The Native American community that lives on the Mexican-American border - popularly known as Tohono O' Odham Nation-- raised concern about the proposed wall that is to be built along the US-Mexico border.

Edward Manuel, who is the Chairman of the community, told NBC News that they fear that the wall could slice through the Nations' land and separate community members, and the tribe's shared resources that are on both sides of the border.

The Tohono O' Odham Nation owns land that is the size of Connecticut and is a federally recognized community, with its members, spread out on both sides.

More concern

Concern and worry about the proposed $1.6 billion border wall is not only restricted to the Tohono O' Odham Nation. The National Congress of American Indians has also called on the government to consult, work with the tribes found along the border, and address their concerns, so as not to disrupt their way of life.

Since most of the 2,000-mile borderland is owned by private citizens, the government will have to invoke the "eminent domain law" by buying the owners out to gain access to the land. Some landowners have already received notices from the government of the intended buyout.


In a statement to NBC News, the US Customs, and Border Protection said that the working relationship with the tribe has been cordial and effective in the past and at present.

Carlos Diaz, who is an Agency spokesman, said the community leaders of the tribe communicate regularly and have maintained open discussion channels for many years.

One of the most rewarding achievements resulting in this cooperation enables Border Patrol to seize approximately 313,000lbs of illicit drugs annually.

According to a short documentary video made by the community, there has also been a significant drop in the number of illegal immigrants trying to cross the border using the tribal land.

It is due to this cooperation with US officials that has the Nation worried as they were not consulted about the border wall proposal despite owning 62 miles of international boundary land.


Over the summer, Border Patrol sent a letter to the Nation assuring them that the community would not be affected in any way by the proposed border wall.

For a community that does not have a vocabulary for "wall," Manuel hopes that the assurance provided by Border Patrol will stand, and the border wall plans will not change and divide the Tohono O' Odham Nation.