$500,000 in Department of Defense Funding to Kansas University for Mapping of Communally Held Indigenous Lands in La Huasteca and Oaxaca, Mexico
by Simón Sedillo
November 26th, 2007
$500,000 in Department of Defense funding is being made available to the Department of Geography by the Foreign Military Services Office (FMSO), based out of Fort Leavenworth in Leavenworth County, Kansas. Geography professors Jerome Dobson and Peter Herlihy explicitly acknowledge the security and intelligence ramifications of their project, the Bowman Expeditions, citing the geo-political and cultural effects of the “neo-liberal property regime.” The home of the FMSO, Fort Leavenworth, was the command center of the western front during US expansionism into native lands in the early 1800s as well as the epicenter of the War Departments “control” over native populations after the civil war. Today, the FMSO focuses on emerging and asymmetric threats to the national security of the United States of America, which is a red flag as to their intentions in funding the Bowman Expeditions.
US military intervention in Mexico has seen a steady increase in the last decade, and now is set on a fast track through Plan Mexico, which like Plan Colombia, justifies further military funding for the “war on drugs.” The racist history of colonial rule and territorial occupation continues with a whole new set of conspirators seeking economic gain and academic notoriety. The maps produced by this project are not just of the physical landscape, but rather more intentionally of the cultural resistance to displacement. Through the rhetoric of unbiased science, and geographic exploration, the Bowman expeditions are actively paving in Mexico, the road to hell.