Groups Camping on Border Cemetery Grounds
SAN JUAN- A group of people are camping out on the grounds of a historic Valley site. With recent land surveying and clearing in the area, they've decided to keep steady watch.
Among gravestones, flowers, and flags, several tents are pitched on the same grounds. The living are at Eli Jackson Cemetery watching over those whose legacy is emblazoned on the gravestone markers.
"We're spiritually connected to this land," explains Christopher Basaldú, Ph.D., of the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe of Texas. "We are the land. The land is us. It's part of who we are."
People from the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe of Texas, along with other groups, have been there with the permission of the property owners -- the Treviño family. This cemetery established in 1865 is a treasure neither of them want to see go away. They want to share with others the cultural and historical value that quietly grows here.
"We're here to educate of course about the history, and raise awareness about the history here in the Valley. We're also here to observe," said Basaldú.
This week, a bulldozer was seen clearing land in another part of the Valley along the border. Those who are here see their role in the ongoing border debate as observers. Basaldú explains, "Not only are we going to be observing whether or not bulldozers come in, but we're also observing the wildlife. Since, there's so little natural habitat left in the Valley, because these kinds of projects can badly affect them as well."
A list of properties that are excluded from border fence construction were announced earlier this week. The Eli Jackson cemetery wasn't on it. Dialogue between congressmen and the Treviño family has yet to yield a concise answer about the its future. For now, the group is staying to watch and alert of any changes.
They're going on their first month of camping out at the property. The group has been staying there since late January.