O’odham Voice Against the Wall: Donate to Holiday Efforts

December 1, 2021


By Ophelia Rivas
December 1, 2021

Donate to holiday efforts


Over 17 years of grassroots efforts by O’odham VOICE Against the Wall, supporters, and long-time allies to bring Holiday Cheer to communities in isolated areas of the traditional O’odham homelands. Deep appreciation to all that donate and support our efforts. 


Holiday Toy and children’s clothing drive

Donate new non-gender and non-violent unwrapped toys. Donate elementary and secondary age boys and girls new and gently used clothing. Donating funds to purchase toys is also accepted. 

Pick up schedule: December 14 & 15, 2021

Contact Ophelia Rivas at 502-308-9904 to schedule pickup.

Toys and clothing will benefit O’odham children in southern O’odham lands.


Ophelia Rivas: In solidarity with Yoeme and Zapatistas: Words to Indigenous Peoples Conference in France

September 10, 2021

Ophelia Rivas at the Border Wall

Ophelia Rivas, exposing the abuse of the U.S. Border Patrol and Israel’s Elbit Systems surveillance towers on her homeland, the Tohono O’odham Nation, told the Indigenous Peoples program in Nantes, France, on Wednesday, she stands in solidarity with the Yoeme (Yaqui) warriors in Sonora, who have been kidnapped and assassinated, and the Zapatistas. Speaking by teleconference with the gathering, Ophelia said the construction of the spy towers disrupted burial places.


By Ophelia Rivas
Censored News

O’odham means people, Tohono means desert, we are desert people. Our vast homelands became occupied by the Republic of Mexico and the United States of America. The International boundary displaced O’odham in the two countries.

The foreigners imposed a census, to count and number each person, they imposed education that removed children from their families, they imposed family separation to try and dismantle our culture.

Now they impose immigration laws on the first peoples, physical violence, detainment, arrests and deportation.

The O’odham VOICE Against the WALL started as an organization when it witnessed the armed military called the border patrol force my elders, all from ages 60 to 80-years-old,  were forced to their knees with heavy weapons pointed at them, and asked to produce proof of citizenship in a language the Elders did not understand.



The Elders laughed nervously, not understanding the English words and what documents are required to travel on their homelands.

The border militarization is militarization of our homelands. Thirty-seven U.S. protective laws were violated to build the wall and the Israeli Elbit Sysyems surveillance towers are now on the lands.

The towers are surveilling us in our communities. The border construction violated burial places and other sacred places and destroyed the habitats of animals, plants and people — impacting our ancient cultural properties, impacting our future cultural heritage.

I am here today in solidarity with the Yoeme who have lost many warriors this year and the Zapatistas my comrades and all defenders of the land, water and Mother Earth.

Read more at Censored News:

New report details violations of human rights by Elbit Systems and urges divestment

O’odham Voice Against the Wall demands a halt to the destruction and surveillance underway by Israel’s Elbit Systems on the Tohono O’odham Nation and an end to the militarization by the U.S. Border Patrol, in a new 81-page report released to the world on August 25, 2021.


Yaqui in Sonora kidnapped while preparing for traditional feast


Copyright Ophelia Rivas, Censored News. No portion may be used without permission. Photo copyright Jason Jaacks





Three Yaqui Assassinated and Disappeared

June 18, 2021


By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
June 18, 2021


The assassination of Yaqui Water Rights Defender Luis Urbano, and disappearance of Yaqui Water Rights Defender Tomas Rojo, was preceded on May 1 by the assassination of a third Yaqui who was part of the highway blockade for water rights in Sonora.

Agustin Valdez was head of security during the water rights highway blockade.

In a related article, it is pointed out that the State of Sonora, Mexico, south of Arizona, has one of the world’s largest beds of high grade lithium.

Lithium is now in demand for batteries for electric cars.

Canadian mining companies are rushing in to seize the land and Indigenous water and land defenders continue protecting the natural world.

Earlier, the Traditional Authority of Vicam Pueblo also hosted the international gatherings of Zapatistas.




Above excerpts. Read article at: SWI

More: Washington Post: War on Natural Resources in Sonora: Lithium conflict: Washington Post


Defenders of Yaqui Water Rights: Agustin Valdez, assassinated, Luis Urbano, assassinated, and Tomas Rojo, disappeared.


Yaqui water defender murdered

June 12, 2021


BEATRIZ GUILLÉN Mexico – 12 JUN 2021 – 04:13 CEST
El Pais

LABERINTO YO’EME Crime has once again shaken the battered Yaqui tribe.

Environmental defender Luis Urbano was murdered this week in downtown Ciudad Obregon, Sonora.

Less than two weeks ago Tomás Rojo, one of the community’s historic leaders, disappeared while out for a morning walk in Vícam, near Cajeme.

There is still no trace of him. Both activists were involved in the defense of water and territory against organized crime and federal and state authorities.

These aggressions are further evidence of the plight of this tribe, known for its long struggle to protect the Yaqui River and its lands. Urbano was shot and killed Tuesday as he was leaving an ATM to withdraw money.

