Reies Lopez Tijerina Star Witness at Sedona Retreat Recalls His Revolutionary Struggle for Justice
“And the day He will call them, then say: What was the answer you gave to the messengers? On that day excuses will become obscure to them, so they will not ask each other.” –Holy Qur’an, Surah 28, verses 65-66
Mr. Reies Lopez Tijerina often referred to as “The Tiger of the North” by his contemporaries and biographers broke down several times fighting tears as he recalled his early years searching for God and justice for his people. This charismatic leader of the “Chicano” or “Indo-Hispanic” people delivered his fire-brand address speaking in detail about his revolutionary protests against injustice and the violation of the peoples’ rights. We, who were in attendance, were awed by his truthful candor and humble appearance of a noble gentleman; however, he came across with the warrior spirit brandishing buckler and shield as he spoke about his confrontations with the United States government for freedom, justice and equality.
Mr. Tijerina’s archives and historical record are housed at the Center for Southwest Research in the Zimmerman Library on the campus of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Quoting from articles written about him in several newspapers published in Albuquerque, they describe his demeanor as kind and welcoming as a favorite uncle until he begins to talk about the historical courthouse raid which put him and his followers on the front page of the world’s map of heroes. He lead the raid at the Rio Arriba County Courthouse on June 5, 1967 in New Mexico as the greatest land grant activist. In his own words he states: “They violated the First Amendment … that gave me the right to make a citizen’s arrest.” It was on that day when he and 20 other armed land grant activists charged into the Rio Arriba County Courthouse to make a citizen’s arrest of their district attorney Alfonso Sanchez, who they contended violated their right of lawful and peaceful assembly.
In the immediate aftermath of the June 5, 1967 raid, New Mexico National Guard tanks and troops scoured northern New Mexico in search of Reies Lopez Tijerina and other Allianca members. Unjustifiably Tijerina would eventually serve time in prison. Once freed, he won the case for his defense and won with the case dismissed. During the ceremony inaugurating his historical archives at the Zimmerman Library, two of our brothers from the Latino community representing the Nation of Islam were called upon to secure Mr. Tijerina during this event in beautiful and immaculate F.O.I. fashion, Brother Steven Muhammad from Phoenix, Arizona, and Brother Alfonso X from Houston, Texas.
We will note that while this event which made him world known took place more than 40 years ago, he is proclaimed as a hero in land grant reform and resulting in the return of millions of acres of land to the original settlers in that state which is still occupied to this day. This history testifies to the many great and awesome unsung heroes who were in the forefront of reform for their people. Like the great messengers of God raised in the past who were thought of as criminals by their contemporaries, but in the end, they are acknowledged as heroes. This is in the case of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and all others who were chosen to deliver their people from the plight of injustices over the last 6,000 years of world history.
The most powerful part of his testimony included his wonderful meetings with the Honorable Elijah Muhammad in the 1960s, both in Chicago and later in Phoenix, Arizona. It was a touching moment for me to realize that during his Chicago visit, I was present in the home of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad to receive and to serve him and his family. One of his daughters named, Rachel, who accompanied her father and wife, Esperanza, to Sedona was only four years old at the time of the meeting in Chicago but remembers the powerful bearing she felt from the presence of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
Everywhere we go in America or abroad, we will find that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad prepared and opened the way for universal unity and brotherhood from all original families of the planet earth. Mr. Tijerina met the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan in the early 1990s during one of our large gatherings held in Los Angeles, California, on the subject of uniting the Black and the Red as one. He is holding proudly this photo taken of him with the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan at that time and cherishes it deeply until the two will meet again (Inshallah).
Other key witnesses have recorded their testimonies to be included in this article.
“When I reflect on the Mxodus gathering at the Junipine Resort in Sedona, Arizona, I am overwhelmed with joy and feel a sense of great duty shared with everyone the value of an emerging nation. Mirroring these mountains,the work and manners of the Mxodus team showed a unified effort in presenting the aims of The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad of International Trade and Commerce. I still pinch myself to confirm the reality of members of our nation exhibiting love and sacrifice to offer Mxodus coffee, Mxodus Tours and MXI International land investments.
Throughout the course of our stay, I learned the true meaning of brotherhood and sisterhood as everyone worked to serve our honored guest and each other.”–Chaava Muhammad, Atlanta, Georgia
“I traveled to Sedona to learn more about the Mxodus project. By the end of my trip this project and retreat was in my estimation so beautifully in line with the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s vision for our people economically, spiritually, socially and even educationally. The Mxodusprogram manifests what the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad gave us in the economic blueprint and what we pledge every Sunday “ to enter into international trade and commerce for the benefit of myself, my family and my people.’ As a family we prayed together, meditated together and witnessed in each other Allah’s divine presence.”–Jackie X, Detroit, MI
“The trip to Sedona, Arizona, was one of the most rewarding trips I have ever experienced. It was more than just a spiritual retreat. I had the opportunity to meet beautiful believers from other cities, the opportunity to relax and enjoy the beautiful red-colored mountains and more importantly I was blessed to be in the presence of Mother Tynnetta a divinely guided and wise Mother of the Faithful. I really, really thank Allah for allowing me this experience.”–Melody Muhammad, Wilmington, Delaware
“The Sedona Conference was indeed enlightening. I did not realize so much work went into purchasing the coffee. Though I am not a coffee drinker, Mxodus coffee was the best coffee I ever tasted. No need to throw a sales pitch here; I am sold! The sky is the limit.”–Sherman X Reed, Phoenix, Arizona
“But as to him who repents and believes and does good, maybe he will be among the successful. And thy Lord creates and chooses whom He pleases. To choose is not theirs. Glory be to Allah and exalted be He above what they associate (with Him)!”—Holy Qur’an, Surah 28, verses 67-68
To be continued.