Why there is an Indian Reservation next to Scottsdale, Arizona
I am reluctant to share what I am learning about Indians and the history of Phoenix. Even well-meaning people interrupt me, as they think that they already know all about it. I am saddened by this, as I have no interest in arguing with anyone. The real story, however, is so much more interesting than the racist comments that I hear. And I am willing to take the time to learn why certain things are, to this day, slightly mysterious about the relationship between the city of Phoenix and the Indian people who live there, and around there. If you are willing to take the time, walk with me.
If you know your Arizona history, you know that the Pima Indians lived as far south as Mexico, but only as far north as the Gila River, which is just south of Phoenix. The Pimas did not live in the Salt River Valley. Since the Hohokams had left there, no one did. It had become a war zone.
This was a centuries-old war between Indians, the Pimas and the Apaches, neither of which lived in the Salt River Valley. This is where they fought. Yes, the wounds have long since healed, but in the days of the founding of the city of Phoenix, the late 1860s, this war was ongoing.
The Phoenix pioneers, who wanted to settle in the Salt River Valley, allied with the Pimas. Their alliance was based on a common goal, which was to grow crops along the rivers, the Salt, and the Gila. The Pimas had been doing that for hundreds of years along the Gila, and they knew how to use the yearly cycles of the river. And they also knew how important it was to defend.
Of course, the logical place for the Pima Indian Reservation was where they were, which was along the Gila River. But a strategic place was also selected, along the Salt River. This was between the city of Phoenix and the Apaches, in the war zone.
The best information that I have found so far is the 1916 book by James McClintock Arizona, the Youngest State. His point of view is, of course, that of the people who finally won the war. If you take the time to read it, you will understand what that really means, and why it included Indian people, and does to this day.
Thank you for walking with me.
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Posted by Brad Hall