Sacred Native American Burial Sites Are Being Blown Up For Trump's Wall
Contractors working on President Donald Trump’s wall along the U.S.-Mexico border are blowing up the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in southern Arizona, according to The Intercept.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirmed in a statement to the publication that workers began blasting this week and will continue through the end of the month.
“The construction contractor has begun controlled blasting, in preparation for new border wall system construction, within the Roosevelt Reservation at Monument Mountain in the U.S. Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector,” the statement read, referencing an area also known as Monument Hill. “The controlled blasting is targeted and will continue intermittently for the rest of the month.”
The statement also said the agency “will continue to have an environmental monitor present during these activities as well as on-going clearing activities.”
But that assurance did not sit well with Rep. Raúl Grijalva, the Arizona Democrat who chairs the House Committee on Natural Resources.
Grijalva told The Intercept he has no faith that the Department of Homeland Security’s “environmental monitor will do anything to avoid, mitigate, or even point out some of the sacrilegious things that are occurring and will continue to occur, given the way they’re proceeding.”
The congressman visited the Organ Pipe last month with archaeologists and leaders of the Tohono O’odham Nation, “whose ancestral homelands and sacred burial sites are in the crosshairs of President Donald Trump’s border wall expansion.”
Grijalva said one of the burial sites is “right in the path,” which he said means “the one indignation of the blasting on the hill is shortly to follow with other indignations and disrespect.” He also said that “DHS had mentioned to the tribes that they would back off on developing the hill, but the work is still being done.”
The Intercept reported that Organ Pipe was designated a UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve in 1976 and was already considered one of the most controversial areas for Trump’s border wall even before the blasting began.
Along with the fact that this site comprises the homelands of the Tohono O’odham, it is also home to “the only naturally occurring source of fresh water for miles around.” Floodlights that will accompany the wall are likely to interrupt the migration of several rare desert animal species, the publication reported.
“A historically significant area is going to be changed irreparably,” Grijalva said. “You’re never going to be able to put it back together.”