Mari White Shell WST 200: Gender & Power (Womens‟ Studies) Margo Tamez, Instructor March 21, 2008 Abstract

The Function of Gender, Race, and Citizenship in Security: the Texas-Mexico Border Wall and Lipan Apache Women‟s Territories On October 26, 2006 Congress enacted the Secure Fence Act of 2006, (Pub.L. 109-367) and Act which allows for over 700 miles of barrier walls, vehicle barriers, infrastructure, surveillance technologies, and deployment of armed personnel and guarded checkpoints.1 Numerous poor, indigenous, Hispanic, Latino, environmental, municipal, and land owners with private property, Spanish Land Grant, Mexican Land Grant, and Treaties protested the construction of the border wall using Eminent Domain, and the Declaration of Taking. The U.S. constitution and the Congressional Omnibus Bill of 2007 mandated that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) conduct prior consultation and negotiation with all impacted landowners. Among the impacted were indigenous women, who were some of the first groups threatened with seizure of their lands, without due process, consultation, or negotiation. Among these, elder Eloisa Garcia Tamez was the first indigenous tribal member with aboriginal and Spanish Land Grant title claims who refused to surrender her lands, and took on the brunt of official denouncements and legal suits by the U.S. government. In doing so, DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff charged that South Texas landowners were attempting to “dupe” the federal government out of a large payment for their lands. The federal government offered landowners $100 for, as Chertoff put it, “their duty as American citizens” to uphold national security. In the border wall conflict, indigenous sovereign peoples with ancient cultures which predate the U.S. Constitution, and European rule of law, and whose traditional territories straddle the U.S.-Mexico border wall, are easily collapsed and reduced into dehumanized stereotypes. These stereotypes often get lumped into broadly generalized renderings of “Mexico” and “Mexicans.” An ideological war of symbols, rhetoric, media, and laws have historical underpinnings in a racially-based border policy—trapping indigenous peoples into deadly zones of increased militarization, poverty, exclusion and marginalization. This project will examine the intersections of gender, race, contested definitions of „citizenship‟ and sovereignty in the border wall conflict centering the constitutional law case of Eloisa Garcia Tamez, a Lipan Apache elder of El Calaboz, Texas. This project will build upon the analysis of „globalization and militarism‟ and „redefining security‟ in Kirk and Okazawa-Rey; the „state of women‟, „domestic violence‟, „murder‟, „global sex trafficking‟, „rape‟, „working for wages‟, „unequal opportunities‟,

Secure Fence Act of 2006, Find Law®, at, (accessed March 20, 2008).

„migration‟, „environment‟, „property‟, „crisis zones‟, and „seats of power‟ in Seager; „militarism and organizational violence‟ in Chasin; the „war on terror‟ in Lentin; and „military‟, „people‟, and „ideas‟ in Burman. Furthermore, this project will foreground indigenous women‟s analysis of the United States through the frameworks of settler states, „guest-immigrant‟ nationhoods, and anti-colonial praxis.

References Stephen Burman, The State of the American Empire: How the USA Shapes the World, (Berkeley: University of California Press), 2007. Barbara Chasin, Inequality & Violence in the United States: Casualities of Capitalism, (New York: Humanity Books), 2004. Gwyn Kirk and Margo Okazawa-Rey, Women’s Lives: Multicultural Perspectives, (Boston: McGraw Hill), 2007. Alana Lentin, Racism: Beginner’s Guide, (Oxford: One World), 2008. Joni Seager, The Penguin Atlas of Women in the World, (London: Penguin Books), 2009. Eloisa G. Tamez, Personal Statements, at

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