor Boeing dug up the O’odham ancestors, who were later reburied.
During the interview, as the border wall is being constructed, Rivas says, “It is our Mother Earth and they are raping her and they are sticking these metal objects into her. It really impacts our spiritual being as O’odham people.
“Our tribal government doesn’t seem to understand that this is impacting our people.
“Who is going to stand up against this government to take this wall down? This is our land, our O’odham land.

Listen at Blog Radio. Original interview recorded by Amanda Shauger, with Brenda Norrell:

or at Censored News http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot

Photos: Angie Ramon at the place of her son’s death. Photo 2: Ofelia Rivas looks at the border wall under construction during this radio interview, with radio producer Amanda Shauger and Angie Ramon. Photos Brenda Norrell



Roberto Rodriguez: Why Bush Will Walk

This was originally posted by Brenda Norell at

Roberto Rodriguez: Why Bush Will Walk

DEC 16, 2008

The President ducked two shoes in Iraq recently, just as he will
inexplicably also be able to walk away from his office, without the
worry of ever having to duck Nancy Pelosi’s heels – without ever
having to face impeachment by a complicit Congress.

The mind-boggling reason she continues to give regarding why
“impeachment is off the table” is that she claims that Democrats are
not out for revenge. Somehow, she seems to be oblivious to her
Constitutional duties to defend the Constitution, rather than engage
in political calculus (regarding who will control Washington).

Given a different set of circumstances, president George W. Bush and
his War Cabinet would not only be impeached, but they would also
undoubtedly face war crime tribunals for promoting and authorizing an
illegal war and occupation against Iraq – a war that is responsible
for the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqis and the displacement of
4-5 million others.

Chances are likely that Bush will also not have to duck the Obama
administration as all indications are that Obama will not show Bush
his soles. Instead, he will seek to “move forward” (Washington-speak
for ignoring the crimes of fellow politicians) and attempt to govern
from the middle. Governing from the middle is more Washington-speak
for ignoring the pursuit of justice.

Perhaps it will be up to history to deliver a verdict against a
president that has not simply run circles around the Constitution –
while ignoring international treaties and agreements – but that is
actually responsible for both, Iraqi and U.S. casualties, which number
in the tens of thousands.

Despite the glaring evidence that the president consistently lied to
Congress and the American public to be able to invade and occupy Iraq,
and despite the clear evidence of his approval of torture (claiming
that the Geneva Conventions of War were irrelevant) and illegal
spying, the question then is, what has been preventing his impeachment
and/or imprisonment?

It’s called American exceptionalism.

It’s the ability to look at the world, not the way it is or ought to
be, but rather, through U.S.-rose colored eyes.

Despite the obvious, U.S. politicos and government officials believe
that the United States has created the highest form of democracy – a
shining example to the rest of the world. Here, no one is above the
law. In fact, it is loudly proclaimed that “we are a nation of laws.”
We heard this most loudly when former president Bill Clinton lied to
Congress about his trysts with Monica Lewinsky.

But there’s also a backside to this idea of American exceptionalism:
the United States can do no wrong, or in this case, the president and
his underlings can do no wrong. In this case, president Bush
authorizing a war that never should have been fought is pedaled not as
a crime against humanity, but rather, simply as a policy difference –
no matter the hundreds of thousands of casualties – no matter that
thousands of Americans have died and that tens of thousands have been
permanently disabled. In the eyes of the U.S. body-politic, that’s
less a crime – or no crime at all – because it led to the ouster of a

Yet, there’s even an exception to this idea; if a president or
politico does something immoral –something that offends
Western/Christian sensibilities – such as lying to Congress about
having sex, having an abortion or trying to extort money or political
favors in exchange for a Senate seat – that is considered unforgivable
and unpardonable. This is true, more so than starting a destructive
and catastrophic war under false pretenses.

Where does this logic and morality come from? Perhaps from the same
logic that says it is permissible to kill a thousand innocents to save
one sinner or the medieval idea that found it permissible to kill
thousands of non-Christians in the Americas, while seeing it as “a
great service to God.”

Reaching back to the Dark Ages may seem like stretch, yet, where else
can we find an answer that permits a president to war on a weak
nation, claiming that God told him to do it – and then Congress
inexplicably absconding from its Constitutional and moral duties and
obligations, not simply to protect the U.S. Constitution and the rule
of law, but to protect the world from a dangerous and delusional

Yet, neither does Pelosi or Obama have the last word on this matter.
Thirty years after the fact, Chile’s dictator, Agusto Pinochet, and
the Argentine generals that waged a “dirty War” in their country,
found this out.

