Book ID: CBB161206534

Stealing the Gila: The Pima Agricultural Economy and Water Deprivation, 1848-1921 (2009)


DeJong, David H. (Author)

University of Arizona Press

Publication Date: 2009
Physical Details: 247 pages
Language: English

By 1850 the Pima Indians of central Arizona had developed a strong and sustainable agricultural economy based on irrigation. As David H. DeJong demonstrates, the Pima were an economic force in the mid-nineteenth century middle Gila River valley, producing food and fiber crops for western military expeditions and immigrants. Moreover, crops from their fields provided an additional source of food for the Mexican military presidio in Tucson, as well as the U.S. mining districts centered near Prescott. For a brief period of about three decades, the Pima were on an equal economic footing with their non-Indian neighbors. This economic vitality did not last, however. As immigrants settled upstream from the Pima villages, they deprived the Indians of the water they needed to sustain their economy. DeJong traces federal, territorial, and state policies that ignored Pima water rights even though some policies appeared to encourage Indian agriculture. This is a particularly egregious example of a common story in the West: the flagrant local rejection of Supreme Court rulings that protected Indian water rights. With plentiful maps, tables, and illustrations, DeJong demonstrates that maintaining the spreading farms and growing towns of the increasingly white population led Congress and other government agencies to willfully deny Pimas their water rights.

Reviewed By

Review David Martinez (2011) Review of "Stealing the Gila: The Pima Agricultural Economy and Water Deprivation, 1848-1921". American Indian Quarterly (pp. 143-145). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Davis, Diana K
Johnson, Michael L.
Thorpe, Jocelyn
Rice, James D.
Pleasant, Jane Mt
Wishart, David J
Agricultural History
Human Ecology: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Environmental history
University Press of Kansas
UBC Press
Johns Hopkins University Press
University of Nebraska Press
Ohio University Press
Temple University
Environmental history
Land use
Native American civilization and culture
Water supply
United States
Western states (U.S.)
North America
19th century
20th century
18th century
Early modern
17th century
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) (United States)

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