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US No cultural sites found where crews are blasting sacred mountain for border wall, officials say

08:06  14 february  2020
08:06  14 february  2020 Source:   azcentral.com

Sacred Native American site in Arizona blasted for border wall construction

  Sacred Native American site in Arizona blasted for border wall construction The contractor installing President Donald Trump's border wall at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is blasting a hill sacred to the O'Odham people.

Customs and Border Protection said it found no biological, cultural or historic sites in the area where crews At odds with Native American tribe, feds say no cultural sites near border wall blasting . – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials in Arizona are defending the blasting of a mountain

Construction crews blowing up parts of a national monument to make way for the border wall could The blasting was first reported last week by The Intercept, a news site . US Customs and Border Grijalva said officials appear to be fast-tracking wall construction to score political points rather than

NOGALES — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials in Arizona are defending the blasting of a mountain considered sacred by a Native American tribe to make way for border wall construction, saying their survey identified "no biological, cultural, or historical sites" in the area.

That stance puts them at odds with the Tohono O'odham Nation, a sovereign tribe in southwestern Arizona whose ancestors lived where the border wall is under construction and who have identified the mountain as a having significant cultural and historical value.

Arizona national monument being blown up for border wall

  Arizona national monument being blown up for border wall The blasts are taking place on an UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and Native American burial site."There has been no consultation with the nation," said Congressman Raúl Grijalva of Arizona, who is the chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources and whose district contains the reservation and shares 400 miles of border with Mexico.  "This administration is basically trampling on the tribe's history — and to put it poignantly, it's ancestry.

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.

Trump's Blasting Through A National Monument To Have His Border Wall . As part of the Trump administration’s latest siege on national monuments, government contractors have started blowing up a mountain on protected lands in Arizona as construction continues on a hallmark of Trump’s

Last week, construction crews began blowing up parts of Monument Hill, west of the Lukeville port of entry on the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. The blasting will allow them to replace the existing wire mesh or vehicle barriers with new 30-foot bollards.

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CBP has said the blasting is controlled and targeted, and that it will continue for the rest of February.

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That activity has drawn condemnation from environmental groups, as well as O'odham leaders, who had called on CBP to freeze construction activity on Monument Hill and several other key O'odham archaeological sites inside Organ Pipe.

Native American tribe says Pentagon failed to consult on border wall construction

  Native American tribe says Pentagon failed to consult on border wall construction The Tohono O'odham Nation in Arizona is asking for "government-to-government" consultation after barrier construction has disrupted "sacred" sites.In a Feb. 7 letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper, tribal Chairman Ned Norris Jr. said the department should have engaged in "meaningful consultation" with Tohono O'odham leaders because funding for the barrier is coming out of the agency's budget.

Native American burial sites have been blown up by construction crews building the US-Mexico border wall Officials say the aim of the project is to construct a 30ft-tall (9m) steel barrier that runs for 43 miles Crews are reported to have also destroyed ancient saguaro cacti, which Mr Grijalva said the

Construction crews began blasting sites within Arizona’s Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument as part of the construction of President Trump’s border barrier, and the affected areas include sites sacred to Native American groups, according to a congressman from Arizona and advocates.

Amid growing criticism and nationwide attention to the blasting, Customs and Border Protection on Wednesday released a statement offering additional details about the work on Monument Hill.

'THEY'RE OUR ANCESTORS': Tohono O'odham historic sites at risk as border wall construction advances

The border agency said that, as is customary, it conducted surveys in the parts of Pima and Cochise counties slated for the construction of 30-foot bollard fencing. The surveys sought to identify any biological, cultural or natural-resources concerns.

a group of people on a dirt road: U.S. Customs and Border Protection conducted a controlled blast on Feb. 12, 2020, on Monument Hill, considered to be sacred land by the Tohono O'Odham Nation.© Customs and Border Protection U.S. Customs and Border Protection conducted a controlled blast on Feb. 12, 2020, on Monument Hill, considered to be sacred land by the Tohono O'Odham Nation.

"Based on the environmental surveys and stakeholder coordination completed, no biological, cultural or historical sites were identified within the project area, which consists of the 60-foot wide swath of land that extends from the international border north and is known as the Roosevelt Reservation," the statement said.

At odds with Native American tribe, feds say no cultural sites near border wall blasting

  At odds with Native American tribe, feds say no cultural sites near border wall blasting Customs and Border Protection said it found no biological, cultural or historic sites in the area where crews are building a border wall in Arizona. 1/9 SLIDES © Rafael Carranza/The Republic Jessie Navarro leaves offerings of food and water at an unnamed O'Odham burial site that stands on the path of border wall construction, on Jan. 20, 2020. 2/9 SLIDES © Rafael Carranza/The Republic Rocks formed into graves make up a large, unnamed O'Odham burial site located immediately next to the border fence.