(c) Column of the Americas 2008

Rodriguez, a research associate at the University of Arizona, can be
reached at:

Column of the Americas – PO BOX 85476 – Tucson, AZ 85754

Restoring harmony with reburial of Native American remains

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More than 15 years of acrimony came to an end Saturday when about 1,000 Native American remains that had been exhumed during construction were laid to rest and covered with white seashells during a sacred burial ceremony near the Westchester bluffs.

For Robert Dorame, a Bellflower resident designated by the state Native American Heritage Commission as the “most likely descendant” of the American Indians buried at the site, the day represented a peaceful conclusion to a painstaking project in which he supervised the blessing and bundling of the remains.

“The ancestors have been sitting in cardboard boxes in shelves on a trailer for a lot of years,” Dorame said. “So you know, it’s a great — we use the word in our language awesko — a rejoice. . . . We’re happy it’s finally come to an end.,0,4321751.story

Cheyenne and Arapaho tribal members commemorate Sand Creek ancestors

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DENVER – Those with ambivalent feelings about Thanksgiving were offered yet another reminder of the country’s grim history as the Sand Creek Massacre Spiritual Healing Run/Walk journeyed to Colorado’s capital while the city’s residents were carving up this year’s family turkey.

About 40 youth from the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes in Montana, Wyoming and Oklahoma started out early Thanksgiving Day from the massacre site near Eads, Colo. and ran 186 miles to Denver in a three-day commemoration for their ancestors killed by Colorado militia Nov. 29, 1864 in a peace camp along Sand Creek.

The healing aspect of the event was underscored by a sunrise pipe ceremony that sent the runners on their way from southeastern Colorado and a candlelight vigil Nov. 28 in Denver at an outdoor sculpture by Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds, Cheyenne/Arapaho.

West Virginia Citizens join with Navajo & Hopi Tribal Leaders and Community Members to Protest Office of Surface Mining

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Charleston, WV and Denver, CO (HNN) – Citizens in West Virginia and the Navajo and Hopi in Arizona and New Mexico have more in common than they once thought. Both areas are dealing with loss of water, land and cultural resources as a result of surface mining, and both are frustrated with the systemic lack of enforcement and lack of citizen involvement from the federal government.

“When we met with folks from the Navajo community out west, we realized we are having the same problems,” said Vernon Haltom of Coal River Mountain Watch. “They are struggling with bad water, loss of culture and heritage, and systemic apathy from government agencies.”

The issue these groups are responding to is a rushed “midnight regulation” from the Department of the Interior may be issued in favor of Peabody Coal, and the affected Navajo and Hopi people of Black Mesa are trying to stop it. A large delegation has traveled to Denver to meet with top officials in the Office of Surface Mining (OSM) and hold a press conference and rally in downtown Denver to protest the pending decision, which will grant the coal company a “life-of-mine” permit, expanded mining operations and rights to tap the fresh water of the Navajo aquifer.

Dam deal close after most of a century

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A monumental battle between Tacoma Power and the Skokomish Indian Tribe over a pair of dams the utility built on traditional tribal grounds on the Olympic Peninsula in the 1920s may be near an end.

Although both sides cautioned there is no deal yet, the Tacoma Public Utilities board of directors gave its approval last week to a motion that authorizes Director Bill Gaines to enter into a settlement agreement with the tribe. The City Council is scheduled to consider it tonight.

The proposal calls for the utility to pay the tribe $12.6 million in upfront cash and transfer 1,140 acres of Tacoma Power property to the tribe in exchange for dropping all claims left over from a $5.6 billion lawsuit.

Desert Rock right of way mulled

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WINDOW ROCK — The Resources Committee will consider a resolution this week to approve rights of way for the Desert Rock Energy Project and related infrastructure.

Developers Diné Power Authority and Sithe Global Power already have received approval for the lease, tax and water agreements, according to DPA General Manager Steven Begay. Rights of way would be assigned to Desert Rock Energy Co. LLC and permitted assignees. The legislation is sponsored by Resources Chairman George Arthur and member Norman John II.

“The only piece missing is the rights of way for the water, the road, the transmission line, and then anything else like waterlines, smaller distribution lines, or fiber-optic lines.