PHOENIX — The Tohono O’odham Nation will reportedly not allow a border wall between the United State and Mexico to be built on its lands in southern Arizona.
Tribal Vice Chairman Verlon Jose told KJZZ that their ancestral lands — the tribe’s reservation is split between the U.S. and Mexico and includes about 75 miles of international border — are more important to the community than politics.
“Over my dead body will a wall be built,” Jose said, describing some community members’ sentiments. “I don’t wish to die but I do wish to work together with people so we can truly protect the homeland of this place they call the United States of America. Not only for our people but for the American people.”
One of President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign foundations was his promise to build a wall along the country’s southern border and have Mexico foot the bill. Mexican officials have repeatedly said that would not happen.
Jose told KJZZ that he would invite Trump to the reservation so he could see for himself why a physical wall would not work on Tohono O’odham land and would be a bad idea for the country as a whole.
In a poll conducted last month, 47 percent of Arizonans said they see the border wall as a waste of money, while 34 percent believe it would be an effective barrier.
The Tohono O’odham reservation begins west of Lukeville and ends east of Sasabe. It is southwest of Tucson.
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