Friday, January 18, 2008

margo tamez, indigenous rights, border wall, poetry

Some links to articles about poet/scholar/activist Margo Tamez, the border wall, and eminent domain abuse in South Texas. Tamez is the author of the poetry collections Naked Wanting and Raven Eye (her newest collection, nominated for the Pulitzer), published by the University of Arizona Press.

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"My mother and elders of El Calaboz, since July [2007] have been the targets of numerous threats and harassments by the Border Patrol, Army Corps of Engineers, NSA, and the U.S. related to the proposed building of a fence on their levee.

Since July, they have been the targets of numerous telephone calls, unexpected and uninvited visits on their lands, informing them that they will have to relinquish parts of their land grant holdings to the border fence buildup. The NSA demands that elders give up their lands to build the levee, and further, that they travel a distance of 3 miles, to go through checkpoints, to walk, recreate, and to farm and herd goats and cattle, ON THEIR OWN LANDS.

This threat against indigenous people, life ways and lands has been very very serious and stress inducing to local leaders, such as Dr. Eloisa Garcia Tamez, who has been in isolation from the larger indigenous rights community due to the invisibility of indigenous people of South Texas and Northern Tamaulipas to the larger social justice conversation regarding the border issues."


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from "Apaches Rise to Defend Homelands from Homeland Security":

"The Texas communities along the international boundary zone are largely made up of Native Americans and of land grant heirs who have resided on inherited properties for hundreds of years. Homeland Security plans to complete the Texas portions of the fence before the end of the 2008calendar year."

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from "In Praise of Margo and Eloisa Tamez":

"Along the zone, the security barrier is obstructing Native American access to traditional ceremonial pilgrimage pathways, and will cut off access to water rights and agricultural fields. Whether we value human cultures or healthy wildlife habitat, we must heed the indigenous peoples’ voices for the U.S.-Mexico international boundary zone.

Margo Tamez has recently submitted testimony to the United Nations International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, as well as comments for the Environmental Impact Statement being conducted for the border fence by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Some of Tamez’ main points address Texas’ historical institutional structures negating indigenous status and rights, the devastating effects of centuries of border imposition and development on local indigenous communities, corporate contracting on the border, and Indigenous Peoples’ Rights according to international law."


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from an interview with Margo Tamez on La Bloga (from last year):

"... poetry for me is and always has to be connected to the material. I spent too much time in ‘poetry workshops’ and was violated by the student loan indentured slave system for too long [paying for my MFA] to allow what I write to be relegated to ‘poetry for poetry’s sake’. What is that? There’s no oxygen for that, period. I come from the most hypermilitarized spaces in the North American continent, outside of Chiapas. Poetry has to be connected on the ground to communities, period."

"Privatization of scholars of color, indigenous scholars, is an ongoing site of struggle. Indigenous scholars who are women, doing anti-racist, anti-heterosexism, anti-capitalism, and anti-militarization from within an academic space are going to meet with attempts to silence, side-track, repress their voices. They’ll be dangled like a charm on a ‘diversity’ bracelet, and simultaneously underfunded, defunded, and refused entry into sectors which are necessary pathways for indigenous people’s ongoing disruption of state and colonial oppression of our people, lands, communities and livelihoods. My position in relation to my home, my community and the academy is that I’m here to do the work my communities assigned and asked to me to do in the ongoing struggle against U.S. empire."