Native American burial sites in Arizona have been blown up, according to lawmakers and tribal leaders, by construction teams that built the US-Mexico border wall.
The authorities confirmed that "controlled blasting" began in the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, a UNESCO-recognized nature reserve, approximately 185 km west of Tucson, the BBC said in a report on Tuesday.
The United Nations had designated the organ pipe, also known as Monument Hill, as an international biosphere reserve in 1976 and described it as an "untouched example of an intact Sonoran ecosystem".
Officials said the project's goal is to build a 30-foot steel barrier that stretches 43 miles across the national park's land.
In response to the development, Raul Grijalva, a Democratic congressman, described the destruction as "sacrilegious" and added that the federal government had failed to consult the Tohono O & # 39; odham nation.
According to Grijalva, chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, which is a district that encompasses the area that divides the 400 miles border with Mexico, the O & # 39; odham buried warriors of the rival Apache tribe there.
"What we saw on Monument Hill was resistance to tribes that were respectfully laid to rest – that's the one that is blown up with dynamite," the BBC Grijalva quoted.
The tribe leader, Ned Norris Jr., told the Republic of Arizona that while the country is now controlled by the United States government, "we have lived in this area since time immemorial."
An internal report from the National Park Service said that the border wall Trump promised during his 2015 campaign would destroy up to 22 archaeological sites in the organ pipe alone.
It has been reported that the old Saguaro cacti, which Grijalva said the O'odham people considered "as an embodiment of their ancestors," were destroyed.
Due to the REAL ID Act of 2005, the Trump administration was able to erect parts of the US-Mexico border wall on public land, which gives the federal government the right to waive laws that conflict with the US's national security policy.
To build the wall, the White House waived dozens of laws, including those protecting Indian tombs.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and comes from a syndicated feed.)