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As Arizona began to take its place in the national economy of the United States, primarily through mining and industrial agriculture, ethnic Mexican and Native American communities struggled to define their own identities. They sometimes stressed their status as the region's original inhabitants, sometimes as workers, sometimes as U. In the process, they often challenged the racial order imposed on them by the dominant class.

Appealing to broad audiences, this book links the construction of racial categories and ethnic identities to the larger process of nation-state building along the U. This compared with 3, Tejanos. Some relationships between Tejano families and Anglos became strained when settlers refused to recognize Tejano land rights and forced families from their farms.

Many wealthy Tejanos still felt their interests were best served by alliance with Anglo leaders, however, and it was their cooperation that helped make Texan independence possible in Tejanos fought alongside Anglos in the ensuing war with Mexico, but in the face of a wave of new immigration after Texas declared itself independent of any larger nation, their political and cultural influence in the region declined.

Most new Anglo settlers believed that their culture was superior to that of Tejanos and Mexicans alike, and racial prejudice was rife. The Mexican government never recognized Texas as an independent state. When the United States annexed Texas in Mexico once again went to war. After three years, the peace Treaty of Guadalupe Hildalgo saw the transfer of millions of acres of Mexican territory to the United States government—modern-day Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California, as well as portions of states further north.

Anglo settlement, which had once seemed a sound strategic defense against borderland warfare with Indian people, proved the thin edge of a wedge that saw Mexico lose more than half of its territory to the United States. The Comanche and Lipan Apache continued to defend their territory against immigrants for many more years. About the Author. Anglo settlers believed that their culture was superior to that of Tejanos and Mexicans alike, and racial prejudice was rife.

Livestock would help this group avoid dependence upon the wage economy. Their distinct economic niche also had cultural significance, since those families who engaged in commercial ranching were generally more receptive to the prospect of private property and began to abandon the older practice of village government by consensus.

By the early s, many Ko-lo:di and eastern Aji in the district were also becoming Presbyterians, responding to missionaries who were active in the area. In the fi rst decade of the century, a Presbyterian missionary named Frazier Herndon persuaded some converts among the Ko-lo:di and Aji to press for allotment as a way to protect their lands from outside encroachment.

African, Indian migrants shelter at Mexico's south border

Herndon hoped that allotment would concentrate the population and thus facilitate conversions, and he helped to convince the BIA to send an agent to initiate the process. Some of these villagers actively resisted allotment by pulling up survey markers. Moreover, conditions for those who lived on previously designated reservations or allotted lands were rapidly deteriorating.

At San Xavier, allottees suffered from a decreasing water supply due to overgrazing, dredging, and diversions from the Santa Cruz River. The Gila Bend reservation was in even worse shape because of upriver diversions.

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They T President Woodrow Wilson established a reservation by executive order in January , but soon thereafter a coalition of Arizonans, primarily from Pima County where most of the reservation was situated, protested the move. Race was central to their argument. If this land is ever to be made worth a dollar for any purpose whatever, enterprising, hustling, goahead white men will do it. Wilson issued a new executive order that cut the reservation into two parts divided by a ,acre strip that was to serve as the site of a new road between Tucson and Ajo. He also removed several other sections from the reservation that had been T Perhaps counterintuitively, it was the actions of Anglo cotton growers that proved decisive.

The BIA planned to make cattle ranching, rather than farming, the economic foundation of the reservation even though many villagers preferred to continue traditional forms of ak chin agriculture.

Border Citizens: The Making of Indians, Mexicans, and Anglos in Arizona

To encourage a transition to ranching, the government dug twenty-nine new deep wells, four shallow wells, and thirty-one charcos water tanks for cattle on the Sells and San Xavier reservations between and Such practices had cultural as well as economic significance. Only after persistent pressure, and after the BIA retracted its demand that the villagers would have to pay for the new well, did the local headman agree that the government could proceed to build it.

Those who owned little or no cattle were most receptive to working for wages, but only if the work did not under mine the viability of the villages. There were no problems crossing the boundary. When the harvest was over they would return south. We would travel back and forth, north to south and south to north, in wagons and later in cars without any problems.

Within families that combined ak chin farming with seasonal wage work, traditional patrilocal residence patterns remained common. The distribution of fields among the villagers was still the responsibility of all-male village councils. Rather than a strict division between male producer and female homemaker, husband and wife tended to the family field together. Women also continued to gather cactus fruit and trade pottery, baskets, and other items, while other family members worked for wages in the cotton fields and mines, on the railroads, and in Tucson.

In the s McCarthy who had adopted this name as a soldier during World War I left the reservation to work along the Pacific coast from California to Alaska, sending wages back to his family in southern Arizona. Eventually McCarthy returned to his family. All the money we made we put into one bank—my mother. Any time one of us needed some money, we went to her. Throughout the s and into the s, this pattern allowed the family to retain close ties to the reservation, and thus to resist BIA attempts to assimilate them.


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The women are married and do washing at their homes and also work at times in private families. They worked out among the people, like I said, washing and ironing and all that stuff—making maybe tortillas for the Mexicans and. All found steady work and good wages, saving their money and buying what they need when they return to their homes in the country. A woman named Frances Manuel left her children on the reservation in the care of her mother-in-law while she took up domestic work in Tucson and while her husband worked for the railroad. I had my house there on the reservation; everything was the same because we had my mother-in-law there, and the beds were made.

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Her father came to try and have her return home, but she would not. One Tucson field matron noted in frustration that during a December fiesta at San Xavier she received many complaints about Indians who did not show up for work. As with agricultural or day labor, many men worked at Ajo only temporarily and then returned to their villages or left to fi nd other jobs.

Instead, it leased plots of undeveloped land to the Indians, who had to construct their own housing at Ajo Indian village. In the late s James McCarthy was injured three times doing heavy work such as drilling, shoveling, and moving track. Peter Blaine, who would serve as the chairman of the Papago Tribal Council in the s, recalled similar experiences at Ajo. After repeatedly being denied a job as a driller, he too eventually left to take up wage work elsewhere.

Eventually, the strike was put down when troops from the 14th Infantry entered Ajo on December 20 see Chapter 4.


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  • For these groups, independence had always been based upon access to the free-flowing waters of the Gila River and its tributaries. George Webb, a Pima who grew up on the Gila reservation, remembered the critical role that the river played for the Pimas before upriver diversions and erosion. They would fan out and lead the water to the alfalfa, along the corn rows, and over to the melons. Their song always means that there is water close by, as they will not sing if there is not water splashing somewhere.

    As early as , Pimas and Maricopas were cutting and selling nearly twelve thousand cords of wood every year. George Webb, for example, worked in as a ranch hand in the Glendale area of the Salt River valley. He soon quit his job and returned to Gila Crossing—one of the few places where the Gila still rose to the surface through an alluvial spring—to attempt to farm and raise cattle.

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    Border Citizens: The Making of Indians, Mexicans, and Anglos in Arizona - Semantic Scholar

    They chose to stay on the Reservation. It was their home. Despite the severe problems on the reservation, this decision was never easy. Anna Shaw, who had attended the Gila River Indian School, felt that the decision she and her husband made to move to Phoenix in involved the rejection of an important part of their identity. We had to live like white men. By the early twentieth century, Pimas and Maricopas had already undergone dramatic changes. They had been actively engaged with the American market economy for sixty years through their production of wheat and other crops.


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    • Change did not necessarily imply an abandonment of their identity. Unfortunately, what the government had in mind was far from reasonable.