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September 29, 2006

Border Summit of the Americas

Listen Live at Earth Cycles September 29, 2006 - October 1, 2006

Tohono O‚odham communities have gathered together in southern Arizona along with Derechos Humanos Coalition, American Indian Movement, International Indian Treaty Council and others to call for an urgent Border Summit of the Americas.

The summit will be held at the San Xavier District Cultural Center, Tucson, Arizona from September 29 through October 1, 2006. to the event.

The hotly debated issues of illegal immigration and border security on the US/Mexico border will be addressed. Floyd Red Crow Westerman, artist, actor, and songwriter will be on hand for an evening concert in solidarity with Nations along la Frontera!

Make your voices be heard!! Immigration policy proposals and homeland security have combined to create a volatile situation along U.S. international borders. Increased law enforcement and vigilantism along the U.S.-Mexico border, in particular, has sparked a wave of reactions across the United States, from massive demonstrations to calls for voter registration campaigns and targeted actions.

In addition, in the northern border, the Bush administration has initiated efforts to nullify the Jay Treaty, which recognizes the right of border passage to Indigenous Peoples. And, have also planned to introduce new legislation for new laws to require DNA tests to determine Indian blood. All of this is being done without consultation or informed consent by First Nations peoples, and in violation of their treaty rights.

Coupled with the failure of both political parties in the U.S. to address the critical issues specifically confronting Indigenous communities today along its border, and by abandoning any meaningful legislation in this pre-election period, is cause for major concern. There is increasing urgency for Indian communities along the border(s) to address U.S. border enforcement policy.¬ Recent legislative proposals affecting immigration, increased militarization of the border and the rise of private militias along the border(s) have created volatile and dangerous environments for American Indian border communities. Each day the likelihood of conflict and violence is increasing.

Many deaths and injuries have occurred, and many of these deaths are of Indian people from Mexico, Central and South America. This Border Summit of affected communities will provide an important opportunity to document current community experiences with border enforcement activities, identify and discuss issues and explore potential responses. An opportunity to invite the participation of Indigenous peoples from Central and South America, many times victims of U.S. immigration prison camps, threats and intimidation is extended to share their perspectives and recommendations for broad networking to help achieve a common goal.

The Border Summit of the Americas will also explore its future participation in the international arena with the newly created discussions at the UN to establish a Permanent Forum on Migration and Development, as a result of the impact of globalization on society. The Permanent Forum will also serve to gauge the progress of the Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations in 2000.

Lets not let the southern desert of the southwestern U.S. become another military strategic post for maneuvers similar to what is being witnessed in Iraq and Afghanistan. For the 25 tribes along the northern and southern U.S. borders, these changes in border security practices have had a dramatic effect.

Currently more than half of the apprehensions are made in Arizona, where just a fraction of the migrants used to cross. At present at least eight tribes/nations on the U.S./Mexico border between California and Texas are directly affected by migrations across their reservation lands; the Kumeyaay, Cocopah, Tohono O‚??odham, Yaqui, Gila River, Pima, Yavapai, Ysleta del Sur (Tigua) and Kickapoo nations.

Issues to be discussed include: environmental threats, human rights violations, cultural rights, treaty rights, and sovereignty for Indigenous peoples and Nations, in particular those divided by international borders between Canada and the United States and Mexico and the United States.

The outcome of the Border Summit will be the development of recommendations for border tribal governments and other affected parties to communicate with local, state and national as well as international bodies.¬ This effort lays the groundwork for non-violence on Indian land and a more secure border.

Donations for the summit can be sent to: C/O Arizona Border Rights Foundation, P.O. Box 1286, Tucson, AZ 85702, a 501(c)3 organization.