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Texas Indigenous Group Pleads for Help from Assault by Homeland Security

LatinaLista — When the term indigenous is used, first thoughts travel to foreign countries. For some reason, indigenous is equated to people who are of low education, speak in their own tongue, dress differently from the mainstream, live in poverty — far away.
Rarely does the average person think of an indigenous person as someone who has a spiritual link with their lands or has a college degree or lives right here in the United States.
Native Americans are the United States’ indigenous people. Their reverential ties to Mother Earth are well known. Their place in US history as victims of documented government abuse is legendary.
That’s why a recent plea for help from a daughter of a Lipan Apache that is making the rounds of the blogosphere is not only interesting for its content but for the historical record for which it will enter.
It is the 21st century version of Washington ignoring yet again the rights of the indigenous of this nation.

The Lipan Apache were a small group of Eastern Apaches who in an effort to preserve their heritage and lives continuously migrated away from aggressive and hostile people.
So, it’s rather ironic that the latest showdown between some Lipan Apaches and Washington is over the building of the Texas-Mexico border fence through Indian lands.

Poet Margo Tamez
In a letter by the famous Native American poet and activist, Margo Tamez, she outlines the assault her mother and other elders of El Calaboz have been enduring since July from the Border Patrol, Army Corps of Engineers, and the NSA.
It seems Margo’s mother has been harassed by the government because she doesn’t want to give up part of her land grant holdings to the border fence.
In her own words, Margo presents her mother’s case:

Hello friends,
I am informing you of recent events in my maternal community of el Calaboz, Texas, a binational land grant indigenous rancheria of Lipan Apache, Chiricahua and Basque descent.
I am foregrounding this because I have been asked to submit documentation through the NGO, the International Indigenous Treaty Council, for the CERD investigation of human rights and indigenous rights abuses by the U.S. government against my mother community.
The Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) report to be directed toward the United Nation in March 2008, which will for the first time in over a decade focus on abuses by the United States to oppressed groups.
This year, as a result of the recently approved UN Declaration of Indigenous Peoples rights, indigenous people have a specific opportunity to submit documents on behalf of their communities.
I’ll be working hard the next week to complete a draft document, with evidentiary materials, for review by an international human rights and indigenous rights attorney who recently accompanied me on an investigatory field trip to my paternal community, Redford, TX, of the Jumano Apache.
I wanted to keep you informed of this progress, and through this following letter, establish a way to communicate what I’m doing and how it impacts all my work. See the earlier letter below.
Margo Tamez
Subject: Emergency in el Calaboz, Lipan Apache & Basque-Indigena North American Land Title Holders!!!
Dear relatives,
I wish I was writing under better circumstances, but I must be fast and direct.
My mother and elders of El Calaboz, since July have been the targets of numerous threats and harassments by the Border Patrol, Army Corps of Engineers, NSA, and the U.S. related to the proposed building of a fence on their levee.
Since July, they have been the targets of numerous telephone calls, unexpected and uninvited visits on their lands, informing them that they will have to relinquish parts of their land grant holdings to the border fence buildup. The NSA demands that elders give up their lands to build the levee, and further, that they travel a distance of 3 miles, to go through checkpoints, to walk, recreate, and to farm and herd goats and cattle, ON THEIR OWN LANDS.
This threat against indigenous people, life ways and lands has been very very serious and stress inducing to local leaders, such as Dr. Eloisa Garcia Tamez, who has been in isolation from the larger indigenous rights community due to the invisibility of indigenous people of South Texas and Northern Tamaulipas to the larger social justice conversation regarding the border issues.
However recent events, of the last 5 days cause us to feel that we are in urgent need of immediate human rights observers in the area, deployed by all who can help as soon as possible–immediate relief.
My mother informed me, as I got back into cell range out of Redford, TX, on Monday, November 13, that Army Corps of Engineers, Border Patrol and National Security Agency teams have been going house to house, and calling on her personal office phone, her cell phone and in other venues, tracking down and enclosing upon the people and telling them that they have no other choice in this matter. They are telling elders and other vulnerable people that “the wall is going on these lands whether you like it or not, and you have to sell your land to the U.S.”
My mother, Eloisa Garcia Tamez, Lipan Apache (descendant of Mexican Chiricahua descent elder, Aniceto Garcia, who gave her traditional indigenous birth welcoming ceremony and lightning ceremony), is resisting the forced occupation with firm resistance. She has already had two major confrontations with NSA since July–one in her office at the University of Texas at Brownsville, where she is the Director of a Nursing Program and where she conducts research on diabetes among indigenous people of the MX-US binational region of South Texas and Tamaulipas.
She reports that some land owners in the rancheria area of El Calaboz, La Paloma and El Ranchito, under pressure to sell to the U.S. without prior and informed consent, have already signed over their lands, due to their ongoing state of impoverishment and exploitation in the area under colonization, corporatism, NAFTA and militarization.
This is an outrage, but more, this is a significant violation of United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous People, recently ratified and accepted by all UN nations, except the U.S., Canada, and Australia. Furthermore, it is a violation of the United Nations CERD, Committee on Elimination of Racism and Racial Discrimination.
My mother is under great stress and crisis, unknowing if the Army soldiers and the NSA agents will be forcibly demanding that she sign documents. She reports that they are calling her at all hours, seven days a week. She has firmly told them not to call her anymore, nor to call her at all hours of the night and day, nor to call on the weekends any further.She asked them to meet with her in a public space and to tell their supervisors to come.They refuse to do so. Instead, they continue to harass and intimidate.
At this time, due to the great stress the elders are currently under, communicated to me, because they are being demanded under covert tactics, to relinquish indigenous lands, I feel that I MUST call upon my relatives, friends, colleagues, especially associates in Texas within driving distance to the Rio Grande valley region, and involved in indigenous rights issues, to come forth and aid us.
Please! Please help indigenous women land title holders resisting forced occupation in their own lands! Please do not hesitate to forward this to people in your own networks in media, journalism, social and environmental justice, human rights, indigenous rights advocacy and public health watch groups!
Margo Tamez
Jumano Apache West Texas-Chihuahua Lipan Apache South Texas-Tamaulipas, Apacheria Nuevo Santander Land Grant–Basque Colony)

