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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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Olberg then assigned Southworth to conduct the surveys. Southworth and a crew of Pima instrument men went about surveying and mapping all irrigated and previously irrigated lands within the reservation, producing a set of thirteen plain table maps drawn on a scale of 1:1,000. In the process, the Indian Service produced a graphic representation of the historic parameters of agriculture on the reservation.598 The maps also illustrate in detail the land then irrigated, that previously irrigated, and that susceptible of irrigation, as well as the “various kinds of crops to which the land was planted.” The survey clearly shows the abandonment of scores of Pima farms due to water loss, with entire villages shifted or deserted. There were 3,766.19 acres not in cultivation and an additional 3,231.81 acres giving evidence of having been previously irrigated, leaving a total of 6,998 acres (36.7%) not in production in 1914. Other farms were “only partially cultivated, yielding scant and uncertain returns.” This is substantiated by Pima farmer George Pablo who complained that many of his people “had to leave our farms and move up the river” 597 August, Carl Hayden’s Indian Card, p. 420 note 10. The complaint filed in the case of George Lobb vs. Peter Avenente, et al, included more than 250 defendants. The court adjudicated water rights to 11,039 acres in the Florence-Casa Grande area with priority rights between 1868 and 1915. Supplemental decrees recognized water rights appurtenant to additional lands. The case, however, did not settle Pima water rights. A federal suit filed on the behalf of the Pima in 1925 eventually resulted in the 1935 Globe Equity 59 ruling.

598 John Wilson examined the 1904 J. R. Meskimons’ map and compared it to the 1914 Southworth maps, finding them to be within

161.9 acres of each other. The Meskimons’ map simply shows general areas with acreages listed while the Southworth maps show specific fields. Meskimons estimated 27,014.2 acres currently were—or had been—farmed while Southworth estimated 26,852.3 acres. Wilson, People of the Middle Gila. GIS analysis shows a total of 19,067.20 acres, although imperfect edges on the plain table maps precluded precise matching of some fields, leading me to drop them from consideration. Consequently, my analysis examines 3,178 fields and is not concerned with discrepancies between the two maps or total cultivated acres. It is, rather, more interested in the disparate proportion of crops (i.e. food and fiber) grown on and off the reservation in 1914.

254 where seepage water was available. Pima James Hollen added, “Our fathers were forced to leave their old fields in the District of Sacaton Siding (Sranuka) where they built homes and cultivated lands. We felt the decrease of water first as we were the last to take out our water from the river.” Whole villages—including Pablo’s Mount Top Village— simply disappeared as the water dried up.599

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The Southworth survey clearly demonstrates the geomorphology of Pima agriculture. Of the eight village clusters shown on map 10, half were of recent origin or had shifted location, i.e., Gila Crossing (1873), Santa Cruz (1875), Santan (1877), Maricopa (1887), and Cooperative (1900). All but Santan was downstream of the historic center of the Pima villages (Casa Blanca area) and close to the confluence of the Santa Cruz, Gila and Salt rivers. Furthermore, several village clusters abandoned canals and fields after the first upstream diversions of water, including Blackwater, Sacaton and Casa Blanca, all older, established villages. Overall, an average of 4.13 delivery ditches served each cluster, and, in addition to currently cultivated lands, each demonstrated evidence of previous agriculture (abandoned fields) and lands not then in cultivation, as seen in table 5. Blackwater, Sacaton and Casa Blanca exhibited the largest percentage of abandoned fields (38%, 36% and 37%, respectively).600 The easternmost cluster centered around Blackwater, which was dependent on floodwater and a limited supply of seepage water for its crops. This posed problems, as Pima farmer Juan Enas “felt obliged to use it anyway in order to keep our families alive,” despite the fact that it reduced yield on vegetable crops.601 During the 1890s, Blackwater farmers harvested few crops due to insufficient water in the Old Woman’s Mouth and Blackwater Island ditches, which served the south bank of the Gila. Water failure doomed the former ditch to abandonment by 1905, although the latter still irrigated 1,029 acres in 1914. A third ditch on the south bank (heading above the reservation) was the Padilla, which irrigated just forty-four acres of reservation land. Two additional ditches

