This film is part of an ongoing investigation which has exposed US military mapping of communally owned indigenous land in the Southern Sierra in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. The mapping took place under the auspices of the department of geography from Kansas University in Lawrence, Kansas in collaboration with the Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO) at Fort Leavenworth, in Leavenworth, Kansas. The FMSO senior analyst Lieutenant Colonel Geoffrey B. Demarest declares in several essays and texts that communal ownership of property, leads to crime and insurgency. The film irrefutably exposes an ongoing military strategy to criminalize indigenous land tenure and identity in order to secure political and economic interests in the region.
Among the invited speakers and plenary participants are Jerome Dobson, president of the American Geographical Society, Miguel Aguilar Robledo, geographer from the Universidad Autonoma de San Luis Potosi, Peter Herlihy, from the Department of Geography at Kansas University, and Lieutenant Colonel Geoff Demarest, of the U.S. Army Foreign Military Studies Office. In 2005, the aforementioned individuals and their respective institutions collaborated in the mapping of communally owned indigenous territory in Mexico. The mapping was conducted without informing the local communities that there was military funding behind the project.
Originally published in Left Turn July/Aug 2009
By Simon Sedillo
The facts are clear: indigenous communities in Mexico are being preyed upon by the US military with the help of Kansas University geographers. In 2005, the Department of Geography at Kansas University received $500,000 in Department of Defense funds to map communally-held indigenous land in the Mexican states of San Luis Potosi and Oaxaca. With the help of the US Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO), located at Fort Leavenworth Army base in Leavenworth, Kansas, geography professors Peter Herlihy and Jerome Dobson ploughed ahead with the “Mexico Indigena” project, a part of the larger mapping project, the Bowman Expeditions.
by Simon Sedillo
March 25th, 2009
On October 23, 2006 the Lawrence Journal World or LJ World published an article which silently uncovered a funding scandal within Kansas University, in Lawrence, Kansas. In 2005, the university’s department of geography received at least $500,000 in Department of Defense funds to map communally held indigenous land in the states of San Luis Potosi, and in Oaxaca, Mexico.
As a result of this original story, on November 26th, of 2007 elenemigocomun.net published a feature follow up story on the funding scandal titled “The Road to Hell”, which elaborates on the the potential dangers of this type of militarily funded mapping project. Since the publication of this 2007 article, myself and a growing number of community members and students from both sides of the U.S. Mexico border, have engaged in several extensive investigations into the details of this particular research project. Our growing concern has revolved around, academic ethics violations due to improper transparency with communities about the research funding, and serious U.S. Army violations of Mexican sovereignty, and of indigenous autonomy. Our collective research over the last year has resulted in several key pieces of irrefutable evidence, demonstrating both academic ethics violations, and serious violations of Mexican sovereignty and indigenous autonomy.
[ The cover image of this issue was created by Simón P. Sedillo.
It portraits Tonantzin, a mother goddess and lunar deity from Aztec mythology, also known as the “Mother of the Corn.” ]
by Simón Sedillo
Originally published in the Summer 2008 issue of ¡Presente! – newspaper of SOA Watch
Neoliberals believe that somehow they have finally discovered a socially responsible, or socially democratic, way of taking people’s land, labor, and resources by force, for profit.
It’s not possible. This is the myth of neoliberalism. This imposed political economy reduces human beings and natural resources into variables in an economic equation. Every day the human variable in this equation is considered more expendable. Indigenous people, farm workers, women, youth, and poor people everywhere are reduced to variables in this equation. When no longer considered economically viable by the powers that be, communities become economically expendable. If a group of people can be treated as disposable for “not fitting in,” imagine how that group is treated when they organize or resist this imposition. Historically they have been treated as a virus which must be eliminated.