Barring unexpected delay, arguments in the case of Ramirez v. Trump will begin in federal district court in Washington DC in just a few days. Attorneys from environmental group Earthjustice will be arguing the case; notable among the several plaintiffs is the Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of Texas.
About a dozen members of the tribe, which is not federally recognized, along with allies have been holding a vigil at a traditonal community cemetery in the path of a planned new section of boder wall. They fear that federal contractors will arrive at any time to begin relocating graves, or even start wall construction without relocation.
Meanwhile, construction recently began on several miles of new border wall in the southern section of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, not far from Tohono O’odham tribal lands in Arizona. This border-wall expansion has also been the target of demonstrations. The Tohono O’odham people consider the Organ Pipe area sacred land. Many Native and non-Native people feel the loss of National Monument land as an extraordinary land-grab for the sake of politics driven by a falsely-declared national emergency. And the depletion of a local aquifer planned as part of the wall construction has led to the call for “Water not Walls” at advocacy events.
Lead attorneys for the Earthjustice suit supported by the Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe explain that “the president is ordering that the government take people’s land; that it destroy cemeteries where American families buried their ancestors for generations; that it prevent communities from accessing their river and their places of worship.
“The lawsuit alleges that the wall would have ‘real and dire impacts for communities living along the border,’ including potential exhumation and desecration of border families’ loved ones’ remains at the 154-year-old Eli Jackson Cemetery and the 145-year old Jackson Ranch Church and Cemetery in Texas. We are asking the court to stop all agency actions to implement the unlawful emergency declaration.“
While the Tohono O’odham control a large area of tribal land in Arizona near the Mexican border, the traditional lands of another band of O’odham sit right along the areas now being walled off. At The Intercept has reported, “within the pocket of southwest Arizona directly impacted by the border wall is another band of O’odham whose post-colonial history has been a constant fight against erasure. For the Hia C-ed O’odham, the Sand People, the areas of Organ Pipe where the Trump administration is building its wall are sacred.
“’We are still here,” Amber Ortega, a Hia C-ed demonstrator, told the crowd. “We are not often spoken of in the media. We are in very few textbooks, but we exist, and this is our home.‘”
More on the Earthjustice suit supported by the Carizzo/Comecredo Tribe here: https://earthjustice.org/features/inside-the-legal-case-border-wall-national-emergency
More on tribal protests against the Organ Pipes Cactus National Memorial wall protests here: https://theintercept.com/2019/11/24/arizona-border-wall-native-activists/