The 36-year-old activist was in charge of accompanying traditional Yaqui authorities. Defined as a hard-working young man, always in a good mood and much loved by his community, Urbano gradually became an interlocutor for the tribe’s demands and petitions, focused on identity and environmental defense.

In 2015, Urbano participated in a national caravan for the defense of water and territory. Before hundreds of people at the Xochimilco Sports Center in Mexico City, he made clear the risks posed to his community by the increasingly bloody struggle for water: “What I saw in this tour is that we are still being trampled, mistreated. Thousands of us are about to fall into marginalization and poverty will worsen due to structural reforms”.

MORE INFORMATION Abel Murrieta, lawyer for the massacred LeBarón family, murdered in Sonora Last year, the environmental defender participated in the documentary Labyrinth Yo’eme about the resistance of the Yaqui people to the diversion of water and the advance of organized crime in their territory.

Sergi Pedro Ros, director of the film and friend of Urbano and Rojo, identifies these two crimes as an example of the permissiveness of the violence suffered by the Yaqui tribe with total impunity.

“Far from stopping, this violence is increasing. And it is extremely serious,” Pedro Ros told EL PAÍS. The filmmaker recalls that Luis Urbano was very concerned about the disappearance of Tomás Rojo. The two activists were contemporaries and both have been “deactivated” at the same time.

“The message seems to be directed to everyone, but not only to the Yaqui tribe, but to all environmental defenders in Mexico,” he says. The director does not know the motivation or relationship between the two crimes, but he does believe that they were being targeted for being what they were: Yaqui.

“Because they are the owners of their land, they are indigenous people in Sonora, and it seems that this cannot be tolerated,” he says. The eight Yaqui villages are home to about 40,000 inhabitants. The majority, 12,000, live in Vícam. All are supplied by a system of three dams that feed the Yaqui River.

The fight for water goes back a long way and the intensity has varied over the years. In 1940, when there was only one dam, La Angostura, President Lázaro Cárdenas granted half of the water to the Yaquis. Over time, two more were built, El Novillo and La Oviachic. The expansion of water infrastructure has not improved the community’s outlook.

“Because of corruption, more water rights have been issued than the watershed has the capacity to support. Many of these concessions are not even used, but rather serve to speculate and then acquire land use rights to make housing developments or things like that,” Yaqui leader Mario Luna explained to EL PAÍS.

In recent weeks the pressure on the community has escalated. The murder of Agustín El Roque Váldez, son of a historic Yaqui leader from Loma de Guamúchil, was followed in early May by the disappearance of Tomás Rojo and then the murder of Urbano.

An established leader and spokesman for the community, Rojo was politically persecuted during the six-year term of former governor Guillermo Padrés (2009-2015), when the so-called war for water in Sonora took place. This struggle was exacerbated by the construction of the Independencia aqueduct, prepared to carry millions of cubic liters from the Yaqui River to Hermosillo, the state capital.

The Yaquis protested because this overexploitation of resources did not guarantee water for their villages. It left them thirsty in the middle of the desert.

Continue reading article at
El Pais

Translation online by Deepl



SONORA The murder of Yaqui defender Luis Urbano shows once again the danger of the struggle for water in Sonora. This crime follows the disappearance just two weeks ago of community leader Tomás Rojo. Both were involved in environmental defense against federal and state governments.


Divest the Wall, Divest Elbit Event – May 7, 2021

April 27, 2021


Join us in the first installation of the DIVEST BORDER PANEL SERIES as indigenous peoples and allies discuss the impacts of Integrated Fixed Towers (IFTs) and their impact on Indigenous peoples rights in the United States and globally.

The Zoom event will take place on Friday, May 7. You can register here:


Research by O’odham VOICE Against the Wall

Hosted by the Indigenous Peoples Rights Committee: https://nlginternational.org/indigenous-peoples-rights/ and the NLG International Committee

Support from Water Protector Legal Collective, https://waterprotectorlegal.org/
and the Indigenous Peoples Human Rights Defenders and Corporate Accountability Program

Moderated by:

  • Michelle Cook (Dineh) Founder, Divest Invest Protect; Director, Indigenous Peoples Human Rights Defenders and Corporate Accountability Program https://www.divestinvestprotect.com


  • Ophelia Rivas (Tohono O’odham) is founder of O’odham VOICE Against the WALL and has spent her life speaking out against the U.S. Border Patrol and militarization of O’odham lands. https://www.oodhamrights.org/
  • Will Parrish is an investigative journalist based in Northern California. His web site is https://www.willparrishreports.com
  • Dov Baum, Ph.D., is the director of Economic Activism for the AFSC – the American Friends Service Committee. These days, they lead the Investigate project mapping companies complicit in mass incarceration and immigrant detention, border security and mass surveillance industries, Israeli apartheid and occupation industries.
  • Hosted by Natali Segovia, National Lawyers Guild (NLG) Indigenous Peoples Rights Committee, The Indigenous Peoples Rights Committee is organized to take up the struggles of indigenous peoples in the US and throughout the world.





Please join us Friday, May 7 @ 4pm Pacific / 7pm Eastern for a Zoom panel conversation.



