From CBS News:
A national monument in Arizona, home to rare species and sacred Native American burial sites, is being blown up this week as part of construction for President Trump's border wall, Customs and Border Protection confirmed to CBS News. "Controlled blasting" inside Arizona's Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument began this week without consultation from the Native American nation whose ancestral land it affects, according to the congressman whose district includes the reservation.
"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."
Unfortunately, the burial grounds are not technically part of the land that the US government had designated as property of the Tohono O'odham Nation. They are adjacent to the reservation; but under US law, that puts them onto public property.
The glaringly obvious issue here is the complete and utter disrespect for the religion and culture of non-white, non-Christian people — in this case, people with roots in this country that far pre-date any white or Christian roots here. In fact, shortly before construction began, archaeologists artifacts and bone fragments at the site that were 10,000 years point.
But then, at this point, I'm honestly not sure if there would be any backlash if the Trump administration blew up a white Evangelical cemetery, or if they'd all cheer him on in the name of White American Jesus.
There's also the (unsurprising, and continuous) hypocrisy of the Republican party. Despite their claims of "small government" and all the lip-service they pay to opposing federal intervention, they're essentially enacting eminent domain here. And then there's the added irony that the land is also one of 686 internationally-recognized UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, which are "special places for testing interdisciplinary approaches to understanding and managing changes and interactions between social and ecological systems, including conflict prevention and management of biodiversity."
Again, if the government was forcefully taking land — specifically designated for environmental conflict resolution! — from white Christians, there would almost surely be some backlash. Again, unless the Trump base was still too brainwashed that they would willing to give their property over to civil asset forfeiture as long as it advanced the white supremacist agenda of the Great Orange One.
Arizona national monument, home to sacred Native American burial sites, is being blown up for the border wall [Audrey McNamara / CBS News]
Image: Burley Packwood / Wikimedia Commons (CC 4.0)