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547 San Carlos Irrigation Project, Arizona: Report to the Secretary of War, pp. 24-26. Secretary of War Lindley S. Garrison appointed Lt. Col. William C. Langfitt, Lt. Col. Charles H. McKinstry and Major Harry Burgess to conduct the study. The Board of Engineers convened in Phoenix on November 12, 1912, and spent the next week visiting the Pima Reservation, Florence, Upper Valley towns and the proposed dam site.
231 in 1902 with a high mark of 1,011,082 acre-feet in 1905. The low average runoff and the extremes between high and low volume concerned engineers. But of a far greater concern was the length of time during which the annual run-offs were “continuously below” the average. The years 1898-1904 and 1908-1910 were all below average flows. While the dam could store more than 310,000 acre-feet of water, the Corps did not believe it prudent to plan more than that amount being stored in any given year. Using conservative estimates, no more than 200,000 acre-feet should be used annually, with two acre-feet of water allocated per acre.548 Figure 7:3. The Pima Agency in Sacaton ca. 1913. Notice the pumping facility to the left of the building. Photograph courtesy of the National Archives and Records Service.
With water to support 90,000 acres of cultivation, the Corps of Engineers recommended 122,222 acre-feet of water be set aside for 55,000 acres of land south and east of the reservation and 77,778 acre-feet of water be assigned to the Pima Reservation, again demonstrating that the government sought to integrate the Indian and non-Indian economy. The Corps adopted a plan to irrigate 40,000 acres on the reservation. Of this,
10,000 acres were under the Sacaton Project with 20,000 acres to be supplied with stored water on the south side of the river. Since the Santan area had groundwater, an additional 10,000 acres on the north side of the river was to receive just one acre-foot of water per acre.549 In the spring of 1910, Alexander proposed ten-acre allotments for the reservation.550 Seeking to limit the expense of a costly irrigation system, the federal government advanced 10-acre allotments with each allottee receiving an irrigable tract of land to provide for his needs. Such lands, however, would provide only subsistence cropping rather than enabling the Pima to reenter the commercial market as they had done when they had sufficient water. In November, the Indian Service tentatively adopted a plan to allot each Pima five acres with assured water rights, five acres with possible water rights and 40 acres of grazing lands.551
irrigable allotments. In April, he dispatched a letter to new allotting agent Charles E.
549 Irrigation engineer Charles Real Olberg and Superintendent Frank Thackery requested water for 50,000 acres based on the projected population of 5,000 Pimas and Maricopas and an allotment of 10 acres per person. The Army Corps of Engineers adopted the latest (1912) population count of 3,996 in coming up with 40,000 acres (10,000 of which would receive just one acre-foot per acre). See ibid, p. 47.
550 “[W]hy are not whole families allotted together at San Tan until all that land has been allotted?” S. M. Brosius inquired. Then allot on the south side of the river near Casa Blanca. See Conserving the Rights of the Pima Indians, p. 17. Code continued to push allotment of children on the south side of the Gila as part of some future project. See Hearings before the Committee on Expenditures in the Interior Department of the House of Representatives on House Resolution No. 103, pp. 671-674.
