Friday, July 29, 2011

We interrupt this program to bring you ...

Yes, this is a blog about the Grand Canyon's political history and how it might be projected into the future. But enthusiasms are sometimes overwhelming.*

I have for a long time been preoccupied by the element of humanity that I think of as our tendency to spread. Spread as in migration, wandering, touring, restlessness in literature; as in the spread of ideas, knowledge, experience; as in trade, economic activity over distance & peoples; as in conquest, imperialism, occupation, colonization.** Recently a couple of books, along with current political debates and actions, have particularly stirred me up. And this past week, the Grand Canyon connection was brought into focus by my reading about the 1990's-2000's story of unauthorized DNA sampling of the Havasupai. So I have decided to see if this internal ferment can be made coherent, and maybe even connected to Grand Canyon futures.  

Sometime in the 1990's, I read Bruce Chatwin's 1987 The Songlines, with its rhapsodic paean to "wandering" as an essential human quality. What came before that to lead me on this path of thought, I do not recall. However, I live in a country where a trip of 4000 kilometers is totally ordinary, and have done it many times on the ground and by airplane. Yet only a few of these journeys would be considered "migrations". I dont know that I thought of them that way, even though had I done comparable moves on most other continents, that is just what they would have been as I crossed multiple national borders. One of the enduring questions in discussing migration is why a journey by a third-generation American (grandparents from Italy) from Boston to San Francisco, or Chicago to Houston, evokes not a whisper, but a villager looking for work going from Oaxaca to Phoenix or Cairo to Rome is a criminal.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Explicating Section 10 of Public Law 93-620

P.L. 93-620 repatriated about 185 Kac to the Havasupai, a minimal kind of correction of a 100-year-old error. This was not a gift, but a hard-won achievement of the Havasupai and their allies. Hard-won, because the opponents were many and determined, and some of the congressional supporters equivocal. So much so that right up to the final weeks and days of the 93rd Congress, roadblocks were offered and changes made. The first year of that Congress had been a waste from the Havasupai perspective, leaving their prospects as gloomy as ever: Promises, promises; empty hands, empty hands.

Senator Goldwater's original bill did grant land, and with few restrictions. In the face of widespread disapproval (including, I believe, from within his own office), he gave up his effort, and the legislation as it went through the stages of Senate passage and consideration by the House Parks subcommittee was nugatory for the Havasupai.

This was all changed by the Havasupai campaign under the generalship of attorney Joe Sparks. The details of that story are yet to be set down, though Stephen Hirst's books tell it overall. In legislative essence, what happened is that in the spring of 1974, Representative Morris Udall, chief mover and shaker in the House for this Grand Canyon/Havasupai bill, was persuaded of the rightness of the Havasupai cause, while also remaining alert to the arguments of those who worried about what the Havasupai might do on the repatriated lands. Therefore, his, and his staff's, task was to grant the land, hedged about with restrictions that would allow the Havasupai to do what they said they wanted to do, but bar development adverse to the land's Park-worthiness; development, that is, of the exploitative type usually associated with schemes proposed by non-Havasupai. How to accomplish such potentially clashing goals?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Havasupai Reservation in P.L. 93-620 and Conference Report

In the bill as signed into law, Public Law 93-620, the Havasupai repatriation was section 10. 
There are two major documents, which I will reproduce here, and then comment on in my next post. These were to be the foundation for the Land Use Plan developed in 1975-82.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

ONE, TWO, THREE, VICTORY! Havasupai Land Repatriation at Last, 1972-5

The following is my recounting, from Havasupai sources, of their successful congressional effort to obtain some of their lands back. Inasmuch as I was a participant in the congressional hook-up and bashing over park and reservation enlargement, and as an proponent of NPS integrity and expansion, it might seem tendentious for me to offer characterizations and judgments about the Havasupai path to victory. However, their story is such a juicy one that the temptation is irresistible, and the Havasupai sources I rely on are plentiful enough in presenting the action from their perspective. The details I put down here come from my own records as well as materials in the BIA files. Stephen Hirst's two books (the later an updating) are reliable as a presentation of the Havsupai point-of-view.

Overall, establishing an appropriate Havasuapai reservation ought never to have had to reach the bitter stage that was the congressional arena in the early 1970’s. From the beginning of whitefolk land demarcation in 1880, the Havasupai were victimized. “Everyone” knew what land should have been reserved for them. The proposals to repatriate that land were successive and continuous, and just as continuously, deflected. The list of deflectors is a host, ranging from weak supporters to implacable (if very quiet) opponents.