–  –  –

on the north bank of the Gila served the Blackwater cluster. A scarcity of water in the Cayah ditch led to the downstream establishment of the Santan district in the 1870s. The Cholla Mountain ditch irrigated 941 acres in 1914. Despite existing ditches, some farmers did not harvest any crops due to water shortages. Southworth estimated 2,761 acres in cultivation or abandoned in the Blackwater cluster.602 Downstream from Blackwater was the Sacaton cluster, which included the villages of Sacaton and Sacaton Flats. Six ditches served the area that included the Pima Agency and Agency farm, as well as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Sacaton Cooperative Agricultural Station. The Yaqui ditch irrigated just forty-four acres before it was abandoned in 1902 and replaced by a larger ditch to convey water from Blackwater slough via the Little Gila River for use downstream. Although abandoned in 1885 due to inadequate water, the Old Santan ditch at one time irrigated 1,272 acres. The Sacaton Flats Canal and the Cottonwood ditch served 899 and 819 acres, respectively, at the time of the survey.603 The Hendricks ditch irrigated just seventy-six acres, while the Old Maricopa ditch no longer served any land. Sixty-seven year old Antonito Azul noted the abandonment of 123 acres of land he and his father, Chief Antonio Azul, once cultivated under the Cottonwood ditch, “not because we cannot work, but because there is no water to irrigate with.” George Pablo abandoned thirty of his forty-five acres of land due to lack 602 Southworth, pp. 121, 155. Statement of Samuel Scoffer, p. 9. Statement of William Wallace, pp. 5-6. Statement of Juan Thomas, p.





1. In 1926, the Indian Service, in “Gila River Priority Analysis Water Distribution Chart No. 3,” dated Florence, Ariz., January 20, 1916, gave a total of 2,010 acres as having rights to water in the Blackwater Area. Totals from Chart No. 3 will be listed in the notes for each village cluster for comparative purposes only. Each cluster total differs from the Southworth totals in that the 1926 analysis included land not identified by Southworth. GIS analysis for each cluster also differs in acreage. The Southworth numbers are provided for informative purposes only. Blackwater Island ditch was constructed in 1862, followed by Old Woman’s Mouth ditch in 1881 and the Padilla ditch in 1910. The Cayah (or Woods) ditch (1869) and the Cholla Mountain (or North Blackwater) ditch (1866) were both on the north bank of the river.

603 Statement of Antonito Azul, p. 18. See also Statement of George Pablo, 33.

257 of water. Southworth estimated the current and abandoned cultivated land in the Sacaton cluster at 4,348 acres.604

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(Source: Adapted from Southworth, The History of Irrigation along the Gila River, 1915) Directly north of Sacaton was the Santan cluster that included the Santan Indian Canal and the Lower Santan Canal, both of which were on the north bank of the Gila River. When water grew scarce under the upstream Cayah ditch, these canals served families that moved downstream where Juan Jose recalled their “purpose was to get and work more land” than what was then available upstream.605 The Lower Santan Canal was eventually absorbed into the Santan Indian Canal, with irrigated fields located on either side of the canal. The Santan cluster was unique among all villages in that its fields were rectangular and served by multiple lateral ditches conveying water from the Old Santan Canal. This anomaly is a reflection of missionary Charles Cook who surveyed the canal

–  –  –

and the lands served by it in 1877. There were 3,520 cultivated or abandoned acres in the Santan cluster.606 Continuing downstream was the Casa Blanca cluster, which included the waning villages of Snaketown and Stotonic, as well as Bapchule, Sacate, Wet Camp and Vah Ki.

Two ditches served Snaketown, including the ancient Sratuka that historically irrigated 1,273 acres and the Snaketown, under which 354 acres were cultivated. Most of these Pima moved to the Salt River in 1872 due to insufficient water. On the south bank directly opposite Snaketown was the Ancient Stotonic ditch that once served 590 acres.

Abandoned because of shifting in the head of the canal precipitated by reduced water flows, the Stotonic ditch replaced it and irrigated 1,559 acres. The New Mount Top ditch replaced the Old Mount Top ditch, before it, too, was abandoned after just one season.

Below the Stotonic was the Bapchule Canal serving 1,937 acres near the village of Stotonic. 607 Just to the west but still part of the Casa Blanca cluster were four smaller ditches.

The Bridlestood Canal was on the north bank of the Gila and abandoned in the late 1880s due to insufficient stream flow. Further west was the Ancient Maricopa ditch, which was abandoned in the 1870s when river flows declined. Two canals on the south bank served additional fields. The Sranuka ditch once irrigated 736 acres, with most of the inhabitants 606 Statement of Cos-chin, p. 61. Southworth, p. 133. “Gila River Priority Analysis Chart No. 3” lists 4,539 acres. Statement of Tor White, p. 63. The Santan Indian Canal is often confused with the Santan Floodwater Canal, built between 1908 and 1913 by the U.S.

