border wall / El Calaboz / Eloisa Garcia Tamez / Land-grants and Indigenous peoples / LIPAN APACHES / margo tamez / Tlaxcalteca heritage communities / transnational indigenous studies / women

Restoring Lipan Apache Women’s Laws, Lands, and Strength in El Calaboz Rancheria at the Texas-Mexico Border

Published in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 2010, vol. 35, no. 3, The University of Chicago.
Comparative Perspectives Symposium: Indigenous Feminisms

Abstract: Ndé gową goshjaa (Lipan Apache families or clan relations) produce a significant portion of indigenous alliances and resistances to imperialism, colonization, industrialization, and militarization in the Lower Rio Grande Valley in south Texas. The visibility of Ndé isdzáné (Lipan Apache women) in the Lower Rio Grande Valley changed radically after the passage of the Secure Fence Act in 2006. In this essay, I speak from my position as one of the cofounders of the Lipan Apache Women Defense and as the third‐born daughter of vocal and consistent leaders of the reemergent Ndé isdzáné in the traditional territories of the Ndé. My analysis is not meant to substitute for the important analysis of local matrilineal leaders, nor is it meant to be static. Rather, as an Ndé isdzáné scholar, I must allow the space to make and to know the people, politics, histories, events, and meanings as they continue to unfold. I believe that Ndé isdzáné, as a basis for Ndé activism (which includes supportive brothers) and as a category of analysis, furthers the work of feminism in U.S., North American, indigenous, and global indigenous human rights defense work. Investigating the histories of our indigenous foremothers—respecting and acknowledging community‐based rights, wishes, and aspirations—challenges Ndé women and our allies to reflect on the rights work of contemporary indigenous women in militarized and state‐occupied policing zones and their roles and challenges as political actors in extreme struggles against economic enslavement, dispossession, land theft, vital resource deprivation, environmental destruction, detention, rape, racialized sexism, indentured servitude, and casta.

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