[The following is in relation to the Pima Native Americans of Arizona.]

Excavations have identified over five hundred miles of canals built by the year 300 B.C. One book on the Pima states that they had “ruins that crumbled when Rome was still young.”

In 1864 a group of white settlers made the first contact with the Pima. They were escorted by the Commander of the Army of the West, Colonel Stephen Kearny. Colonel Kearny posted guards among the settlers as they mingled with the Pima. But as he later wrote, instead of encountering “wild Indians,” he was surprised to admit that the Pima “surpassed the Christian nations in agriculture” and were “immeasurably before them in honesty and virtue.”

[…]

He found himself beholding a settled culture, in the southern half of what is now Arizona, that had brilliantly harmonized land, water, crops, and domesticated animals to create a peaceable kingdom of plenty and of virtue.

Central to all this was the art of bringing water to a dry, rainless place: Over the centuries, the Pima canals drained water from the Gila and distributed it skillfully through fertile fields of wheat, corn, squash, beans, melons, and cottonwood trees. The tribe seemed to take its character from the Gila’s deep, generous flow. Unwarlike and rarely invaded, Pima Indians were a sharing people who offered their bounties to other nations and, in time, to the forty-niners and other white nomads making their way across the desert in prairie schooners, headed for California.

This latter gesture may have been a mistake. It drew attention to the paradise the tribe had painstakingly created for itself. In return for the Pimas’ generosity and even protection under attacks by Apaches, the migrating Easterners who settled in Arizona began to help themselves to the same water sources that sustained the peaceful culture.

By the 1870’s, and despite lip-service assurances from the U.S. government, the Pimas’ agricultural system was disrupted. In the 1890’s, agents of the U.S. Geological Survey arrived with plans to rectify the situation. But they wouldn’t listen to the suggestions of the Pimas who had successfully farmed there for centuries. Instead, the United States tore up the canals and replaced them with an unworkable and destructive system.

In 1930, former President Calvin Coolidge dedicated the Coolidge Dam on the Gila River. He smoked a peace pipe – a custom unknown to the Pima, but gratifying to the newsreel cameraman – and declared that the dam would save the Pima nation from poverty. The Gila’s table continued to fall; not a drop went to the Pima. And so things went, until finally the only way that one could determine that a stream had once flowed through these dry precincts was by looking at that sign beside a bridge on the Pearl Harbor Highway that promised a “Gila River.”


Source:

Bradley, James, and Ron Powers. “All-American Boys.” Flags of Our Fathers. Bantam Dell, a Division of Random House, Inc., 2006. 39, 40. Print.


Further Reading:

Stephen Watts Kearny

John Calvin Coolidge, Jr.

Akimel O'odham, also spelled Akimel O'otham, "River People", formerly known as Pima

[**The following is in relation to the Pima Native Americans of Arizona.**] >Excavations have identified over five hundred miles of canals built by the year 300 B.C. One book on the Pima states that they had “ruins that crumbled when Rome was still young.” >In 1864 a group of white settlers made the first contact with the Pima. They were escorted by the Commander of the Army of the West, Colonel [Stephen Kearny](https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/76/Stephen_W._Kearny.jpg). Colonel Kearny posted guards among the settlers as they mingled with the Pima. But as he later wrote, instead of encountering “wild Indians,” he was surprised to admit that the Pima “surpassed the Christian nations in agriculture” and were “immeasurably before them in honesty and virtue.” >[…] >He found himself beholding a settled culture, in the southern half of what is now Arizona, that had brilliantly harmonized land, water, crops, and domesticated animals to create a peaceable kingdom of plenty and of virtue. >Central to all this was the art of bringing water to a dry, rainless place: Over the centuries, the Pima canals drained water from the Gila and distributed it skillfully through fertile fields of wheat, corn, squash, beans, melons, and cottonwood trees. The tribe seemed to take its character from the Gila’s deep, generous flow. Unwarlike and rarely invaded, Pima Indians were a sharing people who offered their bounties to other nations and, in time, to the forty-niners and other white nomads making their way across the desert in prairie schooners, headed for California. >This latter gesture may have been a mistake. It drew attention to the paradise the tribe had painstakingly created for itself. In return for the Pimas’ generosity and even protection under attacks by Apaches, the migrating Easterners who settled in Arizona began to help themselves to the same water sources that sustained the peaceful culture. >By the 1870’s, and despite lip-service assurances from the U.S. government, the Pimas’ agricultural system was disrupted. In the 1890’s, agents of the U.S. Geological Survey arrived with plans to rectify the situation. But they wouldn’t listen to the suggestions of the Pimas who had successfully farmed there for centuries. Instead, the United States tore up the canals and replaced them with an unworkable and destructive system. >In 1930, former President [Calvin Coolidge](https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/37/Calvin_Coolidge%2C_bw_head_and_shoulders_photo_portrait_seated%2C_1919.jpg) dedicated the Coolidge Dam on the Gila River. He smoked a peace pipe – a custom unknown to the Pima, but gratifying to the newsreel cameraman – and declared that the dam would save the Pima nation from poverty. The Gila’s table continued to fall; not a drop went to the Pima. And so things went, until finally the only way that one could determine that a stream had once flowed through these dry precincts was by looking at that sign beside a bridge on the Pearl Harbor Highway that promised a “Gila River.” ____________________________________ **Source:** Bradley, James, and Ron Powers. “All-American Boys.” *Flags of Our Fathers*. Bantam Dell, a Division of Random House, Inc., 2006. 39, 40. Print. ____________________________________ **Further Reading:** [Stephen Watts Kearny](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_W._Kearny) [John Calvin Coolidge, Jr.](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calvin_Coolidge) [Akimel O'odham, also spelled Akimel O'otham, "River People", formerly known as Pima](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pima_people)

1 comments

[–] Sadrockman 1 points (+1|-0)

So you see not all "savages"were stupid, not were they heathens. They were probably more honest and sincere/caring than the missionaries.