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Old 11-01-2005, 09:26 PM   #1
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O'odham Tell U.N. Rapporteur Of Struggles

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FROM: INDIAN COUNTRY TODAY NEWSPAPER

_http://www.indiancountry.com/content.cfm?id=1096411826_
(http://www.indiancountry.com/content.cfm?id=1096411826)

O'odham Tell U.N. Rapporteur Of Struggles

(javascript:PrintWindow();) Posted: October 31, 2005 by: _Brenda Norrell_
(http://www.indiancountry.com/author.cfm?id=448) / Indian Country Today

_Click to Enlarge_ (http://www.indiancountry.com/pix/1096411826_large.jpg)
(http://www.indiancountry.com/pix/1096411826_large.jpg) Photo courtesy
Tdelowe -- U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
of Indigenous Peoples Rodolfo Stavenhagen met with O'odham elders. TUCSON,
Ariz. - O'odham in Mexico told a U.N. representative of human rights abuses
along the international border of the United States and Mexico which threaten
the him'dag (the O'odham way of life) and their future generations.

The O'odham delegation from Cu:Wi I-gersk community in Mexico met with
Rodolfo Stavenhagen, the U.N. rapporteur on human rights and fundamental freedoms
of indigenous peoples, during a private reception.

Stavenhagen was in Tucson, along with 18 indigenous experts from around the
globe, for a closed-door law seminar hosted by the University

of Arizona.

''We told him that the Border Patrol killed O'odham, have pulled weapons on
our elderly and people crossing on the traditional routes,'' Rivas told
Indian Country Today.

During the private meeting, traditional O'odham told Stavenhagen that they
are losing land in their communities in Mexico because of encroachment by
non-Indians. Further, human traffickers and drug traffickers make the elderly
fear for their lives.

''The O'odham him'dag, our way of life, is at severe risk as there are more
restrictions on O'odham traveling on ancestral routes to attend ceremonies
and visit holy places of the O'odham,'' Rivas told Stavenhagen, adding that
family members are also harassed when they cross the border

for visits.

Rivas said the severe deterioration of the O'odham way of life continues as
their sacred holy places and burial sites are threatened by excavation
projects and development. The holy places include Hodai Kuk (Puerto Penasco) on
the northwest coast of mainland Mexico, where development closed access to the
sacred sea.

For O'odham, the international border has physically divided O'odham
communities in the United States and Mexico since the time of the Treaty of
Guadalupe and the Gadsden Purchase in the late 1800s. Now, O'odham face increased
militarization.

Rivas said the Tohono O'odham Nation in the United States has worked with
the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the U.S. Border Patrol.
However, Rivas said Homeland Security and the Border Patrol harass O'odham and
deprive them of their human rights, including their right to cross the border
for religious purposes and ceremonies.

Seventy-four miles of the international border is O'odham territory.

''If your color is brown, then you are treated as an alien - that is how the
O'odham are treated,'' Rivas said.

Referring to border and immigration officials, she said, ''There is
increased violence; they have no idea who the O'odham people are.''

Rivas said several O'odham have been deported and killed by the Border
Patrol. Further, she said O'odham who openly voice their concerns are ostracized
and restricted services by the tribal government in the United States.

While 300 people from Mexico and other Latin American countries died
attempting to cross the Arizona border into the United States last year, Rivas said
the U.S. government has criminalized the act of giving a dying person a drink
of water.

With desert temperatures reaching 120 degrees during summer months, Rivas
said O'odham who offer water or help could be charged with aiding and abetting
undocumented people.

After meeting with Stavenhagen in Tucson, Rivas said Stavenhagen responded
favorably to their request for help locating legal assistance to protect their
land base for O'odham.

Further, Stavenhagen supported the protection of O'odham sacred sites, and
said he would document the reports of human rights abuses and forward those to
the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

BorderLinks, a human rights organization, helped make possible the travel
and stay in Tucson for O'odham elders to meet with Stavenhagen.

However, Rivas said the University of Arizona did not respond to a request
from the Cu:Wi I-gersk community for Stavenhagen to personally visit their
community and tour the border area.

During Stavenhagen's previous visit to southern Arizona, O'odham informed
him of a plan by a consortium of universities in Mexico to excavate the
O'odham's sacred area at Quitovoc.

Rivas said through prayer and protest, the project was halted.

''Quitovoc is one of our most sacred sites: our most sacred ceremony is held
there. It is a renewal ceremony for the entire universe - all of the
animals, plants and people.

