Previously, we have reported that the proposed border wall between the U.S. and Mexico would fragment animal habitats. Now there are concerns that the wall would cut through Native American land with cultural significance, separating the Tohono O’odham Nation’s tribe. The physical barrier would also make it more difficult for tribe members to access water and could affect their agriculture.
Here’s what the Nation’s chairman is saying:
The Tohono O’odham Nation’s unique relationship with the border is a direct result of the Gadsdsen Purchase in 1854 in which the U.S. purchased land from Mexico. The sale rearranged borders, and “dissected our aboriginal lands,” according to a video from the tribe.
The Mexican side of the border is home to a Tohono O’odham Nation burial ground and the site of many cultural and religious traditions, tribe members said. It also houses resources for members like Jacob Serapo, whose water supply is just a few yards out on the Mexican side of the border.
In a video posted by the tribe, Serapo explained how he now has to travel four miles to access an alternative water source on the U.S. side to accommodate new border security features.