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«Item type text; Electronic Dissertation Authors DeJong, David Henry Publisher The University of Arizona. Rights Copyright © is held by the author. ...»

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506 There was an “Old Santan Canal” on the south side of the river that at one time served the lands south of the main channel of the Gila (between the Gila and Little Gila). See “Report on the San Carlos Irrigation Project and the History of Irrigation along the Gila River,” Appendix A, in Indians of the United States, Hearings before the Committee on Indian Affairs, House of Representatives 66th Congress, 1st session (Washington, DC: GPO, 1919), p. 123.

218 controlling dam at its head, the Pima constructed a brush dam to capture available floodwaters. In 1911, this head washed away three times. Even though the year had been “extremely favorable in respect of flood water,” the Pima received little benefit “on account of there having been no means of controlling” the water for irrigation. The Reclamation Service informed the Indian Service that if it wanted a dam it would have to supply it.507 The Pima first learned of the Code scheme in 1904 and “it came,” Cook scolded Leupp, “like a thunder clap out of the clear sky.” At first the Pima refused to believe Cook’s claims. Then, the missionary lamented, the Indians learned “the plot had been laid secretly.” Any scheme to rob the Pima of their land would be opposed, as the land proposed to be sold “can be irrigated from the Tonto Reservoir and the Gila and Salt Rivers,” a fact “well understood by those who advocate the sale of these lands.” This “explain[ed Code’s] haste and secret endeavors,” Cook chided the commissioner.508 Despite such plans, the Pima refused to move. “[T]hey just stayed wherever they were,” Pima elder Lloyd Allison noted, “at Casa Blanca, Bapchule and those villages.”509 The Pima also rejected Code’s proposed five-acre allotments as some Pima growers cultivated sixty or more acres.510 In March 1906, Antonio Azul informed Leupp the Pima needed “enough water to irrigate from 25-30 acres to the family” and additional land to grow crops to sell and provide the people with firewood, pastureland for their

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animals and access to natural desert plants, such as wild spinach and cactus fruit. Leupp responded the Indian Service was “doing all in its power to get irrigation for that amount of land for each family.” Nonetheless, Leupp was surprised to learn the Pima still opposed groundwater. “I beg to assure you that if water cannot be procured through pumping,” Leupp warned the chief, “it will be impossible to obtain irrigation for the Pimas.” The Commissioner further informed Azul he was “not aware of any movement on behalf of whites to take your land. Unless it can be irrigated by pumped water, it is not worth the taking.”511 The following year, Azul informed Garfield that the Pima needed thirty or more irrigated acres of land for each family.512 Hugh Patten, a Pima businessman and former school teacher, dispatched a letter to Leupp on behalf of Azul and the village chiefs, again requesting river water that would fertilize the land to produce good crops. In response to the cession of land, the chiefs explained the Pima had “no land to spare as Mr. Code thinks.”513 Azul penned another letter to Garfield, expressing his view that the Pima were “willing to pay our share for good river water.” Nonetheless, the aged chief opined, government engineers had sent in false reports “in order to rob us of our lands.”514 When Patten and fellow Pima Lewis Nelson traveled to Washington, D.C., in 1908 to personally object to groundwater and allotment, they were forbidden to leave the 511 “Letter of F. E. Leupp, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, to Chief Antonio Azul,” through the Pima School, dated March 27, 1906, in Cook’s First Record Book, pp. 80-81.

512 “Letter of Antonio Azul to the Honorable James R. Garfield, Secretary of the Interior, dated November 28, 1907,” in Report in the Matter of the Investigation of the Salt and Gila Rivers—Reservations and Reclamation Service, p. 153.

513 “Letter from Antonio Azul and all the Subchiefs, written by Hugh Patten, to the Hon. Commissioner of Indian Affairs F.E. Leupp,” dated Sacaton, July 30, 1906, in Cook’s First Record Book, p. 108.

514 “Letter from Antonio Azul to the Honorable James R. Garfield, dated November 29, 1907,” in ibid, p. 109.

