/ Modified dec 9, 2016 7:25 a.m.

Tohono O'odham Say No to Border Wall on Their Land

Tribe has crossed political border traversing ancestral land since time immemorial.

Tohono O'odham seal Seal of the Tohono O'odham Nation.

By Carrie Jung, Fronteras Desk

Tribal leadership of Tohono O’odham Nation in Southern Arizona said they won't support a border wall project on their land. Part of their reservation extends into Mexico and covers 75 miles of the international border.

The tribe’s chairman and vice chair said the plan was always to try to work with whoever holds the office of the United States president. But, they added, it’s still too early to tell exactly how Donald Trump’s administration will impact the tribe.

Vice Chairman Verlon Jose explained tribal members have traversed their ancestral land since time immemorial, and a wall of any sort would not be supported by the community.

"Over my dead body will a wall be built," Jose said, describing some community members' sentiments. "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."

Jose said he invites president elect Trump to come down to the reservation to see why a physical wall, in his opinion, would not be a good idea for the tribe or the country.

Fronteras Desk
This story is from the Fronteras Desk, a collaboration of Southwestern public radio stations, including NPR 89.1. Read more from the Fronteras Desk.
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