I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Censored News: Tohono O'odham Nation and Migration

Hit this show on Blog Talk Radio any time this week for more with Mike Wilson. I've posted a number of things from Brenda's blog (Censored News: Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights News) - it's well worth subscribing to. She has an interview with Ben Carnes on her radio show, and does some in-depth coverage of uranium mining in Arizona. 

This story is unfortunate, but as we know from 8 years of Bush, government does not always reflect the soul of the people. Like Wilson, some of the staunchest allies of No More Deaths are Tohono O'odham. I would imagine it takes considerable courage and conviction to speak out against tribal authorities. Other activists have paid an extremely high price in the past for doing so. Let's pay attention, and watch his back.


Death Walks on Tohono O'odham Nation

By Brenda Norrell

In southern Arizona, humanitarians putting out water for migrants are being charged with a crime, in the latest attempt by the US government to halt humanitarian aid to migrants dying in the Sonoran Desert. Thirteen humanitarians from No More Deaths, Samanitarians and Humane Borders were arraigned in federal court in Tucson in September on charges of littering. Their crime was placing water on migrant trails where people are dying.

Today, broadcast on Censored News Blog Radio, Mike Wilson, Tohono O'odham, describes his water stations on the Tohono O'odham Nation and how the Tohono O'odham Nation has fought his efforts. While his water containers have been slashed and confiscated, Wilson continues to put out water for migrants. 
Wilson also describes searching for the bodies of migrants, including that of a young pregnant woman, where temperatures range from 105 to 117 in summer months. He also describes how young migrant children are imprisoned in a holding cell, known as the "dog cage," on Tohono O'odham Nation land.
Wilson continues to be under attack by the Tohono O'odham Nation. "Tribal authorities have authorized the removal of my water stations from Baboquivari and Schuck Toac Districts."
Wilson said the Tohono O'odham Nation is seeking to maximize a profit on the backs of destitute migrants, many who are Indigenous Peoples from Southern Mexico and Guatemala.
"The Nation is anxious to take blood money from the Department of Homeland Security. Shamefully, we who were once oppressed are now the willing oppressors."
As volunteers are being charged, Wilson said he is now vulnerable to arrest, along with another Tohono O'odham, David Garcia, who assists him.
"The reality is that as tribal members of the Tohono O'odham Nation, David Garcia and I are now vulnerable to arrest and conviction for doing the same thing on Tohono O'odham tribal lands. The legal precedent has now been irreversibly set for federal prosecution of humanitarian volunteers, like us, for knowingly placing gallons of water for migrants in distress on any federal properties, inclusive of Native American reservations.
"The truth is, despite our mythical notions of 'sovereignty,' reservations are first, foremost and manifestly, Federal Properties managed by the Department of Interior and its agent, the Bureau of Indian Affairs," Wilson said.
Listen to Wilson on "Death Walks on the Tohono O'odham Nation." This talk was at the Indigenous Border Summit of Americas 2007. Currently conditions are intense for humanitarians putting out water, as migrants continue to die.

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