Trump Plans Endanger Almost Two Dozen Archaeological Sites


President Donald Trump’s intention to block off Mexico with a border wall is well-documented. What’s less publicly documented at this point though has just broken in The Washington Post is that apparently, Trump’s wall construction plans are so pervasive that they could include the damage or destruction of up to 22 archaeological sites along the southern U.S. border area in coming months. The sites include what The Post describes as “unexcavated remnants of Sonoran Desert peoples” and are situated in Arizona’s Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, as outlined in an internal National Park Service (NPS) report that the publication obtained.

Local Native American leader Ned Norris — who’s the Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman — insisted:

‘We’ve historically lived in this area from time immemorial. We feel very strongly that this particular wall will desecrate this area forever. I would compare it to building a wall over your parents’ graveyards. It would have the same effect.’

The National Parks Conservation Association’s Kevin Dahl added:

‘Archaeology takes time, and they have a deadline. Putting a wall there is insane. This is just one more reason why ramming this wall through, using illegal, unconstitutional money, is damaging to these public resources. We’re destroying what we’re supposed to protect.’

Other potential issues include a concern from scientists that local “springs could dry up if crews pump groundwater from the area for the barrier’s concrete base.” The revelations come as Trump has dug into a promise to have 500 miles of his wall complete by the 2020 elections. That includes bulldozers and excavators “rushing” through the targeted areas, as The Post puts it, leaving destruction in their wake in the name of Trump’s quest for a massive steel monument to his racism. As The Post also notes, while many challenges to Trump’s wall plans that have included concern about the impact on the local environment have come from outside forces, these emanate from a “well-respected federal agency within the Department of the Interior.”

Of course, Trump and his cronies have proven ready and willing to steamroll over respected federal agencies already. Trump spent days recently trying to convince everyone that he somehow wasn’t completely wrong in saying Alabama would feel effects from the recent Hurricane Dorian despite the state sitting well outside of pretty much all forecasted impact zones. While that went on, behind the scenes, Trump associates like Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross demanded that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) not correct the president’s demonstrably false assertion.

In this case, Trump has taken on the construction of his long-sought border wall as a personally defining “passion project.” As he remains only increasingly obsessed with the idea, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) seems more and more on the money for having denounced the debacle as a “like a manhood thing” for Trump.

The Post notes that Trump has been “demanding weekly updates on construction progress and tweeting out drone footage of new fencing through the desert,” leaving officials feeling like they’re “under extraordinary pressure to meet Trump’s construction goals.” Has dissenting ever occurred to them? Or is falling in line with Dear Leader a part of their inexorable rules of the road here — or what?

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