fbpx
 

WASHINGTON — Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney had just finished her update to the National Congress of the American Indians when she was confronted during the question-and-answer period by tribal leaders about the Trump administration’s insensitivity to American Indian issues.

After a tense exchange with members of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe about the ongoing land-in-trust battle with the Dept. of Interior, the chairman of another tribe addressed Sweeney about the Trump administration’s handling of another issue that has been making headlines. 

Chairman Ned Norris Jr. of the Tohono O’odham Tribe stood to let Sweeney know about his displeasure with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection blasting sacred sites for Trump’s border wall on ancestral homelands of his Tribe.

"They desecrated those human remains that were there,"  Chairman Norris said. "You have an obligation to protect sacred sites and sacred areas and religious areas for Native American people. You have failed to make sure...I call on you to exercise your responsibility and stop the destruction of sacred sites of Native American communities."

Sweeney simply thanked the tribal chairman for his comments.

Chairman Norris was referring to construction crews recently blasting sacred burial sites along Monument Hill at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. 

Not only is the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument sacred to the Tohono O’odham Nation, but the area has been designated as a biosphere reserve by the United Nations because it is full of rare plants and animals.

The blasting caught the attention of Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), whose district includes the reservation. He visited the construction zone last month. 

"At the end of this month we're holding a hearing to deal with this issue," Grijalva told KVOA, the ABC-affiliate in Tucson. "Homeland Security on the next day will also hold a hearing on the issues of accountability for the agency and why this occurring."

More Stories Like This

Pressure Mounts on Sen. Mark Kelly to Support Save Oak Flats Act
Nevada Governor Apologizes for State's Role in Forced Assimilation of Native Youth
Native News Weekly (December 5, 2021): D.C. Briefs
Minnesota American Indian Chamber of Commerce Hosts 33rd Annual Dinner
University of Alabama Keeps Indigenous Remains in Paper Bags; Federal NAGPRA Committee Says Remains are Ancestors of Tribes & Can Be Returned

It's still 2021.  Before you go ... 

This month, we’re asking our readers to help us raise $20,000 to fund our Indigenous-led newsroom. If you’re a regular reader of Native News Online, you know that we bring a Native perspective to the news and report important stories that the mainstream media often overlooks. While our news is free for everyone to read, it is not free to produce.  That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation this month to help us keep producing quality journalism and elevating Indigenous voices.  Any contribution of any amount — big or small — gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you. 

About The Author
Author: DanielleEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.