Doc Yale

Tohono O'odham, the Donald and the Wall
-- more borderline insanity from DT
The Tahono O'odham Reservation (from Al Jazeera America)

The ignorance and arrogance of the Donald is no better illustrated than in learning of the response of the Tohono O’odham Nation to building a wall along the border of their reservation. 

A little background about the Tohono O’odham.  Historically the O’odham inhabited an enormouos area of land in the southwest, extending south to Sonora, Mexico, north to Central Arizona (just north of Phoenix), west to the Gulf of California, and east to the San Pedro River.  This land base was known as the Papagueria and it had been home to the O’odham for thousands of years.  From the early 18th Century through to the present, this land was occupied by foreign governments.  With the independence of Mexico, O’Odham fell under Mexican rule.  Then, in 1853, through the Treaty of La Mesilla, O’odham land was divided in half between the US and Mexico. 

So this nation is has members on both side of the border that move back and forth freely.  Doc Yale visited the reservation six years ago and heard the Tribal leaders’ concerns about the number of illegals that were coming through their reservations. What had once been a trickle of immigrants measured in hundreds per month had become a flood.   Their people had always been quite hospitable to those from the south—but now the number of people crossing were putting a strain on their resources.  There was a plea that they needed assistance—but no call for a barrier.  Their people lived on both sides of the border and had been freely crossing for years and there was no way they wanted to halt this. 

One can only imagine the reaction of these people when small-handed little Donald proposed a wall along the entire US / Mexico border.  And the further reaction when the Donald won the election.  This is Tohono O’odham Nation Vice Chairman Verlon Jose.

A young Tohono O’odham girl smiles and shows
off a peacock feather. The Tohono O’odham Community
Action is working to create a healthy, sustainable and
culturally-vital community for the Tohono O’odham
Nation’s 28,000 members. Photo by Cheryl Francisco.

"Over my dead body will a wall be built. I don’t wish to die, but I wish to work together with people so we can truly protect the homeland of this place they call the United States of America, not only for my people, not only for our Tohono O’odham Nation members, but for the American people."  November 17, 2016

Aside from the legalities of the US government building a wall on treaty land, this case illustrates the absurdity of trying to stop immigration or movement of people with physical barriers.  As anyone who has even passing familiarity with borderlands knows all borders are permeable—and border people cross back and forth with regularity—legally or not.

So let’s sum up the ignorance and arrogance of DT relative to his proposed wall.

On ignorance, I don’t think DT has any idea of the nature of the Mexican border or probably any other border.  He travels via limousine and charter plane from one plush hotel to another.  I doubt he has ever been camped out in the desert and seen pickups loaded to the hilt with immigrants heading north as the sun is setting—or visited the Cabeza Prieta wildlife refuge (another 50 miles of border) where hundreds of immigrants died along ”El Camino del Diablo” for lack of water trying to get to the springs at the western edge of the refuge.  Doc Yale has seen both and it is memorable.  And DT has never thought enough about history to understand why walls don’t work.  Think about the Berlin Wall.  And the Donald likely has no concept of the ties between Mexican nationals and their relatives across the border.  They too, like the O’odham cross back and forth across the border regularly.

And, of course the epitomy of arrogance is the attitude  of DT that he doesn’t care.  So people die  trying to cross the border.  So what if a people like the Tohono O’odham, who have inhabited the region for thousands of years, have their nation cut in half because of an arbitrary political boundary created less than 200 years ago. 

I doubt that the wall building will ever gets to the Tohona O’odham reservation because the border wall is such a dumb idea to begin with.  But it ever gets to that stage, I hope that we will see a protest to rival that against the Dakota Access Pipeline.