Support for Kumiai Community, La Huerta, in Baja California, Mexico

author: 
anonymous

Please read the open letter from Ofelia, a Kumiai from the community of La Huerta, in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. In her letter, Ofelia details what her community experienced during the forrest fire of June 20-21, 2015, that ravaged through their territory. According to Ofelia, the authorities in charge of forrest fires acted in negligence and were inefficient in fulfilling their duties to control the fire. Also, the La Huerta community is in need of support to continue reclaiming their culture, maintaining their way of life, and keep their lands. Please contact the email below to support. Thank you.

english || español

english:
On Saturday afternoon of June 20th 2015, a fire started in the Kumeyaay territory, but by Sunday the 21st it had reached our house that is located on the opposite side from where the fire had started. When it was really close, the sheriff of Ojos Negros arrived to clear us from the fire scene; we refused to leave because I could not leave my family behind. I had to defend together with my family the heritage we had been working for and constructing for the last 30 years. Where would we go?

I told the Sherriff:
-This is our home and I do not have any other place to go to, only here. It is our duty to defend it, what we will do instead is take my daughter’s 11 month old baby from here and also my mother, a 73 year old woman who has just arrived, because they can’t bear the smoke.

The sheriff seeing that he would not convince me to leave, told me that he would stay with us and I explained to him that this fire had grown because of the negligence of the authorities. He reaffirmed what I had said and told me that he had notified the authorities of the fire when it began and no one did anything.

In that moment 2 units arrived from the CONAFOR (National Forest Commission) who had sent Mr. Eligio Salgado Chacon. The units checked the fire and in those moments they could have controlled the fires, but they did nothing. They only looked and left from where they came from, despite the fact the units they had could throw water very far and in large quantity, however, they did nothing knowing the fire was very close to our house. I personally called the army and requested help in 2 occasions but they never came. With the help of some community members and the sheriff, we started to free the horses, cattle, sheep, and poultry, also the dogs so they would not burn to death.

Also, with their help we wet our house and with shovels stopped the fire and saved our house, the corrals, and some of the animals. When the fire had surrounded us, an Ensenada fire truck arrived but had little water to help us.

It is not the first time this has happened. Every time we are aware of the inefficiency and negligence from the corresponding authorities in charge of forest fire prevention and control.

-Ofelia. A Kumeyaay woman from La Huerta (Kumeyaay Community near Ensenada Baja California) retells the story of the forest fire that happened on June 20th and 21st. Up until today the corresponding authorities have yet to send any type of support for the community. Almost 2/3 of their territory was burned and can’t be used for cattle grazing or any other use, such as, medicinal plant collecting, food, and to continue using the land in their traditional custom.

How to support?

They need support to care for their cattle and other livestock. If they can’t continue to care for their livestock they must sell the game and leave their community to find another form of living and leave the community vulnerable to outsiders looking to occupy their territory.

To support please contact: ehuatoma@hotmail.com

español:
El día sábado 20 de junio del 2015, por la tarde inicio un incendio en el territorio Kumiai, el domingo 21 nos llegó alrededor de nuestra casa, que está en el otro extremo de donde comenzó el incendio. Cuando ya estaba cerca, llego el comandante de la policía de Ojos Negros para desalojarnos a lo que yo me negué, pues no podía salir corriendo dejando a mi familia. Yo tenía que defender junto con ellos el poco patrimonio que durante 30 años hemos construido y a donde nos vamos?

Le dije al comandante:
–Si esta es mi casa no tenemos otro lugar a donde vivir más que este, así que es nuestro deber defenderlo, lo que si vamos hacer es sacar de aquí a la bebe de mi hija de 11 meses de edad y también a mi mama, una mujer de 73 años que en ese momento venia llegando, ellas no podrían soportar el humo.

El comandante de la policía a ver que no me convenció para que me fuera, me dijo que el se quedaría con nosotros, yo le explique que estos incendios crecen y caminan por negligencia de las autoridades. Entonces el reafirmando lo dicho por mí, me hizo saber que el día que inicio el incendio dio aviso a las autoridades correspondientes y nadie hizo nada.

En ese momento llegaron 2 unidades de CONAFOR (Comisión Nacional Forestal)al mando del señor Eligio Salgado Chacón, observaron la lumbre que en esos momentos se odia controlar pero ellos no hicieron absolutamente nada, solo vieron y se regresaron por donde llegaron, a pesar de traer un equipo que puede aventar agua lejos y en gran cantidad, nada hicieron cuando el incendio esta ya muy cerca de la casa yo personalmente vía telefónica solicité apoyo al ejército en 2 ocasiones pero este nunca llego. Con la ayuda de algunos compañeros de la comunidad y el comandante, empezamos a sacar los caballos, reses, borregos y aves del corral, así como a los perros para evitar que se murieran quemados.

También con la ayuda de ellos mojamos la casa y con palas apagamos la lumbre logrando salvar la casa, los corrales y algunos animales. Cuando la lumbre nos rodeaba llegaron los bomberos de Ensenada y al tratar de auxiliarnos nos dimos cuenta de que no tenían agua suficiente.

No es la primera vez que pasan cosas así, y cada vez queda más clara la ineficiencia y negligencia de las autoridades encargadas de controlar los incendios forestales.

-Ofelia. Mujer Kumiai de La Huerta redacta los hechos ocurridos el pasado 20 y 21 de junio. Hasta el momento falta ver el apoyo por parte de las autoridades en el caso, ya que casi 2/3 del territorio oficial por el gobierno quedo quemado y en desuso por ellos. De sus tierras ellos sustentan sus ganados y obtienen material prima para artesanías, comida, medicina y uso del mismo en sus costumbres tradicionales.

Como Apoyar?

Lo primordial es encontrar la forma de alimentar a su ganado de lo contrario los 8 productores se verán en la necesidad de vender y de encontrar trabajo fuera de la comunidad, dejando a la misma vulnerable a personas foráneas que buscan ocupar el territorio.

Para apoyar al contacto es: ehuatoma@hotmail.com

Translation Note: The Inglés version of this content is being displayed because the Español translation is unavailable.








la_huerta_eng.doc || English



la_huerta_spa.doc || Spanish