Ofelia Rivas and the O'Odham


Ofelia Rivas stands on the land the O'Odham have inhabited for millenia, which spans the US-Mexico border.

Ofelia Rivas' people, the O'odham, have lived in the Sonoran Desert for thousands of generations, freely traveling to communities throughout their territory, which radiates outward from Baboquivari, the sacred mountain of the O'odham. Conflicts between other nations have throughout history affected the lives of the O'odham, and today is no different.

Ofelia lives in Ali Jegk village in southern Arizona, less than a quarter mile from the United States/Mexico International Border, and her nation, the Tohono O'odham Nation occupies reservation land that lies adjacent to 74 miles of international border.

The border wall represents a massive scar through the heart of O'odham lands, which cover a vast area on both sides of the border. Now Ofelia's people must cross a militarized border to visit each other and their sacred sites and conduct ceremonies. Treated as suspects in their own lands, they are often delayed or prevented from crossing as they are subjected to harassment, detention, confiscation of papers, and even violence.