The Eli Jackson cemetery is the final resting place for Native Americans, war veterans, freed slaves and Christian abolitionists who shaped the cultural, spiritual and racial history of the Rio Grande Valley.
The historic graveyard is next door to the Jackson Ranch chapel, the oldest Protestant church still standing in the valley.
Both sites are only a mile or so from Mexico, on a long and dusty road flanked by sturdy mesquites. This is where, amid local protest and national condemnation, Donald Trump is pushing to start construction of a new border wall, with potentially disastrous consequences.
The wall will be built on top of a levee just north of the 145-year-old Methodist chapel and cemetery, placing them within the 150ft enforcement zone which the government has said it plans to raze. The church and cemetery, which are designated Texas Historical Markers, would be marooned between Trump’s wall and the actual border, just to the south along the Rio Grande.
In an effort to stop the wall, leaders of the Carrizo/Comecrudo tribe and activists live in a makeshift tent village within the shady cemetery. For almost a year, they have burned a sacred log fire, ringed by tribal flags.
On Monday, the Washington DC district court will consider the government’s motion to dismiss a case brought by the tribe and six other plaintiffs, challenging the constitutionality of Trump’s executive orders which diverted billions of defense dollars to build a wall on the southern border by declaring a national emergency in February.
The plaintiffs say the wall would disturb unmarked native burial and sacred sites across the river delta where tribal clans lived, traded and buried their dead for centuries before colonization. The last stronghold of the Carrizo/Comecrudo nation – an original Texas tribe whose ancestors have inhabited the Rio Grande Valley for at least hundreds of years – was in Hidalgo county, where the cemeteries are situated.
“The border with Mexico divided our people and now, this new wall shows no regard for our ancestors, beliefs or culture which are tied to these lands,” Juan Mancias, 65, tribal chairman, told the Guardian at Yalui (Butterfly) Village campsite, which is monitored by border patrol agents…
The Yucatan Times
with Information from Yahoo News