President Donald Trump is determined to build as much of his long-promised border wall as possible before the 2020 election—even if it means destroying sacred land.
Trump-hired contractors are currently working on a portion of the wall in southern Arizona, where they've been detonating controlled blasts at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in the Sonoran Desert.
Organ Pipe is a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) biosphere—a land with a vibrant ecosystem that presents opportunities for scientific advancements and a responsibility for conservation.
Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) confirmed to The Intercept that the blasting will continue through to at least the end of the month, but assured that they had an "environmental monitor" on site and wouldn't do irreparable harm to the land.
Not everyone is confident in their assurances.
Laiken Jordahl, a land rights activist who previously worked at Organ Pipe, wrote in a recent Medium post:
"The wall is destroying the fragile ecosystem park service scientists have dedicated their lives to protect. It will stop migrating wildlife in their tracks, preventing animals like desert bighorn sheep, Sonoran pronghorn and even cactus ferruginous pygmy owls—which rarely fly higher than 12 feet—from finding water, food and mates."
Indigenous activists of the Hia C-ed O'odham people have been fighting the wall—which runs over numerous indigenous burial grounds and other sacred sites—since its inception.
People are speaking out against the desecration of the land.
If you want to get to know Organ Pipe in all its (unexploded) glory, check out Organ Pipe: Life on the Edge, available here.