Trump border wall work at the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument's sacred sites and lands are at risk of being irreversibly damaged, environmentalists say . Crews have been blasting the hillside at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona for sections of the federal government's barrier.

Grijalva said officials appear to be fast-tracking wall construction to score political points rather than heeding serious requests from Tohono O'odham leaders. "It's a political agenda, without worrying about consequences that could happen in terms of these sacred sites ," he said . Asked whether he'd

CBP said the blasting was taking place within a 5-foot stretch of the Hill right next to the border "for the purpose of loosening rock in order to allow for the construction of a footer for the new border wall."

The agency also said its environmental monitor has been in attendance to make sure that the work is halted in the event any "unidentified culturally sensitive artifacts" are found during construction.

CBP's survey results finding no cultural or historic sites near construction areas appear to contradict the Tohono O'odham claims. The tribe has identified several archaeological and cultural sites within or near the Roosevelt Reservation along Organ Pipe and the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge.

Monument Hill was used as a ceremonial site and human remains have been recovered from the mountain, according to the tribe's historic preservation officer.

Farther west, Quitobaquito Springs has archaeological and environmental significance because it is one of a few natural sources of water for dozens of miles. That made the Springs crucial, not just for desert wildlife, but for the O'odham.

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  Phoenix police identify man found fatally shot on South Mountain Charles Greenberg, 21, was found with gunshot wounds along Summit Road near Central Avenue in South Mountain Park, police said. Fire crews pronounced him dead at the scene on the morning of Feb. 9.Start the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning. This investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information can call Phoenix police at 602-262-6151. To stay anonymous, contact Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS (480-948-6377). Witnesses can call 480-TESTIGO (480-837-8446) for Spanish or report online at silentwitness.org. For more stories that matter: Click here to subscribe to azcentral.

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.

Grijalva said officials appear to be fast-tracking wall construction to score political points rather than heeding serious requests from Tohono The Trump administration has waived environmental laws and other regulations to expedite border wall construction. Officials have said they “remain committed to

The Springs are not located within the 60-foot Roosevelt Reservation, but the surrounding area is littered with pottery, shells and other remnants of O'odham life, according to the tribe.

During a visit in mid-January, Ned Norris Jr., chairman of the Tohono O'odham Nation, said the federal government has largely "ignored" their concerns. But he remains hopeful that their close working relationship with local border officials would change things.

"This wall is desecrating and encroaching and destroying significant archaeological issues that are concerning to us," Norris said. "We've got to have a much quicker response to the questions that we're raising."

On Thursday, the chief patrol agent for the U.S. Border Patrol's Tucson Sector released a 24-second clip showing some of the detonations on Monument Hill. Chief Roy Villareal said these were impacting "areas previously disturbed by the last iteration of fencing."

Federal agencies are reportedly tracking phone location data for immigration enforcement

  Federal agencies are reportedly tracking phone location data for immigration enforcement The data is collected from gaming, weather and shopping apps, the report said.The information is meant to enforce border security, according to the report.

Grijalva said officials appear to be fast-tracking wall construction to score political points rather Asked whether he’d confirmed the blasts had damaged sacred burial sites or whether that was “And it’s quite literally being blown up so Trump can build the border wall across this mountain . …

Trump's border wall 'destroying' native American burial sites . Construction crews blowing up parts of a national monument to make way for the US/Mexico border wall Mr Grijalva said the blasting occurred last week in an area known as Monument Hill, a place where he said Apache warriors who

Additional video taken on Monday by environmental advocates appeared to show more detonations on parts of the Hill.

Laiken Jordahl of the Center for Biological Diversity has been documenting border wall construction activity in southern Arizona. He said each time he returns to the site near Monument Hill, he has noticed an increased flattening of the area where crews plan on building the 30-foot bollards.

He disputed CBP's assertion that its surveys had found no cultural or archaeological sites.

The Homeland Security Department "is not an authority on archaeological or cultural issues. They have waived every relevant law that protects burial grounds, archaeological sites and sacred areas," he said. "So them saying that they're not inflicting any damage, when they haven't even consulted with the tribe, is meaningless."

Have any news tips or story ideas about the U.S.-Mexico border? Reach the reporter at rafael.carranza@arizonarepublic.com, or follow him on Twitter at @RafaelCarranza.

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This article originally appeared on The Republic | azcentral.com: No cultural sites found where crews are blasting sacred mountain for border wall, officials say

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