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Protect Sacred Sites: Stop Toxic Dumping on O'odham Land

by Jeff Tuesday, Apr. 29, 2008 at 9:26 PM
petition@tiamatpublications.com

On March 29, 2008 Traditional O’odham leaders and International Supporters arrived in the small village of Quitovac in the Northern Sonoran State of Mexico to honor the land, the sky, the water, and all life, and to continue organizing to stop the building of a toxic waste dump that’s planned to be placed just a few miles from one of the most sacred ceremony sites of the O’odham.

On March 29, 2008 Traditional O’odham leaders and International Supporters arrived in the small village of Quitovac in the Northern Sonoran State of Mexico to honor the land, the sky, the water, and all life, and to continue organizing to stop the building of a toxic waste dump that’s planned to be placed just a few miles from one of the most sacred ceremony sites of the O’odham.

It was a beautiful spring weekend – the air smelled of earth and the fragrance of the spring growth. The surroundings told of things that will come to pass and in doing so, reinforced the urgency of stopping not only this one toxic desecration, but also of the urgency of making sure that everyone the world over realizes the importance of this period in time – this period of great change. As we sat under the desert stars the evening before the gathering the words of Subcomandante Marcos of the Zapatistas echoed in my consciousness: Now we have to take the land's destiny and its defense into our hands...We, those who have the color of the earth and hearts of corn, without regard to skin color - we have to do it, because if we don't, the whole world is going to disappear.

The gathering in Quitovac represented yet another chapter in the fight to stop the building of the toxic dump proposed to be built by the Mexican company CEGIR. Since early in 2006 the traditional O’odham residing in the occupied territories of Northern Mexico and the South Western United States (and their international supporters) have persistently and patiently organized, protested and petitioned to try to convince the Mexican government federal Environment and Natural Resources Secretariat (SEMARNAT) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to stop CEGIR from building this toxic dump. So far, protest and international attention has held back the initial phases of the dump construction, but there have been no official statements from SEMARNAT, CEGIR or any other entity that the plans to build the dump have actually been officially canceled.

The placement of this toxic dump in Sonora, very close to one of the O’odham’s most sacred sites, is yet another blatant example of the environmental racism that characterizes the dominant culture. The toxic waste that will be put into this dump, should we fail to stop its construction, will be generated primarily by the maquiladoras along the border. These factories, made possible by NAFTA, are violating the human rights of those who work in them, and are now seeking to violate the sacred waters of Quitovac, all to satiate the consumer sickness and the greed of the US corporations who profit from the human misery and environmental destruction that they wreak.

It has been said before, and it must be said again – everything is connected. No one is exempt from the cycles of nature. We must all take action now to stop this dump from being built!

The O’odham Voice Against the Wall, the O’odham Solidarity Project, Green Action, the Indigenous Environmental Network, the International Indian Treaty Council, and many other organizations and individuals are aware of this issue and will be taking action each in their own way!

For more information and for contact information for letter writing please visit the Green Action website.

In addition the O’odham Solidarity Project is asking that all concerned individuals and organizations please sign the petition that we will be circulating: Protect Sacred Sites: Stop Toxic Dumping on O'odham Lands

We implore all supporters to please write letters to the officials listed on the Green Action website and to sign the online petition being circulated. In the past we have won concrete victories using these basic tactics. Let’s hope that this time, once again, nothing more will be needed!

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