''The elderly believe [that] in conducting this ceremony we keep the balance
of the universe. As O'odham, that is our responsibility, that is our
mandate, the directive from our Creator.''
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Old 11-01-2005, 09:27 PM   #2
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************************************************** ************
This Message Is Reprinted Under The Fair Use
Doctrine Of International Copyright Law:
_http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html_ (http://www4.law.co
rnell.edu/uscode/17/107.html)
************************************************** ************

FROM: INDIAN COUNTRY TODAY NEWSPAPER

_http://www.indiancountry.com/content.cfm?id=1096411824_
(http://www.indiancountry.com/content.cfm?id=1096411824)

O'odham Meet With Tibetan Spiritual Leader

(javascript:PrintWindow();) Posted: October 31, 2005 by: _Brenda Norrell_
(http://www.indiancountry.com/author.cfm?id=448) / Indian Country Today

_Click to Enlarge_ (http://www.indiancountry.com/pix/1096411824_large.jpg)
(http://www.indiancountry.com/pix/1096411824_large.jpg) Photo courtesy
Ofelia Rivas -- the Dalai Lama met with "O'odham Voice Against the Wall"
founder Ofelia Rivas and other members of the O'odham communities while in
Tucson in September to speak on "Creating Peace in a Violent World." TUCSON,
Ariz. - His Holiness the Dalai Lama met with O'odham from the border region,
connected in hearts and spirits through the bonds of exile and oppression by the
governments of the world, O'odham said.

Encouraging warm-heartedness and compassion in a region where border
crossers are harassed, arrested or die of thirst in the desert, the Dalai Lama spoke
on ''Creating Peace in a Violent World.''

During his visit to Tucson in September, the Dalai Lama met with O'odham,
including Ofelia Rivas, founder of ''O'odham Voice Against the Wall,'' a
community group opposing a border wall which would dissect traditional O'odham
communities in the United States and Mexico.

Rivas said the Dalai Lama's presence would have a lasting benefit for her
tribe.

''His Holiness came out through the security personnel smiling and extending
his hand to touch and bless the O'odham children. His Holiness listened to
greeting words in O'odham and accepted a special gift and a single flower from
one of the children.''

After meeting with the children, the Dalai Lama embraced Rivas and shared a
message with her.

''Our lives and our children's lives are forever changed,'' Rivas said.

''We experienced the struggle and the peace of the life of His Holiness,
which is the same struggle and effort of the O'odham living on the borders of
the United States/Mexico international boundary.

''We experienced His Holiness as the living light and the living presence of
peace.''

Meanwhile, John Halpern, Buddhist and filmmaker from New York, has produced
the film ''Refuge'' with Martin Scorsese and Oliver Stone, on the everyday
life of the Dalai Lama.

''John came to O'odham territory to film the existence of the wall,'' Rivas
said. Filmmakers interviewed O'odham along the international border and
filmed construction of the ''wall'' that is under way along the border of Arizona.

''Refuge'' was slated for a West Coast premiere at the Century City (Calif.)
Film Festival in the last week of October.

Rivas said ''Dalai Lama'' means ''Ocean of Wisdom.'' Tibetans normally refer
to His Holiness as ''Yeshe Norbu'' (the Wish-Fulfilling Gem) or simply
''Kundun'' (The Presence).

The Dalai Lamas are manifestations of the Buddha of Compassion, who chose to
take rebirth for the purpose of serving other human beings. His Holiness is
the 14th reincarnation of the Buddha of Compassion.

Comparing the Dalai Lama's struggle to the indigenous who are on the border,
Rivas said that in 1959, the Dalai Lama was forced into exile in India after
the Chinese military occupied Tibet. He has resided since that time in
Dharamsala, northern India, seat of the Tibetan government in exile.

Rivas said the U.S./Mexico international border as established in the Treaty
of Guadalupe and, in 1853, the Gadsden Purchase, dissected the territory of
the O'odham.

Today, O'odham live on both sides of the international border. However, she
said many O'odham live in exile from their original birthplaces.

Rivas said the U.S. government's ''wall'' project is intended to permanently
seal the entire international border of the United States and Mexico, as
documented in a 350-page report released by the Department of Homeland Security
in 2002.

Currently, there is increased militarization of the United States border,
the northern O'odham territory, and increased danger to the remaining
traditional O'odham using ancestral routes.

''The O'odham are harassed and held at gunpoint during interrogations, as
well as killed by the Border Patrol military,'' she said.

Referring to the traditional route across the border, she said, ''The
traditional O'odham, since the time of creation, have held ceremonies and used
ancestral routes to visit sacred holy places and visit families.''
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