551 Annual Report of the Board of Directors of the Indian Rights Association, 1910, p. 26.
233 Roblin directing him to “bring sufficient irrigable land within the reservation under ditch to afford allotments … of at least 5 acres.” Allotments would be given to heads of families, their spouse and adult children only. Those not old enough to use their allotment were to have their right protected and would receive land in severalty at a later date from land “not yet under water.”552 Concerns over water again postponed allotment and it was not until 1914, after the Army Corps of Engineers certified the feasibility of San Carlos reservoir (and assured water for irrigable allotments), that the first temporary allotments were made. That year there were 1,661 allotments made, totaling 16,632 acres of land. In 1915, another 1,492 allotments for 14,920 acres of land were made and another 1,733 allotments totaling 23,930 acres were made the following year. In 1917, another 3,407 allotments for 33,737 acres of mostly grazing land were made. By the end of 1917, 4,886 irrigable allotments were made. None was yet approved pending confirmation of water rights. Secondary, non-irrigable allotments (grazing) were being prepared “as rapidly as possible.”553 When the allotments were made they were forced on the Pima. “No consideration was taken by the allotting agent,” Pima elder Lloyd Allison remembered, as “to the location the Indians had lived and farmed in.” The allotments were simply drawn up on paper. Most Pima did not reject moving to an allotment, but feared the allotment 552 “Letter from R.G. Valentine, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, to Mr. Charles E. Roblin, Special Allotting Agent,” dated April 29, 1911, in Annual Report of the Board of Directors of the Indian Rights Association, 1911, pp. 19-21. H.C. Russell, Annual Statistical Report, Narrative Section, (hereafter Annual Statistical Report) Pima Agency, Sacaton, Arizona, dated November 7, 1910, p. 24, in “Superintendents Annual Narrative and Statistical Reports, 1907-1938,” Record Group 75, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Microcopy 1011, roll 104-105.
553 See Survey and Allotment Work, Letter from The Secretary of the Interior Transmitting Statement of Cost of Survey and Allotment Work, Indian Service, for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1914, House Document 1287, 63-3; ibid, Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1915, House Document 143 64-1; and ibid, Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1916; House Document 1455, 64-2. ibid, Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1918, House Document 1508, 65-3.
234 process.554 It was what was on the “other side of the allotment paper” that concerned the Pima. Since many Pima were assigned land that was already occupied by others, they agreed to informal exchanges with “the new allottee [being] charged whatever the old owner thought the crop, wire, fences, etc., on the land they left was worth.”555 By 1916, Superintendent Ralph Ward optimistically reported young Pima farmers were “making all haste to get these new allotments under cultivation.” But in the first sign of the changing economics of Pima farming, there was a growing need for capital resources. Ward noted the Pima were “handicapped in this matter considerably.” The Pima, expecting time to transition from years of deprivation and quasi-traditional methods of farming, were rapidly being thrown into the foray of intensive agriculture needed to compete economically with their non-Indian neighbors. Needing capital to compete, the Pima were discovering it was difficult to farm under the new system. As allottees died, the already small allotments were fractured, with heirship compounding the matter. Not withstanding challenges, two Pima farmers leased non-Indian land “outside the reservation.” As of yet, none of the reservation land was leased.556 The leasing situation changed in 1917, when Lincoln Fowler, a Phoenix farmer and entrepreneur, leased 2,500 acres of allotted land along the northern boundary of the reservation with Tempe. With the assistance of former Superintendent Frank Thackery, 554 White Man’s Friend, pp. 13-14. Allotments were made at the old Olberg Trading Post. Each day the Indians came to find out where their allotment would be, although four Pima men—Joseph Moffett, Joshua Russell, Hijorshmut, and Sampson—were leaders of a resistance movement opposed to allotment. To prevent them from disrupting the process, the allotting agent had the four arrested by a U.S. Marshall, who incarcerated the men in a Phoenix jail. Allison notes that the four men did not receive good allotments when they were allotted, receiving land “far out where the land was not irrigable.” This broke the resistance movement, although opposition still remained.
555 Ibid, p. 14. The Pima’s discovered what was “on the other side of the paper” after Carlos Montezuma explained to them that their allotments (10 acres) were much smaller than the 160 acre allotments given elsewhere in the country. Allison explains the Pima asked the allotting agent to describe what an acre was but he refused. After Montezuma came, the Pima “learned to step off an acre with 25 long steps.” Montezuma was run off the reservation several times.
