The Comca’ac Indigenous Group Denounces the Sonora State Government’s Plan to Take their Lands
They Accuse the Governor of Flying Over the Sacred Tiburón Island by Helicopter as He Plots Its Development for Tourism
By Hermann Bellinghausen
October 24, 2006
PUNTA CHUECA, SONORA, OCTOBER 22: The council of elders of the Comca’ac nation (a people also known as the Seri) greeted Subcomandante Marcos this evening in their main community, handing over to him the “staff of authority” of this dignified and combative people. Antonio Robles, the president of the council, then sang the national anthem of the Comca’ac, a war song filled with the breath of the sea. Less than 100 meters away, the Gulf of California swayed with its smooth waves, where the Great Tortoise was born in immemorial times.
“Everywhere, we have seen that the government wants to sell the lands, the seas and the mountains that are protecting the indigenous people to foreigners,” expressed the Zapatista leader to these inhabitants in their ceremonial center. He greeted the men, women, children and elders and told them: “We come to know, not only the pain of this nation, but also its struggles, in order to unite them with those struggles of all the other peoples of América into one single struggle.”
The community’s elderly chief ended his song with a speech in the living language of the Comca’ac, and one youth paraphrased the significance of the song, which always evokes the memory of those warriors that fought to defend themselves. “When the State says that these lands are theirs, we say that the blood spilt on this land by our ancestors is here and it belongs to us.”
Behind them stood the splendid beauty of Tiburón Island, the sacred symbol of these people, but today it symbolizes the potential profit for businessman-governor Eduardo Bours Castelo and all of his accomplices in the Escalera Nautica project, renamed colonial-style as the “Sea of Cortés Project,” which is trying to privatize all of the beaches of Sonora and the rest of the Baja Peninsula.
The indigenous people condemn Eduardo Bours Castelo for his frequent “helicopter flights,” over the island of Tiburón, happily taking count of all the untouched lands and tourist investments that he will be able to make once the federal government’s plans for development are completed.
Don Juan Chávez, a Purépecha indigenous man from Michoacán, who also received the staff of authority, spoke in the name of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) and maintained: “Just like all of you, we have suffered humiliation and dispossession. But just like all of you, we are ready to defend ourselves. Let us unite our hearts and hands for our Mother Earth.”
Don Alfredo Osuna Valenzuela, spiritual leader of the Yoreme-Mayo people of Sinaloa, declared: “All the laws, wrongly put in place, have produced great harm.” This “big brother of ours,” as he is called by Carlos González, also of the CNI, has recognized that for the Comca’ac, “Tiburón Island is their heart, the seas their blood, and the land their body.”
Next Don Ernesto, another Seri elder, spoke: “We were hoping for a moment with Subcomandante Marcos,” and are glad he has finally arrived here. “We have suffered in our territories at the hands of people that have invaded it. This is the sacred place of our ancestors. They established themselves here and went hunting, gathering fruit and fishing, as this is fertile land and like a nursery for wild animals. For this reason, as indigenous peoples we live by using nature. The federal and state government does not want to respect our territory,” and since they need “legal power,” we solicited the help of Subcomandante Marcos to write a document to address the authorities.
Present at this event were the many inhabitants of this community, planted between the desert and the sea, of thin people, of agile men and graceful women with long skirts and faces painted with patterns of red, white and blue, the colors of the Comca’ac nation; children of the deer and wind, brothers of the water, parents forever of their own liberty.
No Police, No Commercial Press, No Spies Allowed
Ever since the caravan the Other Campaign entered these areas, north of Kino Bay, a sign warned: “the passage of police, sellout media and spies is prohibited.” This is how they define their autonomy, negated by laws “wrongly put into place,” but sustained by the acts of the indigenous. This was the point in the road where the five patrols of the Federal Preventive Police (PFP), the municipal police of Kino Bay and the swarm of federal and state agents that follow Delegate Zero and the Caravan everywhere they go, were obligated to stop and retreat.
Returning to take the floor, Delegate Zero referred to the struggle of the Zapatista communities of Chiapas and announced to the Comca’ac that the indigenous communities of Mexico have been united in the CNI to all defend one another, and to struggle for the liberty Seris in Sonora who have been imprisoned for defending that which belonged to them for centuries.
The representatives of the CNI and Subcomandante Marcos continued to discuss the despoliation of the countryside, which has already begun or will begin very soon, threatening the Yoreme (Mayo and Yaqui) people of Sonora and Sinaloa, just as with the Cucapá, Kumaia and Kiliwa in the North of Baja California. Each resistance is unique, but all are one and the same.
And so, while the governor Eduardo Bours – a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) but also a supporter of National Action (PAN) president-elect Felipe Calderón – and his foreign and national associates rub their hands in front of the treasure of the Comca’ac lands and waters, the indigenous people of Mexico are speaking and organizing in their minds and hearts, where no prison, police or “badly placed” law can reach them.
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