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Indivisible Tohono holds gathering outside of Senator McCain's office

Posted at 10:18 PM, Mar 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-24 13:30:33-04

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Dozens of people gathered outside of Senator John McCain's office in Tucson on Thursday to urge him to publicly oppose President Trump's border wall.

The demonstration was organized by Indivisible Tohono, a grassroots group based on the Tohono O’odham Nation. The reservation stretches up to 75 miles along the U.S.-Mexico border.

"We're feeling that Native issues are not being addressed," said organizer Gabriella Cázares-Kelly. "We have seen this nationally up at Standing Rock, we've seen that here with the proposed border wall."

"Our traditional lands actually extend into Mexico," Cázares-Kelly said. "And we have family, we have religious sites, we have cultural sites that are going to be disrupted by a continuous border wall."

Cázares-Kelly and a number of other tribal members met with some of McCain's staff members. While they want McCain to publicly oppose the wall, Cázares-Kelly says they have environmental concerns. The group hopes studies can be done before construction.

A spokesperson for McCain said McCain's staff met with members of the Tohono O'odham Nation Thursday and the senator will be briefed on their concerns.

The Tohono O'odham Nation has been vocal about its opposition to the border wall, but the nation's government was not involved in the demonstration or meeting Thursday.

Senator McCain has said recently that he does not think a wall would be enough to secure the border. Instead, he believes we need to be enhanced surveillance through technology like drones and more agents.

He's also expressed concerns about whether or not Mexico will pay for the wall, saying that is not a viable option.