556 Ralph Ward, Annual Statistical Report, pp. 9-10.
235 Fowler leased 250 ten acre allotments made at the direction of Cato Sells in 1917.
Working with Sells, Thackery and Congressman Carl Hayden, Fowler had knowledge Maricopa County Drainage District No. 1 (Tempe) had incorporated in 1914 for the purpose of draining groundwater and tailwater from land being reclaimed in south Tempe. With the agricultural boom in the Salt River Valley, land was at a premium, with the remaining sloughs and other wetlands being drained by 1915. The water was drained via what came to be known at Fowler’s ditch (now Gila Drain).557 Figure 7:5. The Fowler lease was the first on the reservation. It set the pattern of land leasing facilitated by the 1910 amendments to the General Allotment Act. Source: Arizona Republic, March 10, 1918.
The drainage ditch was completed in May 1917 and on September 20, Sells signed an agreement with Drainage District No. 1 giving the United States Government control of the drainage water. Since Pima allotments could be legally leased subsequent to 1910 under an amendment to the General Allotment Act, the era of leasing Indian land began. Fowler proposed the Tempe drainage water be used on the 2,500 acres he subleased to non-Indian farmers in the area due north of Lone Butte. Superintendent Ward then signed eight-year leases on behalf of the Pima landowners and, by March 1918, work on the Fowler ditch began.558 The Fowler lease demonstrated the changing nature of land severalty. Rather than benefit Pima landowners as the original allotment act intended, the allotment act was manipulated—in light of the National Reclamation Act initiating a race to put all arable land under irrigation—by the U.S. Government, which then asserted rights to the water from the Salt River Valley to benefit Fowler (and eventually other lessees). Pima land, rather than being farmed by and for the benefit of the Pima, was instead leased and made productive by non-Indians to the benefit of the national economy. The transformation of Indian land was complete.
Allotment was largely completed by 1920, with the first trust patent issued to Antonio B. Juan on June 25, 1921.559 By 1922, 4,894 Pima and Maricopa (and some Papago) received trust (restricted) patents to two ten-acre allotments within the reservation.560 The first was for a ten-acre irrigable allotment referred to as an A, or
primary, allotment with rights to water. The second was for a ten-acre non-irrigable grazing allotment referred to as a B, or secondary, allotment with no assurance of water.
Because of the restricted status, the land could not be sold, mortgaged, taxed or otherwise encumbered for twenty-five years.
When the allotment book was closed on the reservation, more than 96,000 acres
Armstrong (55 acres), Pancho Lopez (54 acres), Joseph Smith (52 acres), John Jones (50 acres), Jose Kalka (50 acres) and Ed Wood (50 acres). Many others farmed between 30 and 50 acres, growing wheat, barley, alfalfa, corn, cotton, beans, squash and a variety of garden crops.562 While the Pima were willing to work the land once canals and ditches were constructed, nearly half of the irrigable allotments for which ditches and turnouts were constructed were “unfit for the purpose for which [they] had been allotted.” Soil analyses
indicated these lands contained “excessive amounts of alkali” and were condemned.563 Agency Superintendent Albert Kneale admitted that allotment and the irrigation system were “idle gestures.” The Indian Office, Kneale opined, “must have known in advance that neither singly [n]or collectively could they have any effect upon the water situation or upon the financial status of the tribe.”564 Excessive alkali necessitated a survey to locate an additional 25,000 irrigable acres of in-lieu land so allottees that had lost some or all of their original irrigable allotment could exchange it.
Some Pima allottees received two ten-acre allotments within an area designated as irrigable, while some received two non-irrigable allotments (outside the designated project area). Since every eligible member was entitled to ten acres of irrigable land, the only solution offered by the Indian Service was to “effect exchanges of allotments,” something that was accomplished with “an immense amount of labor.” With the exchanges came another expense: “the enlargement and revamping of the entire irrigation system.”565 A visual reminder of this remains as scores of old canal turnouts and check structures lay abandoned in the desert.
While the Pima successfully thwarted Code’s scheme to “rob them of their land,” they were unable to stop the economic transformation occurring within the reservation.
Rather than follow existing land divisions and local land customs, allotting agents laid new subdivision lines that followed the township structure. Rarely did an allotment correspond with the old system of fields and canals. Areas that had been farmed with