Monday, April 1, 2013

PL93-620 R3. Dec 1973 - Jan 1974: The Havasupai Lobby the Chapter; It Debates

A very large "Special Meeting Havasupai Tribal Council" took place on 2 Dec 1973 in Flagstaff at the Museum of Northern Arizona between 18 Havasupai plus 10 allies and 10 Club chapter members and McComb (for the complete roster, see below**.) Hirst wrote out very detailed minutes, while McComb's summary to me was much terser: "an unpleasant three hours";  the Havasupai were angrier; Hirst and Babbitt quieter. The anger focussed on McComb, whom they saw as the obstacle to getting the Sierra Club on their side: Why, they asked, can you not help us?

Starting Hirst's minutes, Chapter Chair M. Garcia read two "lengthy" statements written by Havasupai L. Marshall on the present relationship with the Park and Forest Services. Havasupai Vice Chair C. Jack asked why the Club opposed the "effort to regain its plateau permit areas." McComb "asserted" the Club did not oppose the Havasupai, and wanted to see land publicly held so all could decide how to use it. The Havasupai reply was that public ownership had worked to no one's advantage. Hirst asked why all should decide how the Havasupai use their land. There was back and forth debate over this point of public determination of Havasupai use, and Club fears of what would happen if restrictions were removed. Havasupai said they do not wish or plan to make big plateau developments; they would just use it for grazing and their homes. Marshall spoke of the law enforcement jurisdiction problems. Hirst said the Havasupai fear revocation of their permits and noted hunters can use their land with no Havasupai say. A researcher reported that the Park Service, with little information, believed the Havasupai would not live on the plateau and would interfere with the Park's master plan. Havasupai want to manage their own lives and live on the plateau, while the Park wants to develop the South Rim and Indian Gardens. The different values of Havasupai and most Americans were emphasized, and the Sierra Club criticism was attacked; after all, the Havasupai have shown that they care for the plateau land.
 McComb said he did not know about Havasupai problems with the BIA and Park Service. Lawyer Babbitt said the permit lands had never been public lands, but the agencies had restricted the Havasupai uses more and more. McComb said Havasupai use was up to the Park Service, and asked about the ICC settlement. There was disagreement over whether an indian reservation is private or public land. Babbitt and Marshall said the 1882 reservation was wrong, and now had come the chance to correct that mistake. Marshall said whitefolk had turned out to be crooked; they should go to the moon; they would have to kill all the Havasupai; this meeting was a mistake. "A series of angry remarks and accusations followed."
  McComb said it was not up to the Club, but Havasupai pointed out he had testified against land return. B. Breed said the Club was sympathetic to the Havasupai but wanted public ownership, and McComb spoke of transferring private lands in the area. Hirst repeated that the permit areas were not really public land, and referred to the GCNP Act. Chapter chair Garcia spoke of Club sympathy and spoke of some members coming to a Supai meeting. 
  Breed asked about the plan to pump water from the creek to the plateau, and Babbitt replied it was only 40,000 gallons out of 38 million/day. McComb asked if the Forest Service helped the Havasupai; the answer was "no". Marshall complained about trail maintenance. McComb asked about the Havasupai camp at Grand Canyon Village, and Hirst described the history of harassments. Breed said the Club was largely on the Havasupai side, and asked them not to "take out their frustration" on the Club. Watahomigie summed up the Havasupai position: the two Services' administration lead to confusion; if the Havasupai had the land, administration would be unified under Interior. Now, they do not have a free hand and are subject to more control than people on their own land. Breed said the Club had not understood this bureaucratic tangle; something must be changed. Hirst agreed to write a letter listing the points of dispute with the Club. Marshall & Paya were appreciative of this (two-hour) meeting and urged that a representative come to the January Council meeting. 

Garcia reported to me only that "differences may have arisen" among chapter conservation committee members.

