Day 1,119: Trump administration blasting Native American burial ground for border wall

Feb 13 · 2 min read

Donald Trump’s border wall has been fraught with issues. Mexico isn’t paying for it, American taxpayers are (even as Trump is now inventing terms to pretend that Mexico is kinda-sorta paying for it). It isn’t particularly effective. It’s expensive to maintain. It’s remarkably tiny. Private landowners had their land taken from them to build it. And Trump had to steal money from the military to get even the small portion that has been built funded.

Now, there’s a new issue: Trump is blasting Native American burial ground to build another sliver of it.

Red-lettered signs warning of “BLASTING” began appearing over the past week at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, a remote desert region in southwestern Arizona bordered by Mexico to the south and a Native American reservation to the east.

Crews have been blasting the hillside while excavators and backhoes clear a path for the towering sections of border wall fast-tracked by the Trump administration — a pace that has environmental groups worried that sacred burial sites and ancestral lands are at risk of being irreversibly harmed.

Since 1976, the 516-square-mile park — home to more than two dozen unique species of cactus and countless varieties of wildlife — has been recognized as a UNESCO ecological preserve worth conserving.

“This is a new low even for the Trump administration,” said Laiken Jordahl, a borderlands campaigner for the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity in Arizona who has been documenting the altered landscape.

“They’re moving forward with complete disregard of sacred sites and indigenous sovereignty,” Jordahl said Wednesday.

“It’s such a sensitive area environmentally, and it’s heartbreaking to see that what’s happening is because the government controls it because it’s so fragile,” he said. “It’s become a true desecration of indigenous land.”

Federally-recognized tribes that have land and members in the area have been completely ignored by the Trump administration throughout the process. For instance, contractors are bulldozing areas near water sources for the tribes, with unknown short-term and long-term effects.

These areas are sacred to a group of indigenous people. They continue to live on land that their ancestors also lived on. For Trump, however, the area is just another spot to prop a vanity project on.

1,119 days in, 343 to go

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