- By Native News Online Staff
SAN DIEGO — The La Posta Band of the Diegueño Mission Indians have filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of California, seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to halt the construction of the border wall promoted by President Donald Trump on the southern border.
The lawsuit was announced by Save the Homelands of the Indigenous and End Land Desecration (SHIELD), a coalition of advocates battling the Trump Administration’s construction of a border wall on sacred Kumeyaay sites and burial grounds.
The lawsuit maintains the construction of the wall on their ancestral lands in San Diego and Imperial Counties in southern California at the border with Mexico is violating the constitutional rights of the La Posta citizens.
“Since time immemorial, the Kumeyaay people have lived in the area near San Diego and Imperial Counties surrounding what is now the United States-Mexico border,” the court filing reads. “Since the arrival of Europeans in the region, the Kumeyaay territory, culture, religion, and very existence have been under attack to make way for non-Indian settlement. In the most recent episode of Indigenous erasure, the President of the United States and his administration are desecrating Kumeyaay ancestral burial and sacred sites to make way for a wall along the southern border.”
LaPosta tribal members, along with other Kumeyaay tribal members, have been actively protesting the construction of the Border Wall because of the impacts of construction to tribal cultural sites.
“We cannot sit back and continue to watch the bones of our ancestors being dug up and strewn about like random debris. Ancestral Kumeyaay burials are being impacted, and construction continues to tear through our former village sites along the border wall areas,” Cynthia Parada, spokeswoman for SHIELD and council member with the La Posta tribe, said.
“With no prior consideration or attempt to mitigate impacts, our sacred sites are being carved into and desecrated for construction of the Border Wall. We have asked for formal government to government consultation, yet the Border Patrol and Army Corps of Engineers continue to move forward with grading and bulldozing through our ancestral lands. With no other options, we now ask the court to intervene and stop the construction so that consultation can take place to mitigate the impacts to our sacred sites,” Parada continues.
A portion of the lawsuit says the construction is “excavating and desecrating Kumeyaay remains and prohibiting Tribal members from properly treating the remains and participating in religious ceremonies at the Tribe’s sacred sites where the border wall construction is taking place.” It further states that no tribal consultation has taken place between the federal government and the tribe.
The filed lawsuit names President Donald J. Trump; Secretary Mark Esper, U.S. Secretary of Defense; Secretary Chad Wolf, Acting U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security; and Lieutenant General Todd T. Semonite, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, all in their official capacities, as defendants.
The plaintiffs are represented by Rosette LLP, a leading majority-Indian owned national law firm representing tribal governments and tribal entities.
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