Winner of the Society for Economic Botany’s Klinger Book Award
The Akimel O'odham, or Pima Indians, of the northern Sonoran Desert continue to make their home along Arizona's Gila River despite the alarming degradation of their habitat that has occurred over the past century. The oldest living Pimas can recall a lush riparian ecosystem and still recite more than two hundred names for plants in their environment, but they are the last generation who grew up subsisting on cultivated native crops or wild-foraged plants. Ethnobiologist Amadeo M. Rea has written the first complete ethnobotany of the Gila River Pima and has done so from the perspective of the Pimas themselves.
At the Desert's Green Edge weaves the Pima view of the plants found in their environment with memories of their own history and culture, creating a monumental testament to their traditions and way of life. Rea first discusses the Piman people, environment, and language, then proceeds to share their botanical knowledge in entries for 240 plants that systematically cover information on economic botany, folk taxonomy, and linguistics. The entries are organized according to Pima life-form categories such as plants growing in water, eaten greens, and planted fruit trees. All are anecdotal, conveying the author's long personal involvement with the Pimas, whether teaching in their schools or learning from them in conversations and interviews.
At the Desert's Green Edge is an archive of otherwise unavailable plant lore that will become a benchmark for botanists and anthropologists. Enhanced by more than one hundred brush paintings of plants, it is written to be equally useful to nonspecialists so that the Pimas themselves can turn to it as a resource regarding their former lifeways. More than an encyclopedia of facts, it is the Pimas' own story, a witness to a changing way of life in the Sonoran Desert.
For the past forty years, the Pima Indians living in the Gila River Indian Community have been among the most consistently studied diabetic populations in the world. But despite many medical advances, the epidemic is continuing and prevalence rates are increasing. Diabetes among the Pima is the first in-depth ethnographic volume to delve into the entire spectrum of causes, perspectives, and conditions that underlie the occurrence of diabetes in this community. Drawing on the narratives of pregnant Pima women and nearly ten years’ work in this community, this book reveals the Pimas’ perceptions and understanding of type 2 and gestational diabetes, and their experience as they live in the midst of a health crisis. Arguing that the prenatal period could offer the best hope for curbing this epidemic, Smith-Morris investigates many core values informing the Pimas’ experience of diabetes: motherhood, foodways, ethnic identity, exercise, attitude toward health care, and a willingness to seek care. Smith-Morris contrasts gripping first-person narratives with analyses of several political, economic, and biomedical factors that influence diabetes among the Pimas. She also integrates major theoretical explanations for the disease and illuminates the strengths and weaknesses of intervention strategies and treatment. An important contribution to the ongoing struggle to understand and prevent diabetes, this volume will be of special interest to experts in the fields of epidemiology, genetics, public health, and anthropology.
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Americans assumed the land and water resources of the West were endless. Water was as vital to newcomers to Arizona’s Florence and Casa Grande valleys as it had always been to the Pima Indians, who had been successfully growing crops along the Gila River for generations when the white settlers moved in.
Diverting the Gila explores the complex web of tension, distrust, and political maneuvering to divide and divert the scarce waters of the Gila River. Residents of Florence, Casa Grande, and the Pima Reservation fought for vital access to water rights. Into this political foray stepped Arizona’s freshman congressman Carl Hayden, who not only united the farming communities but also used Pima water deprivation to the advantage of Florence-Casa Grande and Upper Gila Valley growers. The result was the federal Florence-Casa Grande Project that, as legislated, was intended to benefit Pima growers on the Gila River Indian Reservation first and foremost. As was often the case in the West, well-heeled, nontribal political interests manipulated the laws at the expense of the Indigenous community.
Diverting the Gila is the sequel to David H. DeJong’s 2009 Stealing the Gila, and it continues to tell the story of the forerunner to the San Carlos Irrigation Project and the Gila River Indian Community’s struggle to regain access to their water.
From a grandmother’s inter-generational care to the strategic and slow consensus work of elected tribal leaders, Indigenous community builders perform the daily work of culture and communalism. Indigenous Communalism conveys age-old lessons about culture, communalism, and the universal tension between the individual and the collective. It is also a critical ethnography challenging the moral and cultural assumptions of a hyper-individualist, twenty-first century global society.
Told in vibrant detail, the narrative of the book conveys the importance of communalism as a value system present in all human groups and one at the center of Indigenous survival. Carolyn Smith-Morris draws on her work among the Akimel O'odham and the Wiradjuri to show how communal work and culture help these communities form distinctive Indigenous bonds. The results are not only a rich study of Indigenous relational lifeways, but a serious inquiry to the continuing acculturative atmosphere that Indigenous communities struggle to resist. Recognizing both positive and negative sides to the issue, she asks whether there is a global Indigenous communalism. And if so, what lessons does it teach about healthy communities, the universal human need for belonging, and the potential for the collective to do good?
