Humanitarian Sites: A Contemporary Archaeological and Ethnographic Study of Clandestine Culture Contact among Undocumented Migrants, Humanitarian Aid Groups, and the U.S. Border Patrol
For over a decade, Arizona humanitarian groups such as Samaritans and No More Deaths have attempted to help undocumented migrants by leaving water bottles along the many trails in the Sonoran Desert leading from Mexico into the United States. These humanitarian sites have become a source of public controversy, viewed as acts of littering or attempts to aid illegal immigration. During the 2012 and 2013 field seasons of the Undocumented Migration Project, we conducted an archaeological analysis of humanitarian sites to better understand site distribution practices, modification and usage, and associations with other artifacts and site types. Participant observation was conducted during multiple hikes with Samaritans volunteers. In this paper we argue that humanitarian sites illustrate migrant strategies of survival, provide insight into how some humanitarians perceive migrants, and reveal evidence of underlying (often hidden) hostilities existing between Border Patrol and both migrants and those who attempt to help them.
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Humanitarian Sites: A Contemporary Archaeological and Ethnographic Study of Clandestine Culture Contact among Undocumented Migrants, Humanitarian Aid Groups, and the U.S. Border Patrol. Justine A. Drummond, Jason De León. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Seattle, Washington. 2015 ( tDAR id: 433795)
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