United States

Prayers for Peacemakers 8 September 2021 US/Mexico Borderlands

Every day during this time of the year, Rosalinda Sagaste Chavez goes to the garden of the DouglaPrieta Trabajan Women’s Cooperative in Agua Prieta, Sonora, to water the plants, pull weeds, and gather the ripe vegetables.  As the co-op’s director, she leads the women who grow the community garden, cook and serve meals for visitors to the border, and sew shopping bags, aprons, and other items for a business in Tucson, AZ.  During the pandemic, they have sewn thousands of facemasks.

Prayers for Peacemakers 28 July 2021 US/Mexico Borderlands

At the end of June 2021, the Migrant Resource Center (CRM for its acronym in Spanish) celebrated 15 years of support to migrants travelling in both directions on the border between Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico, and Douglas, Arizona, USA.  The CRM—a collaboration of several faith-based organizations—offers food, first aid, phone calls, and information to people whom US Border Patrol has repatriated to Mexico.  Additionally, in the last 15 years, the CRM has helped Mexican citizens locate relatives who might be in detention in the US and has provided support to asylum seekers. 

TISN: Reconciliation is Dead

On 1 July, Indigenous activists brought down the statue of Queen Victoria in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Queen Victoria was the head of the British Empire from 1837 until 1901. She is a figurehead of colonialism and genocide and was the sitting monarch for the British Commonwealth of Canada when residential schools began. Despite her legacy, some politicians, including the Premier of Manitoba, condemned the removal of her statue, stating it had no place in the process of reconciliation. (Although one might argue that maintaining a statue that celebrates colonialism is more apt to be a barrier to reconciliation than its removal). These critics failed to remember that since February 2020, when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police raided Unist’ot’en in Wet’suwet’en Territory, reconciliation is dead.

TISN: Accompanying the Struggle at Enbridge Line 3 in Minnesota, Anishinaabe Land

We quickly learned the extent of imminent environmental danger brought by the pipeline, above and beyond fueling the climate emergency. Enbridge plans to drill under twenty-two rivers and cross many miles of wetlands; the predictable leaks will threaten hunting, gathering, and wild rice cultivation upon which tribes rely for subsistence. Already, the company has desecrated sacred sites, and the man camps have threatened Indigenous women. Resistance is being met with a systematic corporate counter-insurgency, where Enbridge provides funds to local police to protect its interests, offers buy-outs to Indigenous Nations for waiving their rights, and wages a disinformation campaign to win the approval of Minnesota citizens.

TISN: One way prayer works when Oak Flat is under fire

There are many ways sacred land can be under fire.  For many years Chich’il Bildagoteel, sacred land also known as Oak Flat, has been threatened with destruction by being hollowed out and collapsed by a copper mine.  This season the threat of fire has also been literal.  During the first week of June 2021, the “telegraph fire” raged up Apache Leap and crested the ridge to the west of Oak Flat.  Firefighters told Wendsler Nosie that the firestorm was so fierce that they expected it to wipe Oak Flat out. The fire quickly raged down the slope towards an area where creation lines up in an ancient pictograph and marches across red stone, all living beings, including humans, headed somewhere together.  

Prayers for Peacemakers 30 June 2021 Turtle Island Solidarity Network

Over the past two weeks, more than 200 Anishinaabe and other accompanying Water Protectors were arrested simply for being on their own land. Multinational Corporations and the occupying nation-states of Canada and the US continue to inflict violence upon native lands, waterways, and bodies, including in so-called Northern Minnesota at the Line 3 pipeline.

Prayers for Peacemakers 16 June 2021 US/Mexico Borderlands

It is difficult to be optimistic about the still-closed US/Mexican border in Douglas, Arizona/Agua Prieta, Sonora.  Sure, the work of organizations and volunteers meeting the needs of migrants has been heroic.  But the plight of the migrants themselves—whether those returned to Mexico with blistered feet and inadequate clothing or those who have been waiting at the shelter for over a year to request asylum at the US Port of Entry—offers little to celebrate.

TISN: Treaty People Gathering

Anishinaabe leadership of the movement to stop Line 3 has called for allies from around the continent to join them in Northern Minnesota from 5-8 June (and beyond) to participate in a large-scale, nonviolent uprising. Calling this the ‘Treaty People Gathering,’ organizers hope to propel this issue to the top of the nation’s consciousness and force Biden to act.  While some legal cases are still pending in the Minnesota Court of Appeals, the Biden administration could put a stop to the pipeline immediately by cancelling the permits it has issued.
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