Wednesday, October 24, 2007

RIO GRANDE VALLEY: Indigenous North American Title Holders Protest and Resist Occupation of Lands in South Texas

Please pass on to any interested parties. Thanks!

Indigenous North American title holders protest

and resist occupation of their lands in South Texas!

Independent indigenous communities of Nde’ (Apache) people who’ve endured and survived waves of colonization since the 17th century are protesting the threats by the U.S. National Security Agency to impose a wall upon their tradtional territories. The binational indigenous people of el Calaboz, el Ranchito and la Paloma rancherías, in South Texas, 14 miles best of Brownsville (U.S.)and Matamoros (Mexico), whose orginal land titles designate as theirs the lands on both sides of the Mexico-U.S. International Boundary, are at the center of a crucial site of North American indigenous resistance against militarizad occupation and genocide by the nation-states.

This is a call for support and acknowledgement among all individuals, groups and organizations currently engaged in opposition against the U.S. Executive and Congressional orders to the U.S.National Security Agency to build the wall of violence, destruction and death.

The following is an excerpt from a longer letter written Dr. Eloisa Garcia Tamez (Lipan Apache) of el Calaboz rancheria, Cameron County, Texas, which is one of several indigenous communities targeted for occupation by the wall imposed by Homeland Security National Security Agency. Dr. Tamez is the descendent of Lipan and Chiricahua Apache survivors of the death hunts against Apaches in Texas and northern Mexico. She is also of Basque heritage, from Basque indentureds who were forciblly removed from their homelands of Santander in the 17th and 18th centuries and relocated to the Americas. These independent Apache rancherias are nestled interdependently among rich ecological sites of indigenous lifeways sacred to the survival of the region’s delicate ecosystems—one of the most diverse life systems in North America.

Dr. Tamez gave her permission to distribute her critique of the planned occupation of indigenous communities in el Calaboz, el Ranchito, and la Paloma—all Lipan Apache land grant title holding communities in South Texas. They are currently one of many communities designated for increased militarized occupation by National Security Agency, Border Patrol, INS, DEA and DoD—all of which is supervised by the Joint Task Force.

Indigenous title-holders & their lands at the U.S-M.X. International Boundary need support & protection.

Indigenous title holders require protection against forced occupations and land grabs by corporations and nation-states which use arms, intimidation and threats against elders to impose destructive walls. Walls impose economic, social, political and military conditions upon indigenous groups who live in occupied areas.

Indigenous women's resistances are made invisible in current discussions which frame the militarized wall simplistically as either a national security measure against

'the war on drugs' and 'the war on terror' or

a de-colonization social struggle against the forces of neo-liberal NAFTA and labor.

Bi-national MX-U.S. Indigenous women's resistances reveal

the issues are far more complex!

Go to this link:

Map of Proposed Border Fence, Rio Grande Valley, Austin American-Statesman, Oct. 1, 2007.

Excerpt of Dr. Tamez' 2nd letter to President George W. Bush:

Eloisa G. Taméz, RN, PhD, FAAN

P. O. Box 1737

San Benito, Texas 78586

September 21, 2007

George W. Bush

The President of the United States and

Commander in Chief

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW

Washington DC 20500

The Honorable President George W. Bush:

Please accept my gratitude for your response dated July 2, 2007, through Darren K. Hipp, your Special Assistant and Director of Presidential Correspondence. My appeal for justice is made directly to you, President Bush, as the Commander in Chief, through direct line of authority, with the knowledge that you initiate Executive Orders and National Security Directives. I am a citizen who has been harmed by more than one government agency and must advocate for myself since neither the Congressman nor the Senator within my geographical area fulfill that rule following many requests from me over the nearly 10 years that I have disputed the unfair treatment and absence of justice in the 'greatest democracy' in the whole world.

The most recent rejection came from the Senator’s office. I found it rather interesting that shortly thereafter she appeared at a grandstand advocating for a Veterans Hospital in the Rio Grande Valley. Truthfully, she did not sound very convincing that she indeed is passionate about adequate health care for our valley veterans emphasizing that the care was being extended through the initiation of a new “clinic” in Harlingen, Texas. Knowing this, I can assure you, veterans will still be sent to San Antonio because the medical school controls that.

I appeal to you because I believe, although you are not the only one who will listen to me, you are the only one fully in authority to take action. I want to share with you [some of] my relationships with United States government entities. All issues seem to end with similar outcomes, i.e., no solution nor pro-active advocacy and increasing negative impacts leading to personal pain and suffering and the destruction of community health and well-being.

