“I resent the fence. Someone will get hurt”
- Astrid Quijada, Nogales Historical Society
Today we encountered many a wall.
To start off, at the Prima Alta Historical Society Museum in Nogales, we learned about the history around the wall that we have seen since we arrived: the Border Wall. Our guide there was Astrid Quidada who has lived in Nogales most of her life. She has seen the wall since it was a simple fence for cattle to the razor-wired, imposing, 26-foot fence that it is today. The wall is intended to protect us against those that are seen as “savage” and “unruly.” However, in actuality, these people are not exactly what you would think, but instead are generally escaping from violence as they and their families are fearing for their lives from drug cartels, gangs, domestic abuse, and other terrors. This situation is strangely similar to the situation in the other place that we visited today: the Mission of Tumacácori.
This mission was a Jesuit attempt from the Spaniards to convert the indigenous people of the area to Christianity. At this settlement, there is also a wall which was used to keep out those indigenous groups who opposed Spanish occupation in their homelands. The Spaniards saw these groups as “savages” as well as they thought they needed to be civilized and wanted to keep out those that did not agree with their “civilization” practices. Thus, although these walls are separated by about 400 years, their purpose, to keep out the “others”, remains the same and history still repeats itself.