Friday, October 23, 2009

Another map; a further reflection

These comments use a map from 1967 put out by the Southern California Automobile Club, one of the best cartographic organizations I know. My purpose is to use it for a further exploration of the mindsets we had and we faced in the 1960's and 1970's. 

Maps showing GCNP and the Kaibab National Forest north and south of it as depicted here would have been much the same since the Park was created in 1919. Grand Canyon National Monument (the second) was a 1930's creation. Lake Mead N.R.A. dates from 1964. The boundary shown here, including the northern portion of the Hualapai Reservation, is incorrect. The Hualapai rejected being included, having their own ideas (see the Sep 27 entry about the visionary, Mahone). The Havasupai Reservation was still miniscule, and although the dam fight was not concluded, the damsites are not shown. Other road maps were not so bashful, like the Shell map I remember from that time, with Bridge damsite a strong black mark across the river. However, Bridge Canyon is labelled, just south of the word "AREA" in the western Canyon.

That was the map we faced and were used to. Insofar as the Grand Canyon is a human concept of a natural construct, it was quite constricted, having no beginning and no ending, its river split among seven jurisdictions, mostly open to exploitation. GCNP and the Kaibab NF represented the pared-down vision of Powell, the pink Park defining, for almost everyone, the Grand Canyon as a spectacular "hole finally giving us a place to dump all our used razor blades in" -- I think thats from Frank Waters' book on the Colorado. 

Another map; reflections on how I got started

The base map for this was put together by John McComb (then SW Rep for the Sierra Club) in the early 1970's when we were working up proposals for enlarging the National Park, and only beginning to discover the history. It came from combining large-scale (I think 1:250,0000) regional maps. This copy of the base map is very poor, but it shows the 1886 56x69-mile Powell Harrison boundary.

This entry reminds me of how little we friends of the Grand Canyon knew about the century-long history before we came along in the 1960's. We did not, after all, come to Grand Canyon issues as scholars, but as activists who had cut our advocacy and lobbying teeth in 1963-8 fighting to prevent the authorization of  two dams, called Marble and Bridge/Hualapai. They would have been built in the Grand Canyon as generators of high-cost electricity to help pay, ultimately, for importation of water from the Columbia River to southern California. I thought of a "complete" Grand Canyon National Park as presenting an alternative, and better, future for the Canyon. The concept underlying our proposal was not based on what we knew of previous attempts to enlarge the Park, but on the idea that all of the Canyon deserved to be protected, presented and preserved as an entity. So we were quite excited as we came across references to proposals going all the way back to the 1880's. And that excitement carried me across the country for a few years of archive research-- though not through the task of putting it into  book in the 1980's. Perhaps it is not too late.

Another map test

Once again, I am trying to master the process of scanning or copying a map and then getting it  into a blog entry. There are just ins and outs of this that I do not understand; hours of frustration. Enough.
This map is from the Arizona map produced by the federal government in 1879. It accompanied the report by the General Land Office to the Secretary of the Interior on S. 1849, the bill introduced by Senator Harrison in 1882 at the request of (in collaboration with?) J. W. Powell. The original proposal was by latitude and longitude, but the GLO changed it to miles measured from the Little Colorado, 56 miles east-west by 69 miles. 

When the proposal was resurrected as the Grand CaƱon Forest Reserve created by President Harrison in 1893, 17 miles were cut off the top, although it was described once again by latitude and longitude. 
The GLO, by the way, referred to the just-proclaimed Yava-Suppai reservation, but did not add it to the map. 
A sign of future entanglements is the dashed line of the 40-mile limits of the grant to the railroad, called then the Atlantic & Pacific; what became known as the Santa Fe. The railroad line itself is solid and labelled, though it was still being worked on.
Now that I have Photoshop Elements, I hope to be able to edit and color, to make boundaries more apparent. 
The darkish line just north of the 40-mile limit is the fold in the map.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

?Confrontation, Accommodation, Adaptation?

My Sep 29 entry, "Walking a Different Path", offered, as an alternative to our political-legal system, Martha Knack's conceptualization of how the Southern Paiute tried to use their culture's tools of accommodation to deal with the Mormon settlers' overrunning of their places and resources. A couple of articles by other prominent researchers have sharpened this picture: other researchers, other biases. 

