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“Our Origin story begins with our Original Instructions as Indigenous peoples and continues to root our work today”- Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras

The Alianza Indígena Sin Fronteras/Indigenous Alliance Without Borders (AISF) was established in 1997 at an Indigenous border consultation on the Tohono O’odham Nation to address persistent law enforcement abuse against Indigenous peoples living in the U.S.-México border region. The gathering included Indigenous, local, international and regional allies who work on issues of human rights, immigrant rights, environmental justice, and social change. At least nine different Indigenous communities agreed to work together to promote Indigenous rights and proposed that Indigenous communities needed an organization to focus completely on Indigenous border issues. We work inter-tribally, from California to Texas. 

 

The following members were among those who attended the gathering at the San Xavier District of the Tohono O’odham Nation and proposed the Indigenous alliance: 

  • Austin Nunez - Tohono O'Odham

  • Mike Flores - Tohono O'Odham

  • José García - Tohono O'Odham in México

  • Brenda Robertson - Akimel O'Odham

  • Julián Rivas - O'Odham in Mexico

  • Fidelia V. Mendez Garcia - Yaqui in Mexico

  • José R. Matus -- Pascua Yaqui

  • Sylvia Ledesma – Chicana

  • Guadalupe Castillo – Chicana

  • Isabel Garcia – Chicana

  • Bruce Black – Angelo

  • Maria Garcia – Purepecha

  • Dale Phillips – Cocopah

Plática with AISF Founders on the history of Alianza

Featuring: Joseph Garcia (Tohono O'odham), Maria Garcia (Purépecha) and David Garcia (Tohono O'odham)

Recorded: July 2022 in commemoration of AISF's 25th Anniversary

Video Premiere: Tuesday, August 9th at 6PM (Tucson Time)

For 25 years, through teach-ins, actions, training and workshops, decolonial cultural projects, youth mentoring, and ceremony as collective action, our advocacy addresses how Indigenous peoples can respond to issues themselves. 


Our work is multi-dimensional and an interconnected expression of Indigenous knowledge. While the struggles of Indigenous communities intersect with all other forms of oppression, we continue to challenge a lack of inclusion to larger human rights and social justice struggles.

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In our social and border justice campaigns, cultural preservation and sacred site protection, we have ongoing partnerships and coalitions with those working against border militarization, Indigenous language rights, and Missing and Murdered Indigenous People and Children.

 

Our layered strategy factors the sovereignty of tribal nations, building relations with tribal leaders, and on-the-ground advocates. In our earlier projects to provide “Know Your Rights” workshops and information to Indigenous communities, we highlighted the rights of mobility and passage. Today, we have expanded our work to include  Indigenous migrants, working to provide  direct services through the Indigenous Language Office and developing an Indigenous anatomy manual in 16 Indigenous languages of peoples in diaspora. 

For the past 25 years, we have organized gatherings with hundreds of Indigenous peoples, elders, leaders, activists, organizers and people on the front-lines of change, building coalitions and developing resources that strengthen Indigenous peoples’ abilities to take action and protect sacred sites/Indigenous cultural knowledge.  We have asserted our presence in interconnected human and civil rights work, raising awareness about Indigenous experiences within these spaces. Our plant medicine project recognizes the sovereignty of the Natural World and respects the Natural Laws that our Peoples have honored to establish our lifeways, philosophies and human survival. We have organized transnational delegations related to the Yaqui water rights struggle; campaigns to focus on Indigenous language rights and intergenerational Indigenous knowledge gatherings with students, youth and elders from dozens of nations; completed/disseminated a manual for tribal members and tribal leaders to understand laws and policies that protect the rights of mobility and passage of tribal members divided by the U.S.-Mexico. 

We continue spearheading a coalition of diverse organizations to establish Indigenous Peoples’ Day (IPD) in Arizona. More than eleven governmental bodies have adopted/amended our proposed proclamation. Our annual IPD event typically attracts approximately 500 people. The IPD event, with Indigenous rights reports and Indigenous cultural presentations, informs people and commemorates our survival and endurance as distinct Original Peoples. 

 

Our late founder, José Matus, rallied the Alianza collective with the Yaqui word “Namakasia” which is a Yaqui word that means the dignified struggle of the present, and the dignified struggle of our ancestors, and that together we stay strong.

In that spirit, we continue toward the future.

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Jose Matus and Monica Denowh

Plática with AISF Founders on the history of Alianza and consejos for the future

Featuring: Joseph Garcia (Tohono O'odham), Maria Garcia (Purépecha) and David Garcia (Tohono O'odham)

Recorded: July 2022 in commemoration of AISF's 25th Anniversary

Video Premiere: Tuesday, August 9th 2022 at 6PM (Tucson Time)

"We Are Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras" video in celebration of AISF's 25th Anniversary

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