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Kumeyaay Nation :: Strengthening Cross-border Ties

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Stengthening Cross-border Ties

For more than a millennium, the Kumeyaay tribe lived throughout the deserts between San Diego and Baja California in Mexico. In recent decades, Kumeyaay would jump cattle fences and skirt checkpoints to visit kin on either side of the U.S.-Mexico border. But heightened border security, steel barriers, and proposals for a border fence to curb illegal immigration threatened to split the Kumeyaay. The tribal communities have leveraged the problem as an opportunity to strengthen cross-border ties. “We thought, let’s … rebuild our nation as a whole nation, instead of having pieces on both sides of the border,” says Kumeyaay member Louie Guassac. They negotiated special visas with the U.S., allowing community members on the Mexican side to cross the border freely and stay up to six months.


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Cahuitl, photo by Giovanni P. Flores
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Kumeyaay ceremonial grounds in Baja. Photo by Cahuitl / Giovanni P. Flores
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The DIY Foreign Policy Heroes are part of A Just Foreign Policy, the Summer 2008 issue of YES! Magazine.
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