The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee advances human rights through grassroots collaborations.
On Sacred Land: Protecting the Garcia Pasture From Fracked Gas
By on June 11, 2020
UUSC and its members are actively supporting the Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of Texas as they fight to protect their land, specifically the Garcia Pasture, from Texas LNG, a company that hopes to colonize and destroy sites sacred to the Tribe. The company’s motive is corporate greed: They want to build an export terminal for fracked gas on the land.
The Garcia Pasture is a vast marshland neatly tucked on the edges of the city of Brownsville, Texas. The Tribe has gathered on this site for generations to practice their lifeways. A land that was once held sacred for its biodiversity and proximity to the ocean now stands completely fenced off. The construction of Texas LNG towers can be seen in the distance as dead pelicans—a sacred bird to the Tribe—pile up throughout the site.
It is here where Tribal Chair Juan Mancias walked my colleague Gina and I along the edge of the fence just a few months ago. Here he invites us to remember with him what it means to be stewards of this land. At one point, he runs to his truck and returns with some tobacco, slowly sprinkling it over the dead birds and animals reminding us that oil and gas kills everything it touches.
The Tribe held a Tribunal for Human Rights for three days at the end of May (recordings for day one and day two have been posted). It was a historic event seeking to bring national and global attention to the violations of Indigenous sovereignty happening at sacred sites for the Tribe. It was also a call to action to stop the buildout of additional Texas LNG towers at the Garcia Pasture. The tribunal modeled an Indigenous process of addressing harm and through the three days brought together online panels of legal and environmental experts, as well as historians and tribal testimonies.
Hundreds of advocates, activists, human rights observers and tribes from around the world participated online. The information gathered has now created a public account of the harms Texas LNG continues to inflict on the Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe, supporting their call for accountability and restitution.
Through this Tribunal the Tribe affirms their inherent right to protect the land, their right to survival, and their right to recognition. This Tribunal is one important step in the continuous fight to return and restore the Garcia Pasture.
About UUSC: Guided by the belief that all people have inherent worth and dignity, UUSC advances human rights globally by partnering with affected communities who are confronting injustice, mobilizing to challenge oppressive systems, and inspiring and sustaining spiritually grounded activism for justice. We invite you to join us in this journey toward realizing a better future!
Photo Credit: Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of Texas Facebook Page