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By Donald M. Bahr, Lloyd Paul, Vincent Joseph

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Additional resources for Ants and Orioles: showing the art of Pima poetry

Example text

As Paul says, a great flood around 1900 (probably 1892there was a great flood of record that year) caused the people to move from their original houses and farming sites on the river flood plain to higher terrace land to the north. As Paul also tells, the terrace land had formerly been lived on and farmed by the prehistoric Hohokam. There were ruined canals and mounds on this land. Thus, the terrace wasn't new to Indian farming, just new to farming by Paul's immediate ancestors. S. government decided to secure to each man, woman, and child of the Salt River community (Maricopas as well as Pimas) a ten-acre plot of irrigable, soon to be irrigated, land (the Hohokam canals would be brought back to life), and twenty acