President Trump’s border wall between the US and Mexico is becoming a reality, and as expected, the building process is not a smooth one. Sacred Native American burial sites in Arizona’s Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument are being threatened with destruction. According to Raul Grijalva, an Arizona Democratic congressman, the government did not consult the Tohono O’odham Nation who consider this area sacred.
There have been reports that the control blasting in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, started last week, destroying cacti and sacred sites.
One site particularly at risk by the construction work is Monument Hill, where, according to Grijalva, Apache warriors were buried after battling with the O’odham. The area was being dynamited last week.
Grijalva made his disapproval known on Twitter, likening the move to Trump’s threats of blowing up Iranian cultural sites.
Remember when Trump threatened to blow up Iranian cultural sites?
Looks like he set his sights on something closer to home.
To build his racist wall, he's blowing up sacred Native American burial grounds without notifying local tribes.
This is wrong. https://t.co/rmrVlaCAZu
— Raul M. Grijalva (@RepRaulGrijalva) February 10, 2020
Unfortunately, the actions of the administration are, in fact, legal. The 2005 REAL ID Act gives the federal government the right to waive laws that conflict with US national security policy, and that means ignoring culturally or environmentally significant lands for the construction of a border wall.