O’odham Solidarity website creator journeys to Spirit World

January 29, 2021


To all our Friends and Supporters,

My dear friend and honorable warrior Jeffery D. Hendricks took his journey to the infinite spirit world on January 13, 2021. In his memorial my family honors him with words from my daughter, “It’s hard to put into words the kind of person he was. He was all the good things a man should be but how difficult it is to be that man. One so sensitive and can see the dark side of people, but strong and will stand up and be a fighter.” Jeff was surrounded by a diverse wealth of people with long time memories with him.

These are a few of my memories:

Jeff was the reserved presence at California punk rock venue as Resistance Culture takes stage and he escorted me through the sea of powerful anarchist people to give my talk on human rights violations on O’odham lands. Jeff made his commitment to protect a sacred place, as he walked with us for 2 days on a prayer walk for 6 years. His mild nature, with integrity to protect the Elders identities, he blended in with the ceremonial people and Elders. He was also the fun, stealth chuckwalla hunter on the lava fields near the ocean and the barefoot walker through sands at the sea. Jeff, without intrusion on my integrity, used his skills to “fix” the written language on O’odham VOICE Against the WALL posters and statements, official legal documents and especially the Standing Rock support statement, 16 years worth of O’odham resistance words.

In O’odham culture we prepare and bury our loved ones in four days and we mourn for one year.

With difficulty, it has become necessary to address some issues related to Jeff’s support website O’odham Solidarity Project.org. Jeff created and managed this website for support to O’odham VOICE Against the WALL, a grassroots group of ceremonial and traditional leaders existing on both sides of the International border. O’odham VOICE Against the WALL was founded by myself, Ofelia (Ophelia) Rivas in 2003 to bring awareness to human rights violations and the increasing militarization of O’odham lands along the United States and Mexico border. Today the PayPal account connected with O’odham Solidarity Project.org is illegally still functioning. I have requested of the family to add a notice on the website and close the PayPal account and also to begin to dismantle the website. I have also requested that any recent donations be returned to donors.


We want to direct our long time friends and supporters to the new website to continue the work of O’odham VOICE Against the WALL.
The new website is www.oodhamrights.org
I am still at 4oodhamrights@gmail.com and at P.O. Box 1935 Sells, Arizona 85634

We miss and will always love Jeffery D. Hendricks





“The destruction of our mountain is yet another deliberate attempt to dismantle the hundreds of thousands of cultural connections to our lands.” – Ofelia Rivas


Desecration of Ali Jegk

JUNE 1, 2020

ALI JEGK, Tohono O’odham Nation — The destruction of sacred land is underway here in Ali Jegk (Little Clearing community on the Tohono O’odham Nation.


Read the article here: https://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2020/06/desecration-of-ali-jegk-tohono-oodham.html



“The destruction of our mountain is yet another deliberate attempt to dismantle the hundreds of thousands of cultural connections to our lands.” – Ofelia Rivas


Excavator arrives, desecration of Tohono O’odham lands for Israeli spy tower.

APRIL 21, 2020

The failure of this generation to defend the land is this excavator with a drill, which arrived yesterday and parked at the end of our community road.

From time immemorial, our ancestors had to defend themselves against missionaries who chopped off limbs, conquistadors who searched for gold, and miners who sought silver and manifest destiny.

We survived to tell these stories.

This will be a documentation and a testament to this generation of compromises, non-conforming, hypocritical and greedy politicians, and deceptive manipulations of the personnel of the Border Patrol of the Government of the United States, and of a commander in chief. idiot.

Our sacred mountain is going to be attacked.

People will never see the unspoiled O’odham Lands again when these towers are erected. The lands are already subjected to irresistible destruction by unauthorized roads to burial sites and important cultural sites, the looting of our ancestral possessions called vestiges, and the elimination at will of hilltops to erect towers of removable surveillance.

Countless vehicles pass through the virgin areas of our lands.

There is the transformation of animal and plant habitats, O’odham lands, and inherited cultural practices.

I ask politicians who do not live in our community, or on the reserve, to come and see that the sacred mountain is sacrifice.

Sing her song and give her cornmeal, seeing as this mountain had been there for generations, when people respected her and lived in harmony with her – when she protected the newborn fallow deer and gave countless organ pipe cactus fruit for the community, and all the saguaro cacti that gave fruit to animals, people and medicinal plants.

The lives of the O’odhams have been altered.

People have endured this humiliating system of oppression.

The Dalai Lama said, “Go to Lhasa and investigate yourself to see if the Tibetans are happy under the rule of China which restricts Tibetan cultural practices. “

When young people kill themselves out of desperation, alcoholism or drugs, and there are all kinds of crime, violence and domestic violence, it is proof of a broken O’odham society.

I only know how to be O’odham. I cannot adopt a foreign culture and norms that are not those of my ancestors.

All strength and wisdom is who we are as O’odham.

When our world is under attack, the warriors just need a signal.

They are determined to hold on.

I’m holding.

© Ofelia Rivas, Censored News, may only be used with permission.


Read the article here:





“I only know how to be O’odham. I cannot adopt a foreign culture and norms that are not those of my ancestors.” – Ofelia Rivas