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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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Case Studies in Water and Power

Case Studies in Water and Power

The Yakima and the Pima

(p.181) 7 Case Studies in Water and Power
Water and American Government

Donald J. Pisani

University of California Press

This chapter discusses the study of federal water policy in the Yakima—also known as the Yakama—of Washington and the Pima of Arizona. It shows that irrigation allowed these two groups of Indians to increase and diversify their food supply even before railroads and stage lines brought them into close contact with large numbers of whites. The histories of the San Carlos and Wapato Dams reveal that the Reclamation Service took advantage of the suffering of Indians in order to win congressional appropriations. Eventually irrigation on the Pima and Yakima Reservations was controlled by the Reservation Service. Here, the water needs of the Indians were only satisfied after the demands of white farmers had been met, despite the fact that the Indian rights had seniority. The chapter concludes that irrigation both destroyed and undermined the mixed economy that previously sustained the Yakima and the Pima.

Keywords:   Yakima, Pima, irrigation, food supply, San Carlos Dam, Wapato Dam, Indian rights, mixed economy

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