Sacred Native American burial sites 'blown up for Trump's border wall'

Sacred Native American burial sites are ‘being blown up’ to clear space for Trump’s new 43-mile border wall through national monument land in Arizona

  • Crews in Arizona have started blasting hills for Trump’s border wall construction
  • Area being cleared for 43-mile project in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
  • Native American tribal leaders say blasting is going through sacred burial sites
  • Democrat Rep Raul Grijalva said DHS ‘failed its legal obligation’ to consult tribes

Sacred Native American burial sites within a national monument are being blown up to build President Trump’s border wall, it has been claimed.

Construction crews in southern Arizona have started blasting hills at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument to clear space for the new border wall system.

Without consulting the Native American nation whose ancestral land sits on part of the wall’s route, crews are bulldozing through Monument Hill to construct a 30-foot steel wall along the US-Mexico border.

‘Controlled blasting’ has been carried out for the construction of the wall which is part of a 43-mile project on national monument land about 115 miles west of Tucson, officials said.

A congressman whose district includes the reservation has said the Department of Homeland Security had ‘failed in its legal obligation to consult with the tribes’.

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Trump’s border wall under construction at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in southern Arizona. The 43-mile project goes through the national monument and tribal land

Saguaros cactus, killed within the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona by the border wall construction. Bulldozing through Monument Hill has been carried out to construct a 30-foot steel wall along the US-Mexico border

Tribal elders told Democratic Rep Raul Grijalva that bodies were buried on the hill after Apache raids, the Arizona Daily Star reported.

Grijalva, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, visited the location ahead of the construction and described the site in a video posted to social media. Monument Hill, where he said explosions are now occurring. 

In a video posted on Sunday, Grijalva said: ‘Where they were blasting the other day on Monument Hill is the resting place for primarily Apache warriors that had been involved in battle with the O’odham. 

‘And then the O’odham people in a respectful way laid them to rest on Monument Hill. 

‘DHS has consistently failed in its legal obligation to consult with the tribes, and this is only the latest example.’

He also sent a letter to the acting head of the Department of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, to express ‘serious concerns’ about the construction project.

Organ Pipe was designated as an International Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations and is part of the national parks system, officials said.

A congressman whose district includes the reservation (pictured) has said the Department of Homeland Security ‘failed in its legal obligation to consult with the tribes’ in the bulldozing through sacred land to build the border wall 

‘Controlled blasting’ has been carried out for the construction of the wall in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona which is part of a 43-mile project on national monument land about 115 miles west of Tucson 

‘The construction contractor has begun controlled blasting, in preparation for new border wall system construction, within the Roosevelt Reservation at Monument Mountain,’ Customs and Border Protection said. 

‘The controlled blasting is targeted and will continue intermittently for the rest of the month.’

Environmental advocates, elected officials and Tohono O’odham Nation leaders have raised concerns about the project, including the destruction of saguaros, the use of water from an underground aquifer, the potential impact on migrating animals and the destruction of land consider scared by some Native Americans. 

The Army Corps of Engineers reported that the Department of Defense awarded $891 million in contracts to Southwest Valley Constructors in May to build the border wall on Organ Pipe and Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge.

The US government plans on replacing barriers through 100 miles of the southern border in California and Arizona, including through a national monument and a wildlife refuge, according to documents and environmental advocates.

President Donald Trump walking on the South Lawn of the White House after returning by Marine One, in Washington this week. He announced a $4.8trillion budget proposal yesterday that slashed spending on foreign aid and social safety nets but requested billions of dollars to complete the border wall

Barriers will go up at the monument, a vast park named after the unique cactus breed that decorates it, and Cabeza Prieta, which is largely a designed wilderness home to 275 wildlife species. The government will also build new roads and lighting in those areas. 

The Department of Homeland Security last May again waived environmental and dozens of other laws to build more barriers along the US-Mexico border.

Funding will come from the Defense Department following the emergency declaration that President Trump signed this year after Congress refused to approve the amount of border wall funding that he wanted.

Environmental advocates who have sued to stop the construction of the wall say this latest plan will be detrimental to the wildlife and habitat in those areas.

Yesterday Trump announced a $4.8trillion budget proposal that slashed spending on foreign aid and social safety nets but requested billions of dollars to complete the border wall.

The budget plan will request $2billion to complete the controversial wall along the southern US border that Trump has demanded since his 2016 campaign to stop migrants from entering the country. 

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