Kumeyaay Sue Trump Administration to Block Border Wall that Desecrates Sacred Burial Sites

by on August 14, 2020 · 7 comments

in California, Civil Rights, History, San Diego

The La Posta Band of Diegueno Mission Indians filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the Trump administration in an effort to block construction of the border wall section that the band says will desecrate their sacred burial sites. The tribe’s ancestral lands cross the US-Mexico border.

The suit asks for an injunction to halt – at least temporarily – the erection of a tall, metal wall until the tribe can protect its cultural sacred areas. The La Posta band – one of 12 bands of the Kumeyaay people – also wants to monitor the installation work and be able to interrupt it if human remains and cultural artifacts are found.

The lawsuit was filed against President Donald Trump, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, who oversaw military funds diverted for the border wall; acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf; and Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is in charge of building the wall.

The lawsuit contends, “Defendants are currently constructing the border wall directly through Kumeyaay burial sites and sacred lands, causing irreversible and easily avoidable damage to Kumeyaay remains, cultural items, history, and religious practices.”

One site that is threatened by the construction is an ancient tribal cemetery near the town of Jacumba, according to the tribe. They said cultural resource surveys and Kumeyaay historians have noted the existence of human remains, burial sites, and Kumeyaay archaeological sites within the path of construction

There have been ongoing protests by local First Peoples and their supporters at the wall construction site. Tribal members, including high school students, carry out the protests in order to draw attention to their issue. Tribal members say they were not consulted adequately by border officials, and they have not been allowed to secure its burial grounds nor to properly treat the remains that have been exhumed by the wall construction. ABC News

The Kumeyaay have been the region’s inhabitants for over 12,000 years, and lived throughout the border area in what’s now San Diego and Imperial counties – and in Mexico. The tribe moved through its ancestral territory using their system of trails, many of which run across the U.S.-Mexico border and have religious significance, according to the lawsuit. And sites along the border are part of the tribe’s creation story. Sealing up the border interrupts the tribe’s religious practices because its members have been threatened with arrest for criminal trespassing for attempting to reach areas to pray and conduct ceremonies, according to the lawsuit.

In late June, members and supporters of the Kumeyaay Nation in Campo blocked construction of the border wall by standing in front of an area where pre-construction blasting was scheduled to take place. One tribal member said, “It would be just about as disrespectful as us going into Arlington cemetery and setting off explosions.” The OB Rag added, or just as disrespectful if they went out to Ft. Rosecrans cemetery and set off blasts.


{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Larry OB August 14, 2020 at 2:26 pm

Worth noting: their migratory route was the Tiajuana River, not the San Diego River.


Peter from South O August 15, 2020 at 5:15 pm

Where exactly is this “Tiajuana River” of which you write, and what does this have to do with the story, exactly?


sealintheSelkirks August 16, 2020 at 12:49 pm

Maybe he meant ‘the river that runs between’ San Diego and TJ? That would be accurate.

As if the Feds have EVER shown the slightest interest in what the conquered want? Only the winners get to make the rules, yet? And since there have been so many radical extremist RWNJ judges put in place since Reagan the Corrupt was put in place, the odds are not in the native people’s favor. But I wish them luck. They are going to need it.

Interesting times sayeth the Chinese Curse. It’s like a tsunami of madness sweeping this country.



Peter from South O August 17, 2020 at 5:45 am

You missed my point, Seal. This is an example of the questionable posts from those that do not know how to spell La Jolla, or in this case, Tijuana.
“Tiajuana” indeed.


sealintheSelkirks August 17, 2020 at 11:12 am

Naw Peter, I didn’t. I used to be a teacher and realize just how bad this country is with spelling. And many other cognitive functions! Now that so many people have ‘spell check’ they don’t bother to even learn how. Just like kids aren’t being taught cursive handwriting anymore in many school districts, just block printing like an elementary kid that they take into adulthood. It’s pitiful, and studies have shown that cursive writing stimulates different parts of the brain. So are we getting more intelligent with our machines or just the opposite?

I have a neighbor, great mechanic, but would ask me how to spell words when trying to text on his cell phone. That was before he got one of those voice-activated ones that did it for him. I used to wonder just how many mistakes the machine was making that nobody noticed when they read them. Those computer spell check programs, which I personally think is an incredibly stupid idea, makes for lazy minds. I see so many mistakes that would drive me crazy (English/Lit high school teachers for parents) if I let it. To/too and there/their/they’re and so many others, and those are just as minor examples. UGH!

And then there’s the English language vs the US version of that language (we don’t really speak English, just United States-ian) which really screws people up… Was I writing in defense or defence of Larry? HA!

Maybe Larry never bothered to re-read what he wrote.

And I’ve never had a spell check program on any computer I’ve ever owned as I prefer to make my own mistakes…I turn it off. And I’m a writer, just published my new book this week!

How’s the weather at my home beach? It was 104’F at 5:30 yesterday afternoon in these mountains, and 90’F at 10am today. Wish I was at the beach on days like this…but of the flip side of that the garden is growing incredibly well this year as long as I water the hell out of it every day!



Frank Gormlie August 17, 2020 at 1:00 pm

Ha ha! Larry OB used to live in OB for a long time, so long that he used to write for the OB Rag when we first went online. Larry wrote a column called “Hitchhikers’ Guide to OB” under the nom de plume of Citizen Cane. https://obrag.org/category/ocean-beach/hitchikers-guide/


Larry OB August 17, 2020 at 1:04 pm

The Tijuana river flows mostly on the south side of the border, then curves North into Imperial Beach. That was the preferred route for going to the coast for fish and salt. Their home was on both sides of the current border. I think preserving their culture is important. We need hiking trails not walls.


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