Imagine a construction crew excavating the Christian Catacombs under Rome or the grounds under the Dome of the Rock and Western Wall in Jerusalem without consulting with local religious leaders at the Vatican, Israel, or the Arab World?
What do you think the reaction would be?
That is what the Trump Administration is doing by waiving environmental and national park laws (a move originated during the Bush II Administration) with the construction of his unnecessary border wall dividing Arizona from the Mexican State of Sonora.
Despite warnings from the National Park Service in September 2019 that this construction would jeopardize the local environment and potentially damage/destroy Native American Culture sites, the 2016 Popular Vote Loser’s Administration, without consulting anyone, has moved ahead with border wall construction in this area.
This move, according to reporting from Erin Stone of AZ Central, may harm the biodiversity and water flow of the region.
It would also destroy and violate national monuments (including burial grounds) of the Tohono O’odham Native American Nation.
Ned Norris Jr., chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation told CNN that his people were not fully consulted by the federal government and further stated:
“The Tohono O’odham Nation is adamantly opposed to the construction of the 30-foot, fortified border wall, which would irrevocably harm cultural sites, sacred sites and the environment. Media reports that explosives are now being used further demonstrates the massive and unnecessary destruction the wall is inflicting.”
Matt Grodsky of the Arizona Democratic Party issued a statement which read:
“A national monument in Arizona, home to Native American burial sites, is being blown up as part of construction for President Trump’s border wall. Blasting inside Arizona’s Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument began this week without approval from or consultation with the Tohono O’odham Nation whose burial sites are being destroyed by the construction.”
“Despite the fact that Native American sites do have special protections under federal law, the Trump administration exploited a loophole to override tribal sovereignty by invoking the REAL ID Act of 2005, which allows the federal government to ignore various laws in the name of national security.”
“The Trump Administration and Republicans in Washington clearly have no desire to work with Arizona’s Native American communities. Instead, they are literally running roughshod over sacred burial sites and disrespecting Native Americans’ heritage. This cannot stand and voters will remember this in November,” said Rachel Hood, Native American Outreach Manager for the Arizona Democratic Party.”
Raul Grijalva, the Arizona House Representative from District Three that represents the area, in comments to KJZZ 91.5 condemned the Administration’s actions and disregard for what they were doing to the environment and the Tohono O’odham cultural sites. He also chastised the federal government for apparently breaking a promise to not touch the historical sites and for not consulting with the tribe.
Arizona Legislative District Nine State Senator Victoria Steele wrote that:
“The Trump administration is dynamiting sacred a Native American hill on in the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument to build his racist wall. It makes me sick to my stomach.”
“They are blasting Hill which is a final resting site for Apache warriors.
“This is being done without the consultation of the tribes and nations. It is a continuation of a centuries-old cultural genocide. They are raping the land and desecrating the dead…it’s a despicable cultural arrogance.”
“This is an urgent matter. The damage being done here cannot be undone.”
The 2016 KKK endorsed candidate’s proposed border wall is unnecessary, ill-constructed and porous where it is being built (click the link to the Vanity Fair article here and see the Stephen Colbert video clips below,) and is harmful to the environment and history.
Interested parties in the area should prevail upon the courts to stop this insanity if possible to protect the environment and preserve the cultural treasures of the Tohono O’odham.
Voters should put this on the long list of reasons to vote the 2016 Popular Vote Loser out of the office on November 3, 2020.
It is only 266 days away.