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.