Hirst wrote on 5 Dec: The major difference is land jurisdiction. There were ten points. Public ownership means bureaucratic control. People who live on and use the area should determine its proper use. The present situation with the three agencies is a "nightmare of impossible entanglements, veiled threats, restrictions, and simple neglect". A reservation would bring Havasupai control. Return of the lands would remove the uncertainty of a revocable permit. He noted the pressure brought by Globe Ranch to "usurp" the Havasupai in Pasture Wash, saying legislators had dropped its return from the bill. The Park Service does not allow water hole development; the Forest Service provides little help. The free permit proves the unique Havasupai status, a status the agencies have worked to undermine. The Park Service has destroyed homesites and burial places. The permit lands, to repeat, are not public lands; the Havasupai object to outsider hunting. The plateau is the only place they have to turn to, and they do not see why the pubic should tell them how to use their homeland. Hirst then attacked rule by "all the people" as meaning just bureaucracy and interference by ideas that are "foreign" and "ruinous", offering a view of American government as rule by narrow-minded interests. Ending positively, he wrote that the Havasupai wish to live again on the plateau; to show visitors their homelands; to keep their cattle and horses healthy; to pipe a little water to the plateau; to protect plants and animals, homes and burial sites; to stand on their own feet on their own earth. 

A summary sheet from this period in my files delineated the additional dimension of existing Supai village life and detailed "problems and needs": continuing difficulties in transport-- the highway connection and the trail condition--, mail, food stamp delays, lack of regular power for refrigeration, and sub-optimal use of arable land. 

At the same time, Bill Breed wrote me about the meeting and the Havasupai upset over the Club's position. Some club members in the Plateau Group of the chapter would like to give some of the plateau to the Havasupai. He saw no great problem with that if the Park kept the two main waterfalls and a mile on either side of Havasu Canyon itself.

McComb  wrote to the Flagstaff-based Plateau Group, 13 Dec, of the Club's two basic reasons for its stand: The lands have national significance and should be under an agency "reponsive to the broader national interests rather than just the needs or interests of any limited group." Second, there was worry over the precedent. McComb wrote, " the day of parcelling out the nation's lands to any group to use as they see fit is past;... an unaffordable luxury". 

At meetings on 9 & 13 Dec, the Group went ahead with a resolution that noted Havasupai problems and the need to diminish restrictions on them. Since the Group "was informed" that the Havasupai would give up their right in the 1919 GCNP Act and accept other conditions, the Group supported the "transfer of appropriate lands". The state Chapter was to be urged to accept this view. 

Meanwhile, according to my journal, I was being told that the situation only stimulated Park and Forest Service antagonism. Park Sup't Stitt had not liked the Havasupai position at the hearing much. The Havasupai, according to the agencies, had forfeited their claim to land through the ICC process. A Park staffer had been "turned anti-Havasupai", and was against any land transfer or a recognition of the 160-acre area near the Village. There was gossip about dislikes within the Havasupai and allies.

On New Year's Eve, six Club chapter members were in Supai at another special tribal council meeting with four council members. (see ** below for identifications.) McIver said he was there because the Club needed to become more familiar with the situation; he had spent the previous day talking with Havasupai. Hirst reported that the Plateau Group was already in support of the return of federal land, and this idea was to be presented to the chapter on 5 Jan. McIver was struck most by the "great number of federal jurisdictions". Hirst recounted their version of the reservation's history; others talked of the difficulties of keeping the horses going. 
  Cattle grazing was discussed, and Hirst spoke of a potential herd of 700 (there were now about 100). Hirst spoke about Pasture Wash's importance. Club members wanted to feel assured the Havasupai would be careful land managers. Piping water to the plateau was discussed. Hirst said there was a trade: the permit lands in the Park & Forest would go to the Havasupai, and they would give up the "agricultural" right in the 1919 Park Act. Hirst said the Park found the Havasupai an embarrassment and he suggested all employees be Havasupai. In any case, the Havasupai would control tourism better on the lands returned to them. There used to be a lot of Havasupai working in the Park, one said; now there are other tribes and few Havasupai. A Club member suggested a railroad might be built to the east side, and thus help in the supply problem. Another Club member proposed building a freight tramway. Havasupai said most of them opposed that.
  To avoid  more land disputes, houses should be built on top. Sewage, electric power, and a school dorm at Grand Canyon were mentioned, and would be discussed at a BIA meeting in January. A Club member wondered about a power plant at one of the falls--an idea the Council disliked. All agreed NPS should do human as well as natural history. Vandalism and theft on the plateau and at the trailhead were discussed. A Chapter member said the Club was not against human beings, and Hirst said some of the bad feeling probably stemmed out of letters from McComb and Rodack; neither was sensitive. Many friendly and supportive comments were then exchanged. Hirst said that the Havasupai "had long wanted to regain some of the so-called Boquillas land, and now part of it is for sale." The federal land is most important, but he wished the money were available for private lands. The Havasupai need 365 kac to be self-sufficient. They need, Council members said, land for construction and employment. A Chapter member suggested the Havasupai could do pack trips for tourists on the plateau. The Havasupai present said they were kind people, and the words the Chapter members were hearing were those of the Havasupai, even if whitefolk said them. After the Sierra Club members left, the Council discussed a dispute over house construction, and there was agreement that the housing program would stall with such disputes.

