Once again friends and supporters we come to you for prayers and support. We are few now but represent the hopes of millions. We sleep on the ground, eat outside, use portable toilet facilities and share the weather and insects. The work we do requires walkie talkies, drones, web access and pure water. Supplies of food, water and transportation are necessary to serve. We need your help.
Phase III begins NOW. We will continue building more camps and villages and Warriors are encouraged to join us. For those who understand our resistance but cannot come, please contribute generously that we may continue fighting for basic Human Rights. For those interested in standing the peaceful line, give us a shout.
— Carrizo-Comecrudo Tribe of Texas Communication
In 2016, the Carrizo-Comecrudo Tribe of Texas—one of the original peoples of the Rio Grande Delta, who call themselves Esto’k Gna, meaning “human beings”—launched an effort to establish frontline encampments throughout their ancestral lands of Somi Se’k (Texas). Beginning with Camp Toyahvale near Balmorhea and then the Somi Se’k Village Base Camp, the purpose of these camps has been to offer education on traditional lifeways and language and to bear witness to the threat posed to sacred sites and ecological integrity by intensifying extraction along the Rio Grande—from fracking in the Permian Basin of West Texas to pipelines tunneling beneath the river into a deregulated Mexico to LNG ports on the Gulf Coast for exporting natural gas.
As the Trump administration has amped up its border wall talk, these villages have expanded both in number and in scope, drawing critical connections between the ongoing destruction of sacred lands and border wildlife to the violent rhetorics and policies of dehumanization that have led to family separation at the border. As the Tribe writes on its fundraising page:
“We operate with the understanding that the issues arising around the border—the right to migrate, destruction of the environment and indigenous sacred sites, and the inhumane incarceration of migrant children—are intersectional and are symptoms of centuries-long control and oppression by colonizers.”
Most recently, the Somi Se’k Village Base Camp has been joined by Yalui Village, located in the Ramirez Cemetery near Mission, Texas, and by Lehai Village, located directly on the banks of the Rio Grande. Both of these camps lie in the path of an already-funded segment of the border wall, and represent a strategy of peaceful direct action against efforts to begin construction without consent of the Tribe and, in many cases, the community.
See Tribal Chairman Juan Mancias speaking to Telemundo about the tribe’s border work below. (For more context, See: “Indigenous Resistance in an Extraction State.”)
If you’ve got a little more time, San Antonio-based environmental filmmaker Janel Sterbentz (and executive director of Bike San Antonio) has produced a ten-minute mini-doc on what the border wall represents to the original inhabitants of the Rio Grande Valley.
As one of few local efforts to engage in peaceful direct action against the wall, the Carrizo-Comecrudo Tribe has issued an urgent call for support for its efforts, with various ways supporters can participate, even from afar.
1. For those whose schedule and health permits, consider joining the encampment. An interest form is available here.
2. For those not able to provide on-the-ground support, donations are needed for camp supplies. Contribute to the camp via their GoFundMe account.
3. Attend the “Butterflies with No Borders: Protect the Sacred” benefit concert, to be held this upcoming Saturday, March 2nd from 1-8pm in Alton, TX. $10 donation, $1 parking.