The U.S. Department of Justice and attorneys for the Kumeyaay Nation Tribe faced off in federal court once again Thursday in an ongoing legal battle over the construction of the border wall.
Kumeyaay people have lived throughout the border area in San Diego and Imperial counties for more than 12,000 years.
“This is our culture and this is our history,” said Cynthia Parada, member La Posta Band of Mission Indians, one of the 12 bands of Kumeyaay Nation. “Our people fought to stay alive and fought to have generations after them."
And now they feel like the construction of the new border wall is ripping them of their history.
“That wall goes through half of our land and it is of a lot of significance because everything gets taken away little by little,” Parada said.
In court Thursday, the La Posta Band of Diegueno Mission Indians asked for the judge to grant them a temporary restriction order over their land which would temporarily halt the construction of the wall.
“It got to this point because they are just not working with us, we’ve been out there asking them repeatedly for enough monitors to cover the entire ground of all ground disturbance,” Parada said. “We offered to pay for the cadaver dogs and soil testing, and everything was ignored and never answered.”
According to the tribe, cultural resource surveys and Kumeyaay historians have noted the existence of human remains, burial sites, and archeological sites within the path of construction.
“There are multiple things that have been found at multiple sites,” Parada said. “We’ve found flakes. When they make tools they flake off parts of it, so that’s a sign of a village area."
But the request was denied. Still, the Kumeyaay people aren't giving up.
“We are going to keep going out there and stopping as much construction as we can and make people aware of what’s going on,” Parada said. “This means a lot to us and if this doesn’t go through we’re going to find another way because this means everything, our culture is everything.”
The Department of Homeland Security did not respond to a request for comment.