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Water and American GovernmentThe Reclamation Bureau, National Water Policy, and the West, 1902-1935$
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Donald Pisani

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780520230309

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520230309.001.0001

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Uneasy Allies

Uneasy Allies

The Reclamation Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs

(p.154) 6 Uneasy Allies
Water and American Government

Donald J. Pisani

University of California Press

This chapter looks at the shaky alliance between the Reclamation Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). It shows that irrigation was dubbed as a cure-all for the economic and social problems during and after the depression of the 1890s. Irrigation also played a large part in the campaign to merge Indians into white society. It then looks at the BIA, which was the first agency to build irrigation projects on federally managed land. The discussion reveals that while the Reclamation Service had little to no real interest in the welfare of the Native Americans, it needed Indian money and land. The chapter also provides a top-down look at Indian policy, introduces the idea of Indian water rights, and examines the famous Winters case. Black-and-white photographs of Frederick H. Newell, Arthur Powell Davis, Elwood Mead, various irrigation structures, districts in Twin Falls and Rupert, and farm dwellings are provided.

Keywords:   Reclamation Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, 1890 depression, irrigation projects, Native Americans, Indian policy, Winters case

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