Alternative Migrant Trail 2020: Day 3

Tuesday, May 26, 2020:

Daily Reflection

Featured Podcast: Indigenous Peoples’ Rights to Exist, Self Determination, Language and Due Process In Migration

Recommended podcast to supplement reading: Language Politics and Practice: The Systematic Erasure of Indigenous Central American Migrants

Live Webinar: Featured Speaker: Nellie Jo David, O’Odham Anti-Border Collective

Talk title: “O’odham Roots Run Deeper than Walls”

Speaker bio: Nellie Jo David works to strengthen Indigenous rights and autonomy on the imposed U.S./Mexico borderlands intersecting the Tohono O’odham Nation. Nellie is co-founder of the O’odham Anti Border Collective, a grassroots group dedicated to maintaining connections despite colonial barriers. She is from Ajo, Arizona, traditionally Hia-Ced O’odham territory, just West of the Tohono O’odham reservation, North of Mexico. Nellie was inspired to raise awareness on border issues upon witnessing the increased militarization of her community. Nellie obtained her J.D. with a certificate in Indigenous law and policy from Michigan State University in 2014. She is currently working on her SJD at the University of Arizona in the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program. 

As construction workers accelerate construction of a wall on the U.S. Mexico Territory, unceded O’odham territory is forever altered. Bulldozers plow through Hia Ced O’odham burial grounds and sacred water sources, meanwhile O’odham fight to retain roots on their territorial homelands. 

In the face of ongoing militarization in the designated Prevention Through Deterrence corridor, Nellie Jo discussed her involvement in collective efforts to secure human rights and dignity for Indigenous and undocumented peoples.

The O’odham Anti Border Collective believes in removing colonial borders and barriers as the first step in repairing our communities. In recent history and in the present, occupying entities use divide and conquer strategies to displace O’odham from each other and sever connections existing since time immemorial. Historical narrations went so far as to declare Hia Ced O’odham extinct, and much of our histories were molded to fit a non-indigenous narrative. Our existence in the face of attempts to erase our peoples is emblematic of our persistence. Tohono O’odham, Akimel O’odham, Hia Ced O’odham, O’odham in Mexico, and all displaced O’odham are still here. The O’odham Anti Border Collective looks to uplift the voices of O’odham water, land, and culture protectors throughout Turtle Island.

To donate directly to the O’odham Anti-Border Collective, we recommend that you reach out to them via their Facebook page.