1. Department of Veterans Affairs

I have been assessed and reassessed for the line-of-duty injury numerous times, only to be told that my injury does not merit an increase in disability. This issue has been going on since 2000 and I have just received notification (See enclosed VA document). Neither

the Army or the Department of Veterans Affairs has been accountable for the burden of cost resulting from my line-of-duty injury. My personal health care insurance paid for the best practice medical care which I received—too long after the incident thus finding irreparable permanent damage which has resulted in less than optimal physical functioning, recovery and prognosis. These outcomes are minimized by the VA and justified in language that only VA representatives understand. Additionally, the summary lacks specificity and demands definition. For example: Page 8, fourth paragraph, second sentence of the document enclosed, “A higher evaluation of 40 percent is not warranted unless arm motion is limited to 25 degrees from the side”. Paragraph three includes a flexion, abduction, internal rotation, and external rotation. My question to this is: What arm motion must be at “25 degrees from the side”?

All veterans are equal, no matter what age, whether reservist or active duty, no matter when military service took place, and no matter what injury. However, the evidence confirms disparity.

2. Homeland Security

In mid July 2007, I was informed by telephone that Homeland Security plans to split my property with a wall/fence. The informant (Border Patrol Agent Rick Cavazos) indicated that the government, under a National Security Directive, plans to build a fence on my private property with or without my consent or approval. For the record, land grant title holders currently own properties which extend to north of the levee but also south of the levee of the Rio Grande. Of this, the only ‘choice’ given me is that I can access my land south of the levee via a proposed checkpoint that will be built three miles east of my property (Garza Road). Many elders in our community will be denied basic freedoms to access their private property, due to the burden this ‘access’ will impose on their daily lives. The government denies the economic, social and cultural divides which are entrenched in the agrarian, land-based cultures indigenous to South Texas. Significant sectors of our communities will not be economically or socially positioned to travel three miles and through a security check-point to access their land grant private property holdings. Effectively, this measure would seriously sever an indigenous community from cultural resources, and cause immeasurable injury to community economic, social, ecological proprietorship and future development.

This aggressive and invasive action against our historically embedded communities is an encroachment and threat to a significant indigenous Texas way of life. Furthermore, from the community’s perspective, the enforcement of a wall/fence on our private property is nothing short of a landgrab, of which our community has witnessed prior waves throughout the history of South Texas and positions our community in a tense conflict with an aggressive federal entity. This purely political threat is viewed as a tool to destroy, and potentially extinct, a recognized and significant Texas cultural community and state treasure.

As an indigenous person of South Texas, descendent from uninterrupted land grant title holders of both Native American and European ancestry, I am a citizen who has been harmed by the Senate’s passage of a 370-mile wall/fence. This wall/fence is designated to be constructed north of the levee of the Rio Grande, which is on my private property. Not only I, but every elder in the community who are also land grant title holders, stand to incur significant losses of our land-based culture, economy, natural resources, and fundamental freedoms to have unimpeded access to our private property.

I must advocate for myself, and each of my elderly relatives, as well as my descendents, since neither the Congressman nor the Senator within my geographical area fulfilled the role of being proactive on behalf of land grant title holders in the historically recognized

Texas Medallion land grant communities of El Ranchito, El Calaboz, and La Paloma, situated approximately 14 miles west of Brownsville, on Highway 281, the historical [Spanish-Mexican] “Camino Militar”, or [Confederate States-United States] Military Highway. The actions of Homeland Security directly impact my community in El Calaboz, Cameron County, Texas, and the United States. The building of the wall/fence on my private property, without community stakeholder consent, but through coercion and denial of justice, is the most recent of a series of ‘fences’ challenging me with regard to the United States Government.

3. United States International Boundary and Water Commission

About five years ago, I arrived home from my employment late one day and discovered that this agency had torn down the fence on my property north of the levee. When I inquired, I was told that they were authorized to have 100 feet on either side from the center of the levee. My deed, which showed a 50 foot access lien on either side from the center of the levee, originated in 1936 when the government came and built the levee and split land-grant property without the consent or permission of land grant title holders. Five years ago, not only was the fence torn down, I was never notified of the government’s intent. I reminded the man in charge at the time (Anzaldua, I believe) that 1936 tactics and landgrab procedures no longer function in our communities. The fence was reluctantly replaced after more than a year of follow-up phone calls from me, under the advisement of legal counsel. Since this incident, I have had numerous concerns regarding my personal safety when I must have direct contact with Border Patrol officers who are allowed by me to have direct access to my property, as per the access lien.

I am truly disappointed that at every encounter with the United States government, I am faced with dismay, causing physical and mental harm and injury. If I go to the Congressman or the Senator of my district, I am told they cannot do anything. In regards to military and veteran issues, I asked the Senator to advocate for representation on a national veteran’s committee in the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA). I was denied. So, therefore, with all due respect, I request membership in a national committee at DVA. As a military person and a veteran, I have followed the chain of command. With all due respect, I must pursue resolution directly with the Commander in Chief.


Eloisa G. Taméz, RN, PhD, FAAN

Courtesy of: Jose Nadien / Valley World Peace Alliance