Certainly, the army should have done the right thing originally, and not favored the whitefolk prospectors then intruding in Havasu Canyon. Certainly, the officers’ willful error should have been quickly rectified (though there were no champions before 1900). Certainly, the Forest Service reports should have been acted on before there even was a National Park System. Certainly, Park establishment and Havasupai repatriation should have been accomplished together. Certainly, promises made for a plateau reservation should have been kept in the 1920’s. Certainly, the 1930-50 period should have seen a legislative formalization of Havasupai use, as recognized by the Park and Forest Services. Certainly, Carl Hayden should have been a constructive force, not an obstacle. Certainly, the Park and Forest Services, the BIA, should have overcome their bureaucratic natures to protect turf. Certainly, Havasupai whitefolk representation should have kept the land acquisition goal firmly to the forefront.. Certainly, we as advocates for an appropriate Park for the Canyon, should have known more about the neighborhood and its residents. Certainly, sometime between the 1880’s and 1960’s, by someone with hind- and foresight and vigor, a creative solution should have been developed and implemented. Instead, as so often with deferred issues, there was what in our political system, passes for war.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Havasupai Reservation, Building to the End Game, 1960's-72

Without offering any easy explanations, the records for the 1960’s and early 1970’s describe a heightening in tension, anger, and determination over Havasupai and Grand Canon matters. Although whitefolk allies are evident, even more than in the 1950’s, the evidence of the Havasupai themselves powering actions in these years is also strong. Perhaps it was one of those times in a society’s life when there is a spectrum of vital, determined leadership. Those who served in WWII were now 20 years older. The 1960’s were the time of a national fight over the Canyon’s future, bringing a focus that continued into the 1970’s. Opposing the dams transmuted into struggling to draw a park boundary appropriate to the Canyon’s extent. Concurrently, the idea of pro-Havasupai legislation was mentioned in the 1950’s, resulted in bills in the 1960’s, and hooked up with the broadened concern for park legislation for the Canyon into the 1970’s. Still, it is not possible to understand Havasupai political life in the 1960’s except as an independent, more vocal, drive to redress the wrong inflicted 80 years before. And insensitive in its core, NPS provided more flammable material by its decades-long coveting of National Forest lands that the Havasupai claimed. Without making what-if predictions of success, the record seems weighted toward showing and inevitable slide toward a congressional fight over an appropriate Havasupai reservation in the 1970’s. 

[One can only muse, in my case in horror, when considering a Grand Canyon alternative future that combined two dams and their (motorized) recreation areas with excision of NPS land for the ranchers and hunters, as well as the Havasupai. The Havasupai fight for an appropriate reservation was painful, but at least it was fought in a context far more congenial to the Canyon’s integrity than would have been the case had the 1970's boundary struggles only been a portioning out of the spoils of the Canyon’s electrification for the better life in Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles.]

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Havasupai versus the NPS, part 2, 1950's; Lawyers and Claims, 1949-72

After Sup't Bryant had overseen the dismissal of the Crow proposal for an appropriate  reservation, the Park Service felt comfortable dismissing any further assertion of Havasupai ownership rights as a closed matter. Little help though Bryant and Tillotson may have been, their passing from the scene in the 1950’s led into a time of increased vexation for the Havsupai, even as they became more assertive. 

A moment of recall: An inexcusable error was made in 1882. Making that error and then perpetuating it over the ensuing decades was the work of many hands, as again and again, proposals to rectify the error were shelved. The Havasupai were, of course, the prime victims of this policy of error, but as its implementation grew more and more encrusted and knee-jerk on the part of successive perpetrators, the policy obscured for many involved any route to useful and corrective action.

Not the Havasupai themselves, however. Even as the IA was in its 1950’s retreat under the Eisenhower administration, the Havasupai Tribal Council in 1953 again affirmed its resolution by asking for long-range permanent relief. It requested permission to state its position before the newly-formed Arizona Commission on Indian Affairs, saying "we are all in favor of political and economic independence, but we are forgotten, penalized for having permanent garden homes. Neighboring tribes have much larger reservations. Our hunting grounds on the plateau have been taken away, except for temporary grazing permits where there is no water. It is necessary for us to have a larger reservation so we can be dealt with on a par with others." In reaction, the IA man claimed an allergy to whitefolk trying to save the Havasupai; any lawyers were only interested in financial gain. The GCNP Sup't was skeptical because of the complex problems of kids in school, unsanitary conditions, and unemployed at GCV.