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  • Diana Joe
    November 19, 2007 at 6:27 pm

    Good article Marisa-it feels so great to see that the indigenous peoples are alive and well along the beautifilled state Of Tejas-Margos’ story is only a mere tremor on this sacred Earth-wait till you see us all UNITED against this movement to further oppress the generationally oppressed! The historical truamas must be halted! The gentrifications must be halted! The genocide must END!
    A~ho mitakuye-Oyasin!
    Adelante bonita gente UNIDA~

  • Frank
    November 19, 2007 at 7:48 pm

    What genocide? I know of no native indian slaughters going on in this country.
    When I think of indigenous, I think of ANYONE who was born in this country. Makes sense to me.!
    By the way, ever here of the law of “Emminant Domain”?

  • yave begnet
    November 19, 2007 at 9:26 pm

    It’s my understanding the genocide already happened.
    And there’s not been a recent Supreme Court decision more widely reviled (most fiercely by conservatives) than the Court’s 2005 Kelo decision upholding the right of a municipal government to take private land by eminent domain. It really struck a nerve somewhere in the national consciousness.

  • turtlebella
    November 19, 2007 at 9:41 pm

    wait, Frank, you are being sarcastic, right???!!
    Thanks for letting us know about this, Marisa. I’m horrified (not surprised but horrified… there seems no limit to my horror lately). Pinche Homeland Security.

  • Frank
    November 20, 2007 at 7:42 am

    yave, of course the genocide already occured over 200 years ago and your Spanish ancestors were involved too. My comments were in reply to Diana’s claiming it is still going on today. That isn’t true. If anything the genocide of Whites is going on in this country now and I am not speaking of killings but of pushing them out of the U.S.
    If we didn’t have a Homeland Security how would we protect ourselves from terrorists? Do native indians have a plan for that on their lands?

  • diana joe
    November 20, 2007 at 12:16 pm

    Hi Franko…its been a little while since I’d smelled your highnass’ pestilences-and like with all other assimilated reactions i just had to come get another sniff off of yous-
    Frankee opins-
    -“If we didn’t have a Homeland Security how would we protect ourselves from terrorists”?
    “Do native indians have a plan for that on their lands”?
    Sounds to me like you desperately need new ideas..from the indians..hmm can’t figure why?
    -nothing’s changed here and its been way over 200 years-Frankoff-
    Marisa you’ve interestingly and very cleverly have accomplished promoting your works through the energies of subjects like Frank-thats my girl!
    Keep your head up Ladies!And peel your eye-
    Frank probably is one of the re-enlisted KKK’s that are scrambling to CONTROL the minorities as is their mission.Theres a 63% increase in the latest of KKK’s enlistment! He sounds like a ZENOPHOBE and REACTS like one too! Franks werds-{If anything the genocide of Whites is going on in this country now and I am not speaking of killings but of pushing them out of the U.S.} are dense huh Frank?
    You and all those fearful of getting pushed out of this country must really be convinced that you did something to wrong somebodies or something through the past? Maybe? oh but we must’nt forget Frank claims he doesn’t stay in the past-Thats why he might be on the KKK rosters hmm?
    I love you Frankie!Muah!

