Surveillance Tower in Ali Jegk
This generation’s failure to defend the lands is the excavator with a rock drill on it, that arrived yesterday and parked at the end of our community road.
From time immemorial our ancestors’ defense of the lands was from the missionaries human limb takers, from conquistadors looking for gold and miners looking for silver and manifest destiny.
We have survived to tell the stories. This will be a documentation and witnessing of this generation of compromising, non-compliant, two-faced tribal greedy politicians, and the manipulation of the deceitful United States government border patrol personnel and an idiot commander in chief.
Our sacred mountain will be under attack.
The people will never again see the undisturbed lands of the O’odham as these towers will be erected.
The lands are already under unstoppable destruction of unauthorized roads over burial places and culturally significant places, looting of our ancestral belongings called artifacts, and the at-will scraping of hilltops to erect portable surveillance towers.
The countless vehicles are traversing the most pristine areas of our lands.
There is the altering of animal and plant habitats altering the O’odham lands and inherit cultural practices. I ask the politicians that do not live in our community, or on the reservation, to come and acknowledge the sacred mountain who is the sacrifice. Sing his song and give him cornmeal, as this mountain has stood for generations of time when people gave it respect and lived in harmony with it — as he sheltered the newborn deer and gave countless organ pipe cactus fruit for the community and all the saguaro cactus that bear fruit forth animals and people and medicinal plants.
The lives of all O’odham are altered. The people have endured this demeaning system of oppression.
The Dalai Lama said, “Go to Lhasa and investigate for yourself if the Tibetan people are happy under Chinese authority that restricts Tibetan cultural practices.”
When young people are taking their lives out of hopelessness and alcoholism and drug use, and there are all the abuses, sexual and domestic violence, this is the evidence of a broken O’odham society. I know only to be O’odham. I can not embrace a foreign culture and foreign norms not of my ancestors. All the strength and wisdom is who we are as O’odham.
When our world comes under attack the warriors only need a signal.
They are there willing to stand firm. Here I stand.
-Ophelia (Ofelia) Rivas
“The lives of all O’odham are altered. The people have endured this demeaning system of oppression.”