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The Trump Administration has begun blasting through a Native American cultural site called Monument Hill in the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in southern Arizona “in preparation for new border wall system construction within the Roosevelt Reservation,” USA Today reported on Friday. And Congressman Raúl Grijalva of Arizona, who is the chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources and whose district contains the reservation and shares 400 miles of border with Mexico, told CBS News that the Administration had begun the construction without any consultation with the Tribe about the impact it would have on this sacred burial site.
Why This Matters:Congressman Grijalva said it best. “This administration is basically trampling on the tribe’s history — and to put it poignantly, it’s ancestry.” It is, sadly, an all too familiar pattern of disrespecting Native American culture — last week it was oil and gas drilling and other destructive development in former national monument areas they shrunk, and now it’s the border wall. Not to mention that the area has been designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in order to conserve its unique and precious ecosystem. And it goes without saying that once these areas are permanently desecrated — you can’t “repair” them and you can’t undo the damage to the ancestors of those Americans whose families had been laid to rest there. This is truly shameful. To use our national security laws to destroy native burial grounds without warning or due process is a new low.
Why Can They Do It?
A little known law passed after the 9/11 terrorist attacks called the REAL ID Act of 2005 gives the federal government the nearly unchallengeable right to waive other laws IF they are harming our national security. Using the REAL ID law authority, the Trump administration has gone beyond its intended scope and has waived dozens of laws including the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Environmental Protection Act in order to construct the border wall. CBS reported that construction of this segment of the border wall has been expedited in Arizona due to an abundance of public land on which to build it, as contrasted to Texas where the border wall must be built on private land, which is harder to acquire. U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement, “The controlled blasting is targeted and will continue intermittently for the rest of the month.”
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer A condo collapse in Miami is prompting new conversations about the threats rising sea levels and flooding present to the nation’s infrastructure. Experts say that it’s too early to determine whether or not climate change contributed to the partial collapse of the Champlain Towers. But they also warn that as sea levels rise […]
by Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Louisiana loses almost a football field of land each day, caused by a combination of climate change-fueled sea level rise, reduced sediment flow from the Mississippi River, and the land gradually sinking. One area that’s not slipping underwater: Avery Island, the birthplace of Tabasco hot sauce that’s still the […]
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and part of the state Cabinet have approved a highway extension spanning a portion of the Everglades. The move rejects a 2020 recommended order from Administrative Law Judge Suzanne Van Wyk, claiming that the project was incompatible with continued efforts to establish protections in the region. Legal challenges are […]
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