220 reservation. Assistant Indian Commissioner A. C. Tonner told the men, “The Indian Office [will] look after [your] interests.” The men were also disallowed “to meet with and talk to Government officials who came to our reservation.” Government officials effectively disenfranchised the Pima. Garfield did, however, agree to postpone allotment.

“In the future,” the secretary promised, “when the extent to which the lands can be irrigated is made known the question of separate allotments can be taken up in council with your tribe, if it at that time is so desired.”515 The Pima stood on another precipice in 1908, fearing not only the loss of 180,000 acres of land and their rights to the low water flow of the Gila River but also their traditional economy and means of farming. Having grown increasingly frustrated at the lack of responsiveness of the Indian Service, nine Pima men sent a petition to the Indian Rights Association seeking its assistance in defining Pima water rights. Within their petition, the men declared their steadfast opposition to being “moved from our homes,” seeking instead to have “water supplied to our farms as they are at present situated.” They also demanded that their rights to the “natural low-water mark flow” of the Gila River— or as much “as we were accustomed before it was all stolen from us”—be protected.516 As importantly, the chiefs requested their sovereignty be respected and that a representative of the United States Government “confer with us … to examine the conditions pertaining to land and water on this reservation.” To date, Antonito Azul, the chief’s son, and Sacaton Flats Chief John Hays complained, “we have had no voice in the

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matter at all,” having been “continually overreached by Engineer W.H. Code, who has attempted to force a system of irrigation upon us.”517 On December 16, 1911, Antonito Azul appealed directly to the United States Congress. “Some 20 years ago and all the time before that date we, the Pimas, had all the water needed to irrigate our farms, and we had no difficulty in making our living. Since that time, unless the rainfall was great, we have had to suffer more or less for the necessaries of life.” After the assassination of President McKinley, Azul continued, Code “persuaded [the] Government to build the Tonto (also called the Roosevelt) Reservoir at a great cost. [He] also persuaded the Government to build electric power pumping plants, at a great cost, in order to supply [us] with worse than worthless well water.” The Pima understood what the alkaliimpregnated groundwater would do to their farms. They had water samples analyzed and sent Lewis Nelson and Hugh Patten to Washington, D.C., only to discover the Indian Service and the Reclamation Service “would not listen to our people.”518 Two weeks later, Azul penned “An Appeal for Justice” to the “People of the United States,” describing how Superintendent Alexander “place[d] himself across the Pimas’ path, between him and his river water.” Soon after, Code was appointed irrigation engineer. “We have not the papers to show just what the speculators and politicians of the Salt River Valley had to do with the appointments of Agent Alexander and Engineer Code, but the events which followed speak loudly.” The appeal then described how the Phoenix schemers “decided upon … the Salt River Valley instead of the Gila River

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Valley” for the first reclamation project. After the Indians were promised water from the Salt River project, Code immediately began speaking of ground water for the Pima. More importantly, Azul lamented, Code and Alexander never told the Indians of their “right to good river water without expense.” Azul appealed to Congress and the American people to “come to our aid.”519 At the request of the Pima, Samuel M. Brosius, of the Indian Rights Association, encouraged the House of Representatives to investigate the activities of Newell and Code, as well as the general expenditure of irrigation funds on behalf of the Pima.

Brosius explained how Code sought to allot land in Gila Crossing but then changed his mind with “the completion of the Roosevelt Reservoir [as] all the cultivable land … at Gila Crossing can now be supplied with Salt River impounded water.” Once considered of little value, the land had “much speculative value.”520 Brosius distrusted Code, questioning why he “want[ed] the [Gila Crossing] Indians to abandon [1,500 miner’s inches of water] in order to get a similar amount of pumped water from the wells at Santan?” Furthermore, seepage water at Gila Crossing and Maricopa Colony was equivalent to the output of seven pumps in Santan. With the cost of each pump $10,000, why was this money not used to extend the electrical power line and “augment the natural supply of water at Gila Crossing with three or four wells?” As Brosius reasoned, the wells were put in at Santan and not Gila Crossing so that nonIndians would “get the natural flow of good river water and the Indians [would] get the

