indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Daily Beast: Border Patrol runs free on Tohono O'odham Nation

Filed Under: Law | National
More on: arizona, borders, law enforcement, tohono oodham
     


Members of the Tohono O’odham Nation of Arizona protest militarization of the U.S. border. Photo from National Border, National Park

Reporting for The Daily Beast, Caitlin Dickson tries to find out why the U.S. Border Patrol appears to act with impunity on the Tohono O'odham Nation in Arizona:
Mike Wilson chuckles in the passenger seat as the car crawls in and out of cement craters at 5 mph on a road that looks like it’s been hit by a meteor shower. David Garcia is attempting to make a phone call in the backseat. The two middle-aged men, with silver ponytails hanging down their backs, are both members of the Tohono O’odham tribe. Yet they are, as Garcia says, “persona non grata on our own tribal land.”

Wilson, an ex-Presbyterian minister who says he was kicked out by his own congregants for leaving water for migrants, and Garcia, a former tribal council member, are on a mission to expose human rights violations by the U.S. Border Patrol on the Nation. They’ve been working with the ACLU—which has deemed the Tohono O’odham Nation “ground zero” for Border Patrol abuses against U.S. citizens—driving around the reservation, trying to rally enough tribal members to share their horror stories to build a class-action lawsuit. Wilson and Garcia say most tribal members have had altercations with Border Patrol agents. But on the Nation, these are the kinds of stories only whispered behind closed doors. So the two men have become pseudo-renegade detectives, following leads and asking the kinds of questions that, they say, have earned them the ire of the tribal people and government.

It was one of Garcia’s connections that brought him and Wilson to a tribal member who had been shot by a Border Patrol agent on the Nation in March.

When the duo arrived at Amon Chavez’s house they were greeted by a pit bull. They stayed in the car as the young man spoke to them from his driveway. He told them he’d been driving around with his cousin and a friend at the time of the shooting. He and the friend, who was also shot, were taken to the hospital and when Amon woke up, the door to his room was guarded by a Border Patrol agent. When he was released from the hospital his cousin, the driver, was arrested.

According to an FBI press release, the only news report on the incident, one night in March an on-duty Border Patrol agent “opened fire...after a U.S. citizen tried to ram him with a truck.”

Two tribal members were shot and hospitalized and the agent who shot them was put on administrative leave. The Tohono O’odham Police Department was investigating the incident along with the FBI, who would likely pursue charges against Amon’s cousin, the driver, for assault on a federal officer. Any more information about who these men were, why the Border Patrol agent decided to open fire on them, and why the person who got shot would likely be hit with federal assault charges while the shooter received paid administrative leave, was nonexistent.

I’d soon learn that the mystery of the shooting of Amon Chavez and his cousin was emblematic of the struggle between the Border Patrol and the Tohono O’odham people. While many on the Nation view the Border Patrol as an occupying army, there is an unspoken, inherent fear of criticizing such a powerful agency of the federal government.

“It’s this whole culture of violence on the southwest border,” Wilson says. “The Border Patrol acts with impunity and immunity.”

Get the Story:
Caitlin Dickson: A Shooting on a Tribal Land Uncovers Feds Running Wild (The Daily Beast 8/26)


Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Richard Peterson: New era of tribal-state cooperation in Alaska (6/29)
Lakota Country Times: Outdoor movies a success at Pine Ridge (6/29)
Woman from Crow Tribe dies after brutal attack on reservation (6/29)
Man charged with murdering girlfriend on Fort Peck Reservation (6/29)
Church denies connection to vandalism at Otomi site in Mexico (6/29)
Supreme Court puts an end to another tribal jurisdiction dispute (6/28)
Native women hail Supreme Court decision on domestic violence (6/28)
Navajo Nation leaders reflect on historic Supreme Court session (6/28)
Lakota Country Times: Runners take 500-mile Black Hills journey (6/28)
Mark Trahant: Navajo Republican drops out of race for Congress (6/28)
Brandon Ecoffey: Oglala Sioux Tribe must update its constitution (6/28)
Editorial: Lakota treaty council supported work at Wounded Knee (6/28)
Alex Jacobs: Our elected leaders do little to address gun violence (6/28)
St. Croix Chippewa Tribe ousts 10 people from rolls amid debate (6/28)
Film exposes police harassment of Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe (6/28)
Northern Arapaho Tribe asserts more control over health system (6/28)
Trump rehashes 'Pocahontas' slur as Warren hits road for Clinton (6/28)
Schaghticoke Tribal Nation still fighting for recognition and casino (6/28)
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe casino foes lose big source of funding (6/28)
Big Sandy Rancheria remains optimistic on plan for second casino (6/28)
Little River Band credited with sharing $30.4M in casino revenues (6/28)
Editorial: Let's leave gaming to tribes and kill Arkansas casino bid (6/28)
Supreme Court deals setback to tribes in labor sovereignty dispute (6/27)
Washington tribes win major fishing rights decision at appeals court (6/27)
Shinnecock Nation hits the end of the line with ancestral land claim (6/27)
Supreme Court won't hear Pauma Band compact negotiation case (6/27)
Witness list for Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing on 3 bills (6/27)
Lakota Country Times: Teams compete for Indian horse relay title (6/27)
Native Sun News: Rebuilding the Lakota Nation through education (6/27)
Vi Waln: Don't be afraid to come pray with your Lakota relatives (6/27)
Clara Caufield: Out fishing on the Upper Boulder River in Montana (6/27)
Opinion: Supreme Court exposes Indian people to federal powers (6/27)
Anonymous: Fighting back against victimization in Indian Country (6/27)
Michael Sandoval: San Felipe Pueblo respects rights of neighbors (6/27)
Andre Cramblit: Fond memories of growing up with Muhammad Ali (6/27)
Linda Greenhouse: Supreme Court goes silent in high-profile case (6/27)
Partial land-into-trust fix being watched by non-Indian interests (6/27)
Omaha Tribe cooperates with federal investigation into payments (6/27)
Northwest tribes take a stand against oil terminal in Washington (6/27)
Indigenous Digital Archive Project wins grant for online database (6/27)
Donald Trump fares poorly against Hillary Clinton in national poll (6/27)
Senate provision targeted tribes with commercial gaming plans (6/27)
Poarch Creeks in deal to acquire commercial casino in Louisiana (6/27)
Kootenai Tribe hopes to lure Canadian customers back to casino (6/27)
Tribes rest easy as Supreme Court wraps up a surprising session (6/24)
Tribes in northern California take action to protect salmon runs (6/24)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.