"The careful reconstruction of the September 1, 1857 battle at Maricopa Wells, combined with the thorough and well-written summary of available information on patterns of regional conflict, makes this book a valuable contribution to the ethnohistory of the middle Gila and Lower Colorado River area." —American Anthropologist
"Rarely do the skills of historians and anthropologists mesh so admirably." —Western Historical Quarterly
"Kroeber and Fontana are meticulous professionals. Their study of this neglected slice of Southwestern history deserves applause." —Evan S. Connell, Los Angeles Times Book Review
"A rich feast for the curious and theorist alike." —Pacific Historical Review
"Kroeber and Fontana describe a little-known event, provide an effective analysis of the cultures of Indian groups in southwestern Arizona, and attempt to understand the broader causes of warfare. The result is an interesting and provocative study." —Journal of American History
The Spanish missions founded by Padre Eusebio Kino in Sonora, Mexico, during the 1690s and early 1700s are historical as well as architectural marvels. Once self-supporting villages with central churches, the missions stand today as monuments to perseverance in the face of a hostile New World. These "Kino Missions" were surveyed in 1935 by the National Park Service to prepare for the restoration of the mission at Tumacacori, Arizona, then a National Historic Monument. That report, which was never published, provided insights into the missions' history and architecture that remain of lasting relevance. Perhaps more important, it documented these structures in photographs and drawings—the latter including floor plans and sketches of architectural detail—that today are of historic as well as aesthetic interest. This volume reproduces that 1935 report in its entirety, focusing on sixteen missions and including two maps, 52 drawings, and 76 photographs. With a new introduction and appendixes that place the original study in context, The Missions of Northern Sonora is an invaluable reference for scholars and mission visitors alike.
Like many rivers of the arid Southwest, the Gila is for much of its length a dry bed except after seasonal rains. Yet a mere century ago it hosted a thriving biological community, and two centuries ago American Indians fished from its banks.
It is no mystery how the desert swallowed up the Gila. Beaver trapping, overgrazing, and woodcutting first ruined natural watersheds, then damming confined the last drops of its surface flow. Historical sources and archaeological data inform us of the Gila's past, but its bird life further testifies to the changes.
Amadeo Rea traces the decline of bird life on the Middle Gila in a book that addresses the broader issue of habitat deterioration. Bird lovers will find it a storehouse of data on avian migration patterns and on ornithological classification based on skeletal structure. Anthropologists can draw on its Piman ethnoclassification of birds, which links the Gila River tribe with various other Uto-Aztecan peoples of Mexico's west coast.
But for all concerned with protecting our environment, Once a River offers evidence of change that might be apprehended elsewhere. It is a case history of a loss that perhaps need never have occurred.
A Pima Past
Anna Moore Shaw University of Arizona Press, 1974 Library of Congress E99.P6S52 | Dewey Decimal 970.3
"In simple, unaffected prose, Mrs. Shaw constructs a moving saga of Native Americans caught between their tribal past and a Europeanized present. . . . Some of the most interesting passages deal with the wrenching realities of Indian life on the reservation in the years around the turn of the century, when the Indian male as a warrior found himself bereft of his very reason for being and forced to endeavor to become a farmer."—Journal of Arizona History
"A most interesting book. . . . [Shaw's] account of how the Pima Indians lived, their family structure, how they reared their children, courtship and marriage, how they treated their elders, their religious practices before the coming of a Christian missionary in 1870, and their accommodation with death are related in language that can be easily understood by the layman and, yet, provide information which can be used by the sociologist and anthropologist."—Journal of the West
"The current trend in books written by American Indians is to idealize the Indian past while condemning white culture. This volume is a notable exception because its author is old enough to remember the past and because she has been successful in adapting those elements of white culture which she found useful without sacrificing this essential heritage. . . . The style is simple and straightforward, that of a good storyteller which reaches all adult levels."—Choice
"Simple and charming reminiscences of the old Pima ways at the turn of the century when they still prevailed and of the changes which recent decades have brought about in the lives of the desert people."—Books of the Southwest
"Throughout [Shaw's] account a special kind of humor, sensitivity, and pride is revealed when discussing her peoples and her own personal experiences."—The Masterkey
"This re-issued biography recounts [Kino's] work with loving detail and with an accuracy that has survived slight amendments. Its accompanying plates, maps, and bibliography enhance a text that should find a place in every serious library."—Religious Studies Review
"This is truly an epic work, an absolute standard for any Southwestern collection."—Book Talk
Select maps from the 1984 edition of Rim of Christendom are now available online through the UA Campus Repository.
By 1850 the Pima Indians of central Arizona had developed a strong and sustainable agricultural economy based on irrigation. As David H. DeJong demonstrates, the Pima were an economic force in the mid-nineteenth century middle Gila River valley, producing food and fiber crops for western military expeditions and immigrants. Moreover, crops from their fields provided an additional source of food for the Mexican military presidio in Tucson, as well as the U.S. mining districts centered near Prescott. For a brief period of about three decades, the Pima were on an equal economic footing with their non-Indian neighbors.
This economic vitality did not last, however. As immigrants settled upstream from the Pima villages, they deprived the Indians of the water they needed to sustain their economy. DeJong traces federal, territorial, and state policies that ignored Pima water rights even though some policies appeared to encourage Indian agriculture. This is a particularly egregious example of a common story in the West: the flagrant local rejection of Supreme Court rulings that protected Indian water rights. With plentiful maps, tables, and illustrations, DeJong demonstrates that maintaining the spreading farms and growing towns of the increasingly white population led Congress and other government agencies to willfully deny Pimas their water rights.
Had their rights been protected, DeJong argues, Pimas would have had an economy rivaling the local and national economies of the time. Instead of succeeding, the Pima were reduced to cycles of poverty, their lives destroyed by greed and disrespect for the law, as well as legal decisions made for personal gain.