Border Citizens: The Making of Indians, Mexicans, and Anglos in Arizona

By Eric V. Meeks | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 1
DESERT EMPIRE

Shortly after the Mesilla Treaty (also called the Gadsden Purchase) transferred what would become southern Arizona from Mexico to the United States in the mid-1850s, hundreds of Americans moved into the territory to improve their fortunes.1 Among them was Sylvester Mowry, a lieutenant in the army. Mowry was stationed at Fort Yuma when he began to dream about the potential that the new territory held for would-be entrepreneurs like himself. After resigning his commission in 1858, he began to prospect for gold and silver. He also served as a special commissioner in the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA),2 with instructions to report on the region's indigenous peoples. In this capacity, he began to map and classify material resources and human inhabitants according to their value to U.S. interests and their potential for citizenship.3

As Benedict Anderson has argued, colonial states in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries imposed their rule in part by such mapping and classifying practices. They did so in an attempt to comprehend “the nature of the human beings [they] ruled, the geography of [their] domain, and the legitimacy of [their] ancestry.” Census takers held onto the “f ction” that “everyone has one—and only one—extremely clear place,” and therefore that people could not tolerate “multiple, politically ‘transvestite,’ blurred, or changing identifications.”4 James Scott has expanded on Anderson's argument, demonstrating that states in the twentieth century also attempted to create a “standard grid” to “monitor” populations and resources within their own borders. In the process, they often developed oppressive policies to regulate and transform indigenous social relationships and clarify the relationship of various groups to the state.5

Mowry's effort to map Arizona's geography and population exemplif es

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Border Citizens: The Making of Indians, Mexicans, and Anglos in Arizona
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • List of Illustrations ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - Desert Empire 15
  • Chapter 2 - From Noble Savage to Second-Class Citizen 44
  • Chapter 3 - Crossing Borders 71
  • Chapter 4 - Defining the White Citizen-Worker 98
  • Chapter 5 - The Indian New Deal and the Politics of the Tribe 127
  • Chapter 6 - Shadows in the Sun Belt 155
  • Chapter 7 - The Chicano Movement and Cultural Citizenship 180
  • Chapter 8 - Villages, Tribes, and Nations 211
  • Conclusion - Borders Old and New 241
  • Notes 249
  • Selected Bibliography 301
  • Index 313
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