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electricity” to pump inferior quality well water. Through the “aid of some unscrupulous officials” the Pima stood to lose much more than their land.521 With regard to the “Casa Blanca Indians,” there was a concern they, too, might be relocated to Santan. While Code initially agreed they should receive allotments at Casa Blanca, by 1909 he was of the opinion they should remove to Santan—with children potentially receiving allotments on the south side of the river near Casa Blanca.522 Code even suggested, “the Blackwater Indians would have to be moved.”523 The Pima were not amused with this scheme. In the summer of 1909, Antonio Azul convened another meeting of the village leaders “for the purpose of sending in a strong protest to Washington.” Azul and village chiefs Juan Jackson and Vanico continued to protest to Garfield. The chiefs’ major objection was the uncertainty of water in the Gila River. They understood that the proposed allotments were insufficient to enable them to make a living by agriculture and stock raising as they had done heretofore.

Pima protests to the Indian Service made clear they wished to remain self-sufficient. Azul explained the Pima were willing to part with surplus land as soon as the government demonstrated “that we can make a decent living without such lands…. We object to being made paupers and ration Indians merely to benefit a few bad white men.”524 521 Ibid, p. 15. It appeared to the Pima that the reason for the scheme was “The whites want the land at Gila Crossing and are determined to have it at any cost and by any means.” Nelson’s fears are discussed and found in Report in the Matter of the Investigation of the Salt and Gila Rivers—Reservations and Reclamation Service, p. 18.

522 Code told the House Investigating Committee that only “those that desired to move” would have to relocate. See Hearings before the Committee on Indian Affairs, House of Representatives on H. Res. 330, p. 674 See also page 671, where Code explains why children were to be allotted on the south side of the river.

523 See “Letter from Special Allotting Agent Charles E. Roblin to Herbert Marten, Pima Agency Financial Clerk,” dated June 2, 1911, in ibid, p. 16. Code’s comment on Blackwater is found on ibid. No 2, p. 53. Code told the House Committee on Indian Affairs “If those Indians are not willing to [relocate], I presume there are many Indians who would be glad to come,” including the landless Papago.

524 See “Letter of Head Chief Antonio, Chief Juan Jackson, Chief Vanico and 38 others who represent more than 4,500 Pimas, including some Maricopas and Papagos, to Richard Ballinger, Secretary of the Interior,” dated Sacaton, Arizona, July 1, 1909, in Report in the Matter of the Investigation of the Salt and Gila Rivers—Reservations and Reclamation Service, p. 158.

224 Despite Pima concerns, Commissioner Robert Valentine, who succeeded Leupp in 1909, ordered allotting agent Charles Roblin to allot each family ten acres, five for married men and five for married women. This was rationalized on the basis that limited water supplies could be spread across smaller allotments. Minor children would be allotted in the future unless considerations should “cause such course to be impractical.”525 This ambiguity caused the Pima more concern, leading many to conclude that children would not be allotted at all. In the meantime, Cook informed the Presbyterian Board of Home Missions that he “had more calls from the hungry than at any [other time in the] twenty years during my stay here.”526 The conservative Board of Indian Commissioners even adopted the position of encouraging Valentine to restore the natural flow of the Gila River so as to enable the Pima to once again farm the land, “regardless of any injustice or alleged injustice to whites farther up the river.”527 Lewis Nelson also lamented how Code (or Alexander, they each blamed the other) ordered the closing of the Little Gila River, in 1904, denying water to Pima farmers south of the Gila River. The Little Gila for centuries had served as the main conveyance channel delivering water to the fields between Blackwater and Sweetwater.

Its head on the Gila was low and allowed the low water flow to enter its bed to be carried west fifteen miles to fields south of the river. By closing the Little Gila, Code hoped to persuade the Pima they were without water and that groundwater in Santan was the only option. He disguised his scheme by ordering the closure of the Little Gila as a matter of

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