Proposed Chemical Waste Dump on O'odham Land:
Greetings, My name is Ofelia Rivas. There is proposed chemical waste dump on O'odham Land. I am an O'odham
from the traditional territory of the O'odham, in the United States and México. I have been advocating for the
traditional elders and the ceremony leaders from the O'odham communities in México and the border communities in
the United States.
We have very little information on the proposed chemical waste dump. We know that SEMARNAP (EPA) of México
approved this project. The project name is La Choya in Quitovac. We are seeking information on this project and
appreciate any information that you are able to help us find.
Our concern is that the site is near the O'odham sacred ceremonial grounds. The vighita ceremony has been in
existence since the creation of this world. The ceremony is continued in the same site since it's beginnings. The
whole area with offering sites and the sacred pond and medicinal plants in the area are all of great importance to
the existence of the O'odham and the O'odham way of life, the Him'dag, which is the balance of all life. This
ceremony is very protect by the ceremonial leaders and not generally talked about to non-O'odham although there
is some know publications all not at the approval of the ceremonial leaders. The Traditional O'odham Leaders
have made an official opposition statement in written form.
The community of Quitovac was the site of Idaho based Hecla Mining Company who through illegal permits and
obtained signatures of elders without full disclosure of it's goals. The mine is at this this closed. The Hecla Mining
Company leaked cyanide into arroyos due to poorly lined leaching ponds. The O'odham and local Mexicans
complained about dead animals in the arroyos but nothing was done. We are very concerned due to the critical
example of non-existent Mexican environmental monitoring and the corrupt local political leaders that have been
paid off to approve these types of projects.
Secondly we are concerned about the SEMARNAP permit, 1: they have not met with the O'odham or local
communities. 2: What about the water source and the use and the potential contamination of this water source. 3:
the transportation of hazardous chemical throughout the region and potential danger of accidents and impact on so
many poor communities.