  • Frank
    November 20, 2007 at 1:18 pm

    I am not a member of the KKK or any other racist group. I am merely an American for the rule of law and the soveirgnty of our nation’s borders.
    Xenophobe? I am entirely in favor of legal immigration, so how does that word fit me?
    Whites are already the minority in California and much of that can be blamed on illegal immigration. Nothing natural about it. It is genocide against Whites.

  • yave begnet
    November 20, 2007 at 5:33 pm

    Genocide defined (from the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG) – Wikipedia “genocide” entry):
    Article 2 of the CPPCG defines genocide as “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”
    Under no reading of that law, no matter how labored, could immigration today–or whatever it is that’s got your panties in a twist–be considered “genocide against whites.” The claim is beyond ridiculous.
    And my ancestors were from the British Isles, not Spain.

  • Frank
    November 20, 2007 at 5:55 pm

    yave, it was Diana who first commented in this topic and claimed genocide today of native indians in this country. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Why aren’t you setting her straight?

  • Frank
    November 20, 2007 at 6:52 pm

    yave, so you are not of native indian ancestry at all? If not, I have not seen you express your chagrin for some of the negative statements made in this blog about White people and the claim that Whites are here illegally and that we should go back to Europe. There have been a couple of reconquistas in this blog too and I haven’t seen you chastize them.

  • Diana Joe
    November 21, 2007 at 1:09 pm

    Seriously childrens, y’all aren’t making these blogs part of y’alls daily routines?! er’ oh no! *agh sorry I underestimated your highly evolved-social capacities to have the ability to move bad.
    By the way, the reconquista that Frank is so freaked over is part of the side effects of Viagra-uh- at least thats what Glenn Beck was caught whispering to Lou Dobbs backstage at CNN.
    Y’all better get on down to Canada and find an alternative.
    Gobble Gobble

  • Frank
    November 21, 2007 at 7:51 pm

    Y’all? Funny way for a native indian to talk. Sounds like redneck to me.

  • Horace
    November 23, 2007 at 9:31 am

    We’ve been had, Frank. Diana Joe is what yave calls a troll, someone who sits in a skiff driven by an electric motor, sets out a baited hook and hopes for a bite, with the motive of ultimately regaling her/himself with diatribes of hate and discontent.

  • Diana Joe
    November 26, 2007 at 8:44 pm

    takes a redneck to know a redneck..ji ji ji ji y’all got a leak in yer’ ranks boyz.

  • Frank
    November 27, 2007 at 8:14 am

    Know it doesn’t. You know what a redneck is, don’t you? Does that make you one then? I have never known any pure blooded native indians who talk “redneck”. I suspect you aren’t who you claim you are.

  • Frank
    November 27, 2007 at 1:33 pm

    Correction, “no” it doesn’t.

  • diana joe
    November 27, 2007 at 2:35 pm

    Hay Horegus and Frankoff don’t y’all knee wacks have a desert to patrol?
    Theres a possibility you might get employed.
    I am a redneck—–ji ji ji ji ji and my dog chews tabacco too.
    This is better than fishing fer’ crayfishys

  • Frank
    November 27, 2007 at 7:07 pm

    If you are a redneck, then you are no native indian.

  • Quintox
    January 22, 2008 at 10:40 pm

    White people talking of current genocide? WTF? Bottom line white folks have 1.5 children on Average, brown folks have more.
    Now watching 95% of your peoples blood get spilled or succumb to disease (thanks for the blankets ass holes)and then having those who are left herded up and driven like cattle to the driest part of the country where many had no experience living in that climate and even those who did had no buffalo anymore, well now thats a good shot at genocide. Today reservation life, which was forced on those who reside there is with out much opportunity because the Feds have never been on the level.
    So before you get you dirty panties in a wad about some Mexicans wanting to do jobs you most likely see as beneath you anyway or you want to act chicken shit over a bunch of crazy people on the other side of the earth (A fucking fence?!) think about what the word genocide means before you go throwing it around.

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