Ophelia Rivas: In solidarity with Yoeme and Zapatistas: Words to Indigenous Peoples Conference in France
September 10, 2021
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.
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