Thousands Die on US border and Tribal Area Activists on Trial

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As a direct result of official US policies, namely the continued militarization of the border that results in a deathly “funnel effect”; the harsh Sonoran desert has claimed several thousand lives.

While the US exports genetically modified corn to the south, millions of people, unable to compete with the cheap US-subsidized corn, will eventually migrate north and possibley die in the journey. Since 2000, in Arizona alone, more than 2,100 human remains have been recovered.

From May to July, weekly protests erupted throughout the state, including one with close to 200,000 protesters in Phoenix. The indigenous activists find themselves on trial, facing the charges of criminal trespass. The defendants, part of the O’odham Solidarity Across Borders Collective, did so to protest the militarization of the border; this includes the sending of yet more national guard troops; the efforts to wall the 2,000-mile border and the use of military drone technology.

For indigenous peoples, the militarization of the border has, indeed, meant invasion and criminal trespass. And in the case of various indigenous nations, particularly the O’odham, it has come at a steep price: the division of their nation; the desecration of sacred lands; the depopulation of their villages; and their inability to move freely across their own lands. The defendants, part of the O’odham Solidarity across Borders Collective protest the militarization of the border. In Phoenix, Arizona, we know only too well what conservative legislators are capable of. The question is whether the prospect of mass protests at state capitols can exercise restraint on them.


Title: “What’s at Stake in the O’odham Trial?

Author: Roberto Rodriguez

Source: Guardian UK, February 21, 2011


Student Researcher: Erica Chavez, Sonoma State University

Faculty Advisor: Dan Lopez, Sonoma State University