Border/ Kitt Peak- Blog #6

So, I finally had the opportunity to step foot in Mexico, even if it was only for about 3 seconds. On Wednesday, we went to the Mexican-American Border where we got to see the difficulty the Tohono O’odham people have when travelling throughout their own lands. The wealthy ranch owner on the Mexican side installed a fence that prohibits the Tohono O’odham people from travelling through their land. Vice chairman Kendall Jose spoke of an instance where the Tohono O’odham people had to carry a coffin over the border fence to be able to bury them on the Mexican. It is powerful to hear them tell stories of moments like this where their culture and tribe’s will to adhere to it overcomes every obstacle.

Later that day, we drove up almost 7,000 feet on the side of a cliff to Kitt Peak Observatory. The outlook onto Baboquivari and the desert of Arizona. Up there the air was chilled and the wind blew hard, which was a change of climate for the hot, dry air we had been experiencing. Once again, the beauty of Arizona is something you must see to understand. It is easy to understand why the land is so central to the Tohono O’odham culture. It is merely impossible to look at beauty such as that and simply ignore it. The top of Kitt peak will forever be one of my favorite views.

5 Replies to “Border/ Kitt Peak- Blog #6”

  1. Kitt Peak was awesome wasn’t it? what I really regret is not asking the nation how they felt about the observatory on their land, so close to one of their most sacred sites. how do they feel about scientists just casually working on their reservation. I know they ave a 99 year lease for the site, but how did they feel about this then, and have the feeling improved or changed?

    I also wonder what is going to happen to the site when the lease is up. It may not be useable for an observatory due to light contamination currently. Would the government give it up, would they try to renew the lease or would the reservation take it up and use it as a tourist attraction.

    1. Its a good question about the tribe’s attitude toward the observatory and the lease. I honestly don’t know.

      The welcome sign up there was interesting.

      Its a who’s who of our country’s top research universities, but I was surprised and disappointed that there was absolutely no mention whatsoever of the fact that it is on Tohono O’odham land.

      Harvey and I went in the visitor center and they do have a small exhibit about the Nation in there, but it could easily be missed.

  2. I still can’t believe some of us were stepping into Mexico. High risk low reward if you ask me lol, but all for the memories. I thought Kitt Peak was super cool, even though I was a little nervous with how fast Tanner was driving up the mountain. Those were easily the best views we got on the entire trip, but I wish they had some more of the observatories open.

    1. Donnie, I didn’t think much of it at the time, but now that you mention it, I was a little surprised at how quickly Tanner caught up to me on that drive.

  3. Emily, Thank you for mentioning the story about having to haul the coffin over the San Miguel gate after it was welded shut. That was a perfect story to illustrate the kind of indignities suffered by the folks living along the border under current conditions.

    Glad to hear that Kitt Peak was a highlight for you. I hadn’t been up there before and wasn’t sure it would be worth it or a good subsitute for hiking around Baboquivari. I certainly enjoying going up there. The views were amazing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© Joseph Guse. All rights reserved.