On April 30, the U.S. will be attempting to convince Judge Hanen that it has the right to dispossess Eloisa Garcia Tamez, a lineal member of the Lipan Apache Band of Texas, of her land beneath the levee and the border wall.
While the U.S. forcibly took Indigenous and other vulnerable peoples’ lands for the first round of border wall construction in 2009, it did not have the authority to dispossess Eloisa Garcia Tamez, of her subsurface property rights.
What is at stake? The destruction and expropriation by the United States of Lipan Apache rights to defend, protect, preserve and to own Indigenous knowledge, identity, culture, historical interpretation, and inter-generational transmission of Lipan Apache identity inherently tied to lands still held in Indigenous title by Indigenous elders such as Eloisa G. Tamez. The dispossession against an Indigenous elder is a dispossession against an entire People.
What is the U.S. obscuring?
EG Tamez and all Native Americans have full rights to their lands and property. In the subsurface, Indigenous peoples like the Lipan Apaches in southern Texas and the Lower Rio Grande Valley region never ceded, nor extinguished their Aboriginal rights to self-determination. Indigenous peoples of the Texas-Mexico border region never ceded the Aboriginal Title to their ancestral homelands.
EG Tamez has full rights to preserve the minerals, ore, oil, gas, and other resources in her subsurface lands. EG Tamez has the right to her family’s and her peoples’ cultural antiquities and/or artifacts of her Indigenous ancestors in the subsurface of her property. EG Tamez has rights to the subsurface burial sites of her ancestors. EG Tamez has rights to environmental protection over her subsurface cultural, mineral, spiritual, social, ecological, and historical property in the subsurface. EG Tamez has the right to consultation, Free Prior Informed Consent. EG Tamez has the right to self-determination–an inextinguishable right to full participation and decision-making over anything that will affect her, her family, her extended kinship, and her People.
On April 30, use your voice and visible assets to do what Eloisa Garcia Tamez exclaims: “They are taking Indigenous lands, but they can’t take my voice!”
On April 30, LAW-Defense calls on the people to use your voices at the Cameron County courthouse. Make your concerns visible and audible about U.S. government dispossession of more lands, against Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in the path of the border wall.
On April 30, use your visible visual assets and tools to send a strong message to the United States and corrupt officials:
Demand transparency and justice. The UN CERD is formally investigating the allegations of the United States’ human rights violations against Lipan Apaches in the situation of the border wall and the ongoing impact of mass dispossession on the culture, identity, physical health, mental well being, and futures of Indigenous peoples.
Send a visible, visual and audible message to President Obama, Janet Napolitano (US DHS Director), and the United States Department of Justice demanding that the U.S. uphold Eloisa Garcia Tamez’ Indigenous Rights enshrined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
Obama endorsed the UNDRIP, and on his authority, he can stop this dispossession against EG Tamez as a step toward upholding his own promise to leading change.
Tell Obama to end the conflict and continuing human rights violations that have been erupting in this region since the border wall was constructed.
President Obama has the power to end the violations occurring in the Department of Justice and the 5th District Court against Eloisa’s fundamental Native American rights to her lands and to her cultural, spiritual, social, and economic property beneath the wall.
Get informed about the UNDRIP and watch Obama’s speech about the U.S. stance on implementing Indigenous rights in the United States. Isn’t it time that you understood the U.S.’ duties and obligations towards Indigenous Peoples?