Hawkins, one of the chapter visitors on New Year's, told me that some, like McIver, were swayed by what they saw & heard in Supai, and had become convinced that the conditions justified additional land to overcome the problems of space for housing, grazing needs, water supply, and getting control of the falls for tourist income. The Havasupai had said the 1940's addition was "a pile of rocks" (although, in fact, it was to give them control over a cattle watering source). The Club visitors were told the Club was more concerned with animals than people. Hawkins suggested, again, there were differences in what a resolution should say. 

The chapter executive committee convened on 5 Jan in Phoenix. Although not a Club member, I accompanied chairwoman Garcia from Tucson. The meeting covered a number of chapter concerns, and was attended by both old and new members of the committee, as well as former GCNP Sup't Lovegren & other Club members, a total of 12, plus "guest" Ingram. I have the minutes. Interestingly, the Plateau group members could not attend, being "snowed in", and had mailed in their Grand Canyon position resolution. Following Garcia's report on the 2 Dec meeting, "discussion continued". Before summarizing it, here, as indicative of the atmosphere, is an addendum I submitted to the minutes :

McIver's "rude behavior" was directed, as I remember, at Margot Garcia, who was a family friend as well as an estimable, hard-working conservationist. I dont remember my "rebuke", but I do remember just how angry she & I became with the pro-Havasuapi fifth columnists. Im not sure if I knew at the time that they, as Sierra Club members, went to Supai and suggested a power plant at the falls, a railroad over the plateau, and a tramway. It is telling that in their desire to "help" the Havasupai, they made suggestions that ought to have been repugnant to any "friend" of the Grand Canyon and were repudiated by the Havasupai themselves. I hope I said "Shame" to McIver.

But back to the meeting as recorded in the minutes and my journal. 
Lovegren talked as past superintendent;  The idea of trading land for "rights" had to include the Forest Service, and the study in S1296 was a superb way to look at the issues.
The minutes said I spoke from my experience and research.
Lovegren mentioned the tramway and a pipeline that would go to top then across plateau to towns.
 McIver denied that; only 40K gallons were to be pumped. He reported on his trip. He noted the changes since 1966: more houses, trail very wide & improved. He was taken on tour by C.Jack and Hirst and saw houses. Horse feed was needed. When asked, Hirst said the horses were so hungry they ate all the stubble. McIver saw them eating bark. A flood had made the channel deeper. The health sevice forced chlorination, but there was sanitation need, just septic tanks. Campgrounds were clean but beaten. They heard personal pleas, and agreed to attend the council meeting, where McIver explained even if Club changed its stand, there would be obstacles. Heard about the free permit and land being maldistributed. There were power outages. He saw mules and dogs, no cattle or chickens. The population was declining, and they prefer to live in their area. There was discussion about camping and fees.
  McIver submitted a draft resolution that the Havasupai had traditionally and legally used the land they requested, depending on it to feed their livestock on which they depend for income, supplies and transport, and they needed additional land for housing, so the Club in Arizona and nationally should support expansion of the reservation.
The Plateau Group's resolution was read.
Campbell was against land transfer, but something was needed to head off Plateau position.
Lane wanted to act humanistically; the Havasupai were suffering and were there first. Someone replied they traded off their heritage. 
I said the Park was the future. 
Lovegren feared the lack of tribal leadership, e.g., the pipeline and "quickie" resolutions. There was some need for tribal control on the trail and Long Mesa, but he warned against approving a specific map; "Ive been a fool" when he tried it. 
Lane moved the McIver resolution, but others said, "dont be stupid", and Ricker, chapter elder stateman, said he would urge the Club national board to reject it. It was defeated because it specified a boundary.
McIver now said he preferred the Plateau position, but it was defeated because it was too vague.
A third resolution, from the conservation committee, reaffirmed the park quality of Havasu-Cataract Canyon, which is part of the Grand Canyon. It recognized the Havasupai's socio-economic problems, and supported meaningful recommendations from a study insofar as they are compatible with the area's park quality. It was also defeated.
Discussion was then postponed until the next meeting and members from both sides were to try to come up with a compromise. 

