We Didn’t Cross the Border the Border Crossed Us

— a member of the Tohono O’odham tribe

how immigration
came to be:

we’d been living on these lands
a thousand years
when this government agent comes in,
makes a mark in dirt and says,

” this is a national line.”

he was very matter of fact

of course we were perplexed
and said to the government agent,

“what the hell are you talking about,
are you an emissary of the Great Spirit
or something?”

“Well, yes,” they said,
 “if you want to put it that way,
in any case this is a national line
so choose one or the other side of it
regardless of your thousand years—
oh, and get a passport.”

Jim Culleny