Reclamation Service. While the old Santan Indian Canal is Canal 10 today, the Santan Floodwater Canal is the Santan Canal. The Santan Indian Canal opened in 1877 with the Lower Santan Canal constructed two years later.

607 Southworth pp. 125, 127, 137-138. Southworth notes most of the Pima from Snaketown moved to the Salt River in 1872 due to insufficient water. Statement of Joseph Head, p. 82. The Ancient Stotonic ditch dated to 1880; both the Old Mount Top and Bapchule ditches were of ancient origin.

259 moving downstream to Gila Crossing in the late 1870s where seepage water existed.608 A portion of the ditch remained in use and was renamed the Alkali Camp Canal, which served 198 acres of land. The Old Santa Cruz Canal was abandoned when most of the villagers under this canal moved west to the Santa Cruz River in the 1870s. Once the epicenter of Pima agriculture with 11,222 acres in production, Casa Blanca farmers cultivated just 4,048 acres in 1914.609 A fifth cluster was found around the village of Santa Cruz, located between the Santa Cruz and Gila rivers and established in 1875 by farmers from the Old Santa Cruz ditch within the Casa Blanca cluster. Two ditches served the village, with the Simon Webb serving 660 acres.610 The more southerly Breckinridge ditch diverted water from the Santa Cruz River and irrigated just five acres. Crops under this ditch fared poorly, Pima farmer Juan Lagons recalled, because of seepage water, again indicating reduced productivity when loss of the river mandated dependence on seepage. Only because of episodic floodwater, Lagons continued, were the fields kept alive as “otherwise they would have been useless long ago.” There were 665 cultivated and thirty-one abandoned acres in the Santa Cruz cluster in 1914.611 Downstream from Santa Cruz was the Gila Crossing cluster, served by three ditches that irrigated fields on both banks of the Gila. The Hoover ditch, constructed to supply water to a group of Pima farmers who moved downstream in 1873, served 954 608 Statement of George Pablo, p. 38. The Bridlestood Canal was of ancient origin and was abandoned by the late 1880s. The Ancient Maricopa ditch—abandoned due to loss of water in the 1870s—was an old ditch, constructed in 1840. The Sranuka (or Alkali Camp) ditch also of ancient origin.

609 Southworth, pp. 126-129. Statement of Benjamin Thomas, p. 27. “Gila River Priority Analysis Chart No. 3” lists 12,527 acres with priority rights to water. The Old Santa Cruz ditch dated to 1855, although it fell into disuse in the mid 1870s.

610 Statement of Juan Lagons, pp. 76-77. The Simon Webb ditch was also known as the Holden ditch and dated to 1877.

611 Southworth, p. 140. “Gila River Priority Analysis Chart No. 3” lists 993 acres with water rights in 1914. The Breckinridge ditch dated to 1902.

260 acres by 1914. To the west and on the south bank of the river was the John Thomas Canal, which irrigated 587 acres. The Joseph Head Canal and the John Thomas ditch were consolidated and irrigated 139 acres in 1914. Within the Gila Crossing cluster, there were 1,680 cultivated and 138 abandoned acres.612 The final village cluster irrigated by the Gila River was Cooperative Village, served by the Cooperative Canal. Seventy-two Pima heads of families worked cooperatively in 1900 to develop the land and utilize seepage water that rose to the surface in the Gila just below the Hoover ditch heading. While once irrigating 984 acres, the three and a half mile long Cooperative ditch irrigated just 594 acres in 1914. The Oscar Walker ditch also served the Cooperative cluster but irrigated just thirteen acres.

This latter ditch was the lowest taking water out of the Gila River. At the time of the survey, there were 1,042 acres prepared for irrigation, although just 607 were currently cultivated.613 The eighth and final village cluster was the Maricopa, which took water out of the Salt River four miles upstream from its confluence with the Gila. The Maricopa, once irrigating along the middle Gila upstream, abandoned their fields and move to the Salt River because of a growing scarcity of water in the 1880s. Maricopa village, established in 1887 and served by the Maricopa Canal, irrigated 1,271 acres. An additional 219 acres were abandoned and another 144 acres had been fenced and cleared but was not farmed.

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Fields under this canal were entitled to water from the Salt River under the 1903 Haggard Decree.



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