Fax: (202) 254-4292
Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC 20528
Attn: Office of Inspector General, Hotline
Office of the Inspector General
False Damage Claims: 1 (800) 323-8603
July 30, 2008
Dear Inspector General:
At this time I am submitting a testimony from my community members, the lineal descendent Lebaiye’ T’nde’ (Lipan Apache) people who are the aboriginal land title holders to territories of South Texas, the Rio Grande River and into northern Mexico. Currently, my family members reside in numerous counties of South Texas which have been horribly and negatively impacted by the ongoing flooding and infrastructural calamities in Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr and other affected counties.
Reports from my mother, Dr. Eloisa Garcia Tamez (Lipan Apache) and other community members, as well as reports from local news reports, compel me to file an official complaint regarding the human rights, civil rights, and indigenous rights abuses occuring at this very moment against colonias, rancherias, unincorporated and incorporated communities all along the Rio Grande.
Many of the communities are undergoing great losses and tragedy, including loss of homes, livelihoods, livestock, crops, and who are currently still without the most fundamental needs to sustain life, i.e. potable water, food, medical supplies and medical attention. Elders, children, the working class poor people of the Rio Grande river front communities are the hardest hit in this ongoing devastation.
My mother and others have reported eye witness accounts of seeing D.H.S. sitting by idly, merely offering electrical fans at the local gas station, as a remedy for folks who do not have electricity, nor food, water, and are wading in a filthy infested stew of both animal and human waste and decomposition.
There are reports that helicopters of the Border Patrol and Army National Guard merely patrol over the border–but do not render aid to those who are in the most isolated and most hard-hit areas. Local news reports that there are countless colonias and rancherias of the poorest of the working classes who have still to be dealt with at all. Their physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual needs are being neglected in this horrendous human disaster. They have yet to see a speck of government, military, NGO, faith-based, or or communitarian aid to alleviate this calamity.
My mother and others are strongly critiquing the LACK of FEMA’s presence in rendering immediate and assertive aid to our poorest river front communities. Many of these communities are direct lineal descendents of the aboriginal people of this region–they are the land owners, who have legal title to live and to enjoy their freedoms on their own lands. They also have the civil rights and human rights of all other U.S. citizens in similarly declared disaster areas.
Finally, this testimony is a complaint against the Department of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, President George W. Bush, and the infrastructure which supports their offices due to the fact that local land owners in Hidalgo County reported yesterday that INSPITE of this calamitous disaster which has brought South Texas counties, cities, and the International Water Boundary Commission and Mexico to its knees—that DHS has begun to build the unpopular border wall once again.
This is a sign of a tyrannical, cold and vampire-like government which instead of utilizing public resources towards rendering aid to the local governments and people, it is exploiting the local systems, institutions and populations at their greatest moment of vulnerability and humanitarian need.
I see DHS/Michael Chertoff and President George W. Bush as the primary perpetrators of heinous crimes against humanity, human rights abuse, indigenous rights abuses against my Lipan Apache people, my ancestors, our sacred sites, our ecological and biological resources, our mineral resources, and our water resources with their aggression against us up to the present moment, in regards to their focus on the increased militarization and imprisonment of our people and lands in the border wall project.
Currently, at this dark hour, as my people, our lands, our sacred sites, and all the plant and animal relatives are suffering due to an aggressive, institutionally racist policy of laissez-faire towards Native Americans, Mexican-descent peoples, and border communities, I see DHS/Michael Chertoff and President George W. Bush as perpetrators who are currently committing crimes against humanity and genocide against the Lipan Apache people of South Texas, other indigenous communities in South Texas, and Mexican-descent persons and communities living along the Rio Grande on the U.S. and Mexico side of this calamity. It has not gone unnoticed by the local communities how intensely the nation-states moved to protect their corporate investments–hotels, resorts, oil platforms, airforce jets and planes, and other ‘vital’ assets of the United States and its companies. At the same time, we have noted how deficiently and minimally the nation-states have responded to the humanitarian needs of the majority of the aboriginal land owners and original title land owners (with Spanish Land Grant and Treaty land ownership claims) in the region.
This is my testimony, from my heart and from the oral testimonies shared with me by my family members undergoing psychological terror due to the fact that they have to witness this further erosion of democracy and justice in the United States under the iron-fist of an unpopular government which clearly demonstrates they rule against citizens and take up hostile policies to further our demise.
Let it be known among you that the Lipan Apache Women’s Defense/Strength stands for the indigenous people and all oppressed groups on the Mexico-U.S. international border which violently dissects our natural traditional territories, a border which was aggressed against us without our free and prior informed consent–in the past and continued into the present moment.