Monday, February 8, 2010

An unkind thought

Thinking about how Congressman Hayden was so solicitous of BIA views about the impact of the National Park on the Havasupai, and thinking of how he worked so hard to protect the whitefolk stockmen in the area by drawing the boundary tighter and tighter in toward the rim, and thinking of how the proposal for an enlarged reservation had been approved in 1914 by the Forest Service and pled for by BIA officials, I was struck by this thought:
  Had Supai been a small settlement of whitefolk ranchers who used the Great Thumb and the plateau over to Pasture Wash for grazing, and had they presented their case as did other stockmen and the BIA folk, does it not seem likely that Hayden would have drawn in the Park boundary as he did farther east to accommodate this need, and the land returned to simple National Forest? Even if he had not taken the next step and provided for an enlarged reservation? Why, in other words, was he unwilling to burden whitefolk ranchers by leaving any of their range in the Park, but did not take the same step for the Havasupai range? 
  We will see that in later decades Hayden would not support any proposals for a substantial increase in the reservation. In the legislative history for the original Park, we get an early view of how he sliced up his constituents, scrabbling for every acre for the whitefolk, while eschewing action to similarly provide for the Havasupai. 
  Generous, we would admire his solicitude when he inquired of BIA officials how to deal with Park impacts on the Havasupai. Cynical, we would see his actions as using the Havasupai as pawns in another delaying action on the Park, while slipping out of any substantial protection for the Havasuapai, a two-for-one but not a double cross; not exactly.

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