Published November 15, 2016
SELLS, ARIZONA — Seventy-five miles of the Tohono O’odham Nation tribal land is an international border with Mexico. Tohono O’odham Nation tribal officials are now dealing with the possibility those 62-miles may be subjected to a wall between the southern border of the United States and northern border of Mexico.
The possibility became real with the election of Donald Trump, who made the wall between the U.S. and Mexico a major part of his campaign. At rallies, his supporters chanted “build the wall.”
Vice Chairman Verlon Jose
Tohono O’odham Nation Vice Chairman Verlon Jose says his fellow tribal members have gone back and forth between their tribal lands and Mexico which contains some of the tribe’s ancestral land since time immemorial.
“Over my dead body will a wall be built,” Jose said, describing some his tribal citizens’ sentiments to a local television station. He further said the tribal community would not support any wall of any sort.
“I don’t wish to die but I do 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 our people but for the American people.”
Tohono O’odham Nation tribal officials say they would welcome a meeting with President-elect Trump to discuss the issue, as they have try to work with top federal issues for the progress of their tribe.
The Tohono O’odham Nation is a federally-recognized tribe that includes approximately 28,000 members occupying tribal lands in Southwestern Arizona.