Case Studies in Water and Power

Donald J. Pisani

in Water and American Government

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2002 | ISBN: 9780520230309
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520927582 | DOI:
Case Studies in Water and Power

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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

Chapter.  10196 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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