The next day, there was what I called a "glum" full-page in the Sunday Star in Tucson, by hiker and outdoor writer Pete Cowgill. I wrote him to "Cheer up, Pete! Dont be so glum about the Grand Canyon -- its really much more of a great place for Arizona than the burden painted in your article." Which portrayed the legislative battle as a bunch of competing claims by malcontent interests. Half the page told the Havasupai story, with strong statements from Havasupai men and attorney Babbitt. About as accurate in its details as one could expect, I felt I needed to remind Pete that "we in Arizona should be excited and proud at our chance to help protect, learn about and from, and enjoy the Grand Canyon."

January also saw a long report on the Havasupai to the Institute of Current World Affairs from  someone in Oaxaca. Scanning it, I find it one of the many pro-Havasupai reports written over the years; reports that in the past no matter how accurate or wrenching had had no traction, because they had found no sure driver, and would continue to have little until the Havasupai found their knowledgeable and experienced champion. The search for that key would be carried out by the Association on American Indian Affairs in New York. For the moment, though, they were seen only through a 16-page booklet, somber with black-&-white photos, presenting the case to release from captivity what the publication titled The Havasupai: Prisoners of the Grand Canyon.

In a call with Garcia, I agreed to send an apology. I also heard that Bill Breed had resigned, in part because Hirst had written acting as though Sierra Club had approved the land transfer. He did not like the "nastiness", and was worried about NPS not being bothered by Club moves toward the Havasupai. 
More Havasupai gossip from NPS: Mrs. Ethel Jack was a clever and intelligent spokesperson; had been against taking land money, and likes to play the "dumb Indian". NPS is still strong against transfer. 

McIver now made an organizing play, 8 Jan, calling for a special Executive Committee meeting on 26 Jan due to the ambiguous result of the limited discussion on 5 Jan, with 4 members absent. He had lined up support for this hasty meeting based on practical considerations, although he also gave away his intent by calling for an agenda "limited to this one issue and the attendance limited to" the Committee, McComb & Ricker, providing "us with the time and the people to deal with the problem". (Of course, there was no problem, unless one was trying in a hurry to subvert Club purposes.) He reproduced the texts of the three resolutions. He also included a Southwest regional Club committee statement that wanted any consideration of the Havasupai issue to be "thoroughly explored apart from" legislation to expand the Park. He also wanted any discussion by the national Board to come after the Chapter had acted, since it was to meet the next week and would have the regional statement before it. The special meeting was to be at his house. 

Garcia told me she would go to the National Meeting, that Breed had un-resigned, and another Club member was off to Supai. 

With the Havasupai lobbying pot boiling merrily under the Arizona Sierra Club, two Havasupai and Hirst came with more heat to Tucson, and there was a quickly called evening "discussion" on 10 Jan. A moderator, D. Shakel, saw two positions on the land: the Havasupai want control; Canyon advocates want the Park. Rodack urged the Sierra Club not to give the Havasupai false hope. If some land goes, it all does. Hirst laughed. Rodack asked if they will trade transfer for limits on development and tourism. Reporter Cowgill agreed with the Havasupai; whitefolk have made a mess. For a while, the meeting was quite disorderly, as I remember it, with me rolling out the history as I saw it, and the Havasupai side out-firsting me. After a while it quieted down, and all considered that this was an issue to hear more about, take more note of.  I noted to my journal that the Havasupai argument had sure opened things up. 

**Attendees, 2 Dec 1973, Flagstaff. From minutes by Acting Tribal Secretary Hirst: 

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