Today on 30 Minutes, our multipart series continues with excerpts from O’odham Roots Run Deeper than Walls by Co-Founder of the O’odham Anti Border Collective Nellie Jo David. Migrant Trail Organizing Committee member Kat Rodriguez introduced Nellie Jo David.
As construction workers accelerate the construction of a wall on the U.S. Mexico Territory, unceded O’odham territory is forever altered. Bulldozers plow through Hia Ced O’odham burial grounds and sacred water sources, meanwhile O’odham fight to retain roots on their territorial homelands.
In the face of ongoing militarization in the designated Prevention Through Deterrence corridor, Nellie Jo discusses her involvement in collective efforts to secure human rights and dignity for indigenous and undocumented peoples.
Nellie Jo David works to strengthen indigenous rights and autonomy on the imposed U.S./Mexico borderlands intersecting the Tohono O’odham Nation. Nellie is co-founder of the O’odham Anti Border Collective, a grassroots group dedicated to maintaining connections despite colonial barriers. She is from Ajo, Arizona, traditionally Hia-Ced O’odham territory, just West of the Tohono O’odham reservation, North of Mexico. Nellie was inspired to raise awareness on border issues upon witnessing the increased militarization of her community. Nellie obtained her J.D. with a certificate in indigenous law and policy from Michigan State University in 2014. She is currently working on her SJD at the University of Arizona in the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program.
Since 2004, a group of committed people has coordinated an annual week-long, 75-mile walk from Sásabe, Sonora, Mexico to Tucson, Arizona to call for an end to migrant deaths along the U.S.-Mexico border and to stand in solidarity with victims of global migration. In May 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, participants were unable to physically unite to remember those who have died crossing
In order to continue to raise awareness about migrant deaths and to help raise money for local border justice organizations, organizers launched an alternative Migrant Trail Walk experience to bring people together in a virtual environment. Proceeds benefitted: BorderLinks, the O’Odham Anti-Border Collective, Keep Tucson Together, and the No More Deaths Emergency COVID-19 Bond Fund. The Migrant Trail 2020 Alternative experience included a week of daily reflections, videos, podcasts, and featured speakers.
Edited and produced by Amanda Shauger with audio provided by the Migrant Trail Organizing Committee.