They did more, though, than remind me that other archeologists bring different baggage to their interpretations. For Research itself is another of the tribes for whom the Grand Canyon is a place of work, and thus a place for political action.  Research, with all its divisions, constitutes a tribe that, by and large, belongs to the larger culture of Whitefolk, though often not as vigorous as, say, miners, in pressing claims for an exclusive use and occupancy. So I suspect that the political history of Research in, around, and of, the Grand Canyon is a rich subject, about which more needs to be known. its practitioners have requirements in order to get their work done, and that work often leads them to form opinions which, taken together, will contribute to the mosaic of the Canyon's future.

The articles are from the journals "Current Anthropology" and "American Indian Quarterly". They were written in the 1990's by practitioners immersed in their subjects, Richard Stoffle (et al.) on the Southern Paiute, and Henry Dobyns and Robert Euler on the Hualapai. In particular, Stoffle et al. was writing about the Canyon and Kanab Creek as cultural landscape for the Paiutes. Dobyns and Euler were presenting the XIXth-century Hualapai leader Cherum as an icon of individual and cultural change in the face of savage pressures.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

An Earlier Prospecting Fizzle 1974-7

Here is a map from 35 years ago when Exxon Corporation --it of the Exxon Valdez -- came to Lake Mead NRA to prospect for uranium. In the previous post, the miners' target areas are farther east, west of Kanab Creek, south of Fredonia, and also on the south of the Canyon. Another area once tapped by prospectors was the Hualapai land south of the river (not shown here). Overall, there have no doubt been thousands of claims. Which is to say, throw a lump of yellowcake at the Grand Canyon region and it most likely will land on somebody's claim, though too it most likely will be the only uranium around.

The dashed box in the big map is Exxon's area of interest.
Left is a detail map of the four Exxon leases. Five sections due west of the easternmost block is the Copper Mountain mine, a long-worked spot for copper, over 200' deep.  In early 1973, John McComb, then Sierra Club Southwest Representative, and I had had a scare about that mine being re-opened. It turned out to be the usual "exploratory stage", the lessee "attempting to interest" speculators.
One of the northern sections had been leased to a local since 1966, with no apparent action. Then in July 1974, the Exxon Corporation heaved into view, asking for leases to explore the possible "extensive" uranium deposits, including on that existing lease. Now look at the southernmost black block.

That block, the superintendent at Lake Mead wrote to BLM (which does the actual leasing), was inside a proposed wilderness area (35 years later, it is still only proposed; another story)--although the Secretary of the Interior had put the proposal on the shelf for three years. Also there would be a new road. So in October, he recommended that the lease for that block be denied. That he had discretion to oppose the lease had been backed up by the Secretary and then Supreme Court in the early 1960's. BLM promptly denied that part of the Exxon application.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Origins and Uranium

With another rise in uranium prices, has come still another surge(1-see at end) of prospecting in the Grand Canyon region, in the hope of finding more of the rich mineral pipes that dot the Canyon's underground-scape. Conducted, for a while, with the usual desire to avoid attention, the prospecting aroused an outcry in early 2008. The House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources held a hearing in Flagstaff on March 28. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz), as head of the Subcommittee on Parks, Forests, and Public Lands, was in the chair. Although from southern Arizona (former base of Stewart & Morris Udall, also environmentally aware on a national scale) Grijalva has immersed himself deeply in issues before the Natural Resources Committee, and so could speak out about this location in northern Arizona. (Though the parochialism of "not in your district" seems a dubious objection given a national treasure, the Grand Canyon, a national resource, uranium, and international corporations, the miners.)

The hearing opened with panels of official representatives from the Navajo, Kaibab Paiute, Havasupai, Hualapai, and Hopi, all opposed to the prospecting. The Navajo have a large, difficult and tragic history with uranium, including from the Lost Orphan (that name is a strange coupling) mine on the South Rim. They had outlawed uranium mining activity in April 2005. The others spoke of uranium as a resource bringing too much danger, as well as the endless episodic seduction efforts by miners--a kind of harassment given that most efforts fizzle(2). The Hualapai, in fact, had been approached a month earlier, although they too have a mining ban, reaffirmed in September 2009. The Havasupai had had their own face-off with miners in the early 1990's; now it has revived(3).

What inspired this post, what I wanted to do is show how an up-to-date issue could be dealt with in part based on testimony about their origin stories from these five representatives, as they explained their concern about mining near the Canyon and its association with those stories. For instance: The Hopi spoke of it as the place of emergence and as well a place of final spiritual rest, while the Hualapai offered more drama-- a flood ended by a Hualapai warrior striking a great spear on the ground creating a spectacular gash in the land.