Being on O’odham Land

Whether you live here or are visiting, if you don’t know about the situation of O’odham people here, read up.

O’odham face militarization of their lands which span the border region, racial profiling, development (Loop 202 extension), threats to sacred sites (due to border wall construction, immigration enforcement, development, and resource extraction), other threats to their communities, land, and health (toxic waste dumps, resource extraction, etc.).  There has been lasting resistance in these struggles.

The following is from 2009 but is still quite relevant: “In light of the state’s new attack of SB 1070 on migrant communities, [O’odham Solidarity Across Borders (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.”  Read more:


Recent News: CENSORED NEWS: Homeland Security pitches new spy towers at Tohono O’odham

“Some of us who are opposing plans for an extension of Loop 202 (which would cut through either the sacred South Mountain or the reservation) near Phoenix figured we could find some relationship between ALEC and pro-Loop 202 interests.  Yet even while we haven’t found direct links, we can easily see that it is connected to this ideology of maldevelopment, resource extraction, and the “free market”.  It is no surprise that the Loop 202 extension would serve as part of the CANAMEX freeway, an arm of NAFTA, which would connect to the Tar Sands (of which ALEC members Conoco and Exxon are involved) in Canada (  Look for an invitation to join us in opposition to the Loop 202 extension (,”  from

South Mountain is a sacred site to the O’odham people, the original people to this land. In both the years 2000 and 2005 the Gila River Indian Community passed resolutions stating that they are against the construction of this freeway. The Community is now working to pass a referendum for a vote and have their opinion on this proposed freeway heard.

We are here today to demand that you do not move forward on this project until the voice of the Gila River Indian Community is heard. We demand that you help assert the Community’s right to a vote on the freeway’s construction and ultimately we demand That you and ADOT be transparent about GRIC’s opportunity of “no build” as an option!” from LORI RIDDLE REDELIVERS LETTER OF DEMANDS TO HDR AGAINST LOOP 202

O’odham have had to fight off the placement of toxic waste dumps in the communities. Gila River : Victory to shut down hazardous waste facility and Company Abandons Plan for Waste Dump in Quitovac

A newer threat: O’odham Sacred Site of Quitovac once again under threat from US Gold Mining Company Silver Scott Mines « Survivalsolidarity’s Blog

Further reading:

O’odham Solidarity Across Borders Collective

O’odham Solidarity Project

Fear of a Milighan Planet part 1 and part 2

Immigration, Imperialism and Cultural Genocide: An interview with O’odham Activist Ofelia Rivas concerning the effects of a proposed wall on the US / Mexico border Interviewed by, Jeff Hendricks


Traditional O’odham statement at the Zapatistas’ Encuentro 2007

Shame on the New York Times for Fueling Border Misery By Brenda Norrell January 2010

Hate and Death on the Border By BRENDA NORRELL December 2009

O’odham: Surviving apartheid on the illegal border By Brenda Norrell November 2009

A Border Runs Through Them: The Struggles of the Tohono O’odham By BRENDA NORRELL November 2009

Indigenous Peoples Vow to Bring Down Apartheid Border Wall by Brenda Norrell November 2007

Indigenous Border Summit Opposes Border Wall and Militarization By Brenda Norrell October 2006

Tohono O’odham and U S Border Patrol (youtube video)

Imaginary Borders, Real Obstructions (youtube video)

Videos on the South mountain Freeway:
South Mountain Freeway Proposal – Public Comments pt 1 and pt 2

South Mountian Freeway Protest

Article on Freeway:
Sal DiCiccio’s Loop 202 Problem: Phoenix Councilman Would Benefit from Reviled Ahwatukee Freeway Extension


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