We Are the Water Missing Home

Indigenous communities fight against border wall construction near a sacred Sonoran Desert spring.

By: Alisa Reznick

Nestled a few paces from the U.S.-Mexico border in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Quitobaquito Springs are a rare freshwater source in the middle of the Sonoran Desert. Long before the site was National Park Service land, it was a homestead to the Hia C-ed O’odham, a tribe not recognized by the U.S. government that doesn’t have federally protected lands.

In 2020, construction crews building the Trump administration’s 30-foot steel border wall began closing in on the site, and tribal communities across Arizona mounted a months-long fight to stop it.

For O’odham poet and activist Amber Ortega, being part of that fight meant following breadcrumbs left behind by her father, and forging a path of her own.

Explore an extended version of this story here.



Producer: Alisa Reznick
Videographer: Andrew Brown
Editors: Andrew Brown, Mya Long

Original Feature: Arizona Illustrated