Jan 23, 2009

Ancestral Graves Desecrated for Border Wall

Homeland Security destroyed 69 graves of Tohono O'odham ancestors in one location alone while constructing the US/Mexico border wall south of Tucson, in violation of all federal laws created to protect American Indian remains. Homeland Security and US courts waived all federal laws to protect Native American graves and the environment and then allowed for border wall construction at San Pedro near Nogales. The graves were violated and the details were not made public. Although the archaeologist exposing the desecration only revealed it as a rare find, for O'odham, these are the graves of their ancestors which were destroyed. Archaeologist Maren Hopkins said the village is believed to have existed from around A.D. 700 to 1200.

Jan 3, 2009

border elasticity

The U.S.- Mexico border is penetrable along its length despite efforts to control passage through fencing. As people overcome and adapt to enforcements on the land, new processes of movement and settlement transform the position of the boundary. In cities such as Naco, Arizona and Naco, Sonora, the juxtaposition of dense, sporadic passage fro Mexico and fluid movement from the U.S. results in deformations of the borderline. The purpose of the border as a boundary becomes questionable as expanded conditions are revealed in a fluctuating zone comprised of varied rates of movement. The line becomes elastic - shifting in thickness - back and forth between boundary line and border space.

The fence proposal is a biological water treatment facility situated on the border 1-mile outside of the towns of Naco, Arizona and Naco, Sonora. The site formerly served as  the location for Fiesta Binacional, an annual volleyball game and social gathering straddling the boundary where the existing 13-foot high fence terminates. The treatment facility is an extension of this fence and provides needed clean water to households in both Nacos. In addition, it serves as a platform for residents north and south of the border to openly convene in a shared binational zone. The facility is accessible from both sides with the existing floodlights serving as the only form of security. 

Proposed sewage lines are housed along the present fence and enter the treatment facility below grade to flow into a collection of preliminary holding containers. A series of bioremediation tanks, integrated into the upper levels of the expanded structure, are constructedas ponds with various emergent plants, snails, and fish.The final remedial stages consist of passage through constructed wetlands abundant with plant life, fish, and other microorganisms. The remediation system is modeled after the Ashfield, MA Wastewater Treatment Plant and the Norfolk Holkham, UK Accel-o-Fac Treat-ment Facility.

Thought has been given to the future of the border wall and adjacent towns. The life of the treatment facility rests on the political position behind the physical fence and subsequent population increase or decrease of the two Nacos. If the towns are to grow, the structure is designed to expand along the border as a system of multiple units. The current proposal consists of two symmetrical units that provide for 350 households.

The possibility of population decline (negating or lessening the need for the facility) has required consideration of materials that may break down and/or disassemble for reuse elsewhere leaving behind the primary steel structureto act as a border marker or as a base for the developmentof a different structure. Left unbuilt, the remaining structural members would demarcate the frontier, however, rather than dividing the two sides, they would stitch the territories together with an open, porous, framework.