January 10, 2008

US seizes indigenous land

Border landowners face legal battle in fence plan

U.S. preparing cases; opponents say ancestral rights are at stakeOne of the holdouts is 72-year-old Eloisa Garcia Tamez, who owns three acres of property in El Calaboz, Texas, a community about 12 miles west of Brownsville. She said her property was part of a Spanish land grant and her grandfather was Lipan Apache, a tribe not officially recognized by the federal government but known to have existed in South Texas and Mexico.

"I'm waiting for whatever they've got coming and I'm not going to sign. I'm not," said Ms. Tamez, the director of the master of science and nursing program at the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College.

Ms. Tamez is part of a group of other opponents of the border fence who say the Department of Homeland Security is violating the rights of indigenous landowners, descendants of American Indians and other people who claim ancestral rights to the land or whose families were awarded property through Spanish land grants.

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