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Best Of The Border (1/20-1/25)

Associate architect Julia Cerrud looking up at the proto-parasol in Amorphica's Tijuana office.
Brooke Binkowski
Associate architect Julia Cerrud looking up at the proto-parasol in Amorphica's Tijuana office.

Courtesy of The Bosque Redondo Memorial and Shonto Begay

Navajo Artist Shonto Begay says, “I could feel and hear the cries of the people the trail the heat the cold. I had to be deep deep inside that to try to bring out the echoes of the cries on the trail.”

Impact Of Long Walk Still Felt 150 Years Later

This month marks the 150th anniversary of what Navajo and Mescalero Apache people call  The Long Walk.  In 1864 the U.S. Army forced more than 10,000 Navajo and Apache to walk 400 miles from their reservation in northeastern Arizona to the edge of the Pecos River in eastern New Mexico. Thousands died.  

According to historian Jennifer Denetdale, “The consequences of The Long Walk we still live with today." She said severe poverty, addiction, suicide, crime on the reservation all have their roots in The Long Walk. And she said the federal government has still not fulfilled its  1868 treaty promises to the tribes.

Arizona Same-Sex Couples Challenge State Laws

Across the country the legal landscape for same-sex marriage is changing, and fast. In the Southwest in recent weeks, courts in New Mexico and Utah have delivered victories to gay marriage proponents.  

Now in neighboring Arizona, some gay and lesbian couples are challenging their state’s definition of marriage.

Mexican Citizen Executed In Texas

A Mexican citizen executed this week at the Texas State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas caused an international uproar.  Edgar Tamayo was put to death by lethal injection Wednesday night for the 1994 shooting of a Houston police officer.  

The Mexican government  argued that Tamayo’s case was compromised from the start because he wasn’t informed he could get legal help from the Mexican consulate after his arrest. An international agreement to which the United States is a signatory — the Vienna Convention — obligates authorities to inform suspects they are eligible for consular assistance.

There are more than 40 other Mexican citizens currently on death row across the U.S. 

Michel Marizco

DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson spoke at the U.S. Border Patrol Tucson Sector headquarters on his first border tour.

Newly Confirmed Homeland Security Director Tours Border

Newly confirmed Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson toured the southern border this week, meeting with local law enforcement, Border Patrol officials and residents in the two busiest border regions, south Texas and southern Arizona.  

Johnson spoke to a critical issue along the border — the use of force by Border Patrol agents: “I think it’s crucial for law enforcement to have accountability and credibility in the areas in which they operate."  

Since 2010 agents have killed at least 18 people, and the vast majority of these cases remain unresolved.  Other issues on Johnson's desk include an aging border infrastructure which impedes trade, and complaints of harassment at border checkpoints.  

Brooke Binkowski

Associate architect Julia Cerrud looking up at the proto-parasol in Amorphica's Tijuana office.

Solar Parasols From Tijuana-San Diego For Paris

A design firm with offices in both Tijuana and San Diego has come up with a innovative solution to outdoor smoking pollution in Paris: solar parasols.  

Cafes in Paris want clean, sustainable coverings for their outdoor dining and smoking areas. The solar parasols power heaters and air filters that clean up the smoke and do not emit nasty gasoline fumes.  

The design won a contest in Paris as a sustainable, long-term solution to the outdoor smoking problem.


Alisa Barba was a senior editor for the Fronteras Desk from From 2010 to 2014.