Crimes against Nature: Squatters, Poachers, Thieves, and the Hidden History of American Conservation

By Karl Jacoby | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7
The Havasupai Problem

In the fall of 1915, Captain Jim, a member of the Havasupai tribe of northern Arizona, dispatched an urgent letter to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. Captain Jim opened his missive by detailing the close relationship that had once existed between his people and the wildlife of the region, particularly mule deer, the area's most plentiful game animal: “A long time ago the Gods gave the deer to the Indian for himself. The women and children all like deer meat very much. The Indian men like buckskins to trade for grub, saddles, horses, saddles, blankets, and money. A long time ago … the Indians all go out on the plateau and hunt deer for two or three months and then all come back to Supai [the Havasupais' main village] to stay. ” But recent changes, Captain Jim observed, had disrupted this long-standing pattern: “Now the Indians are all afraid about the hunting and never go far away. I want you to send me a hunting license and tell me good and straight that I may hunt deer…. The white man should now help the Indians by giving him permission to hunt deer as there be no trouble with the Game Wardens…. This is all. ” 1

In its own abbreviated way, Captain Jim's letter summed up the altered circumstances that conservation brought to many Indian peoples. It was above all a narrative of loss—of the deprivation of traditional resources; the breakdown of seasonal cycles and of customary gender roles; the undermining of belief systems—at the conclusion of which Native Americans found a bewildering array of licenses and game wardens mediating between them and the natural world. Yet, in

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Crimes against Nature: Squatters, Poachers, Thieves, and the Hidden History of American Conservation
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Illustrations xi
  • Tables xiii
  • Preface xv
  • Introduction - The Hidden History of American Conservation 1
  • Part I - The Adirondacks 9
  • Chapter 1 - The Re-Creation of Nature 11
  • Chapter 2 - Public Property and Private Parks 29
  • Chapter 3 - Working-Class Wilderness 48
  • Part II - Yellowstone 79
  • Chapter 4 - Nature and Nation 81
  • Chapter 5 - Fort Yellowstone 99
  • Chapter 6 - Modes of Poaching and Production 121
  • Part III - The Grand Canyon 147
  • Chapter 7 - The Havasupai Problem 149
  • Chapter 8 - Farewell Song 171
  • Epilogue - Landscapes of Memory and Myth 193
  • Chronology of American Conservation 199
  • Notes 203
  • Bibliography 267
  • Index 293
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