Video Repost from @indigenousrising
For thousands of years, the Tohono O’odham (meaning “Desert People”) inhabited what is today southern Arizona and the northern state of Sonora in Mexico. But the O’odham were there long before either Mexico or the U.S. existed as nations. After the Mexican-American War, the international boundary between the U.S. and Mexico was drawn at the Gila River, just north of the O’odham ancestral lands. But the Gadsden Purchase in 1854 redrew the border right through O’odham territory. The O’odham were never consulted. Yhe aftermath of 9/11, O’odham living on the U.S. reservation were forced to deal with the unintended consequences of a militarized border: Border Patrol agents harass and treat them as undocumented migrants on their sovereign land. Their desert landscape and wildlife get clobbered by migrants, traffickers and federal law enforcement. They return home to find cars stolen, houses ransacked by desperate migrants. Migrants who far too often don’t survive the desert elements. It’s also not uncommon for tribal members to be lured by fast cash into working as coyotes or mules for the Mexican cartels, ending up in jail themselves. But less attention is paid to the grave impact the same border has on O’odham in Mexico, who’ve become second-class citizens within their own tribe.The Tohono O’odham Nation (pronounced TOHN-oh AUTH-um) is a sovereign government and federally recognized Indian nation that claims 25,000 members. Their reservation established in 1917 is the second largest in the U.S. and spans 2.8 million acres, about the size of Connecticut. The southern boundary includes 75 miles of the U.S.-Mexico international border. Estimates vary on how many Tohono O’odham live in Mexico. According to the 2000 national census and subsequent report by Mexico’s National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples, 363 O’odham were living in Sonora, Mexico. However, that tally included only families in which someone in the household spoke the O’odham language. Just a few generations ago, almost every O’odham, whether in the U.S. or Mexico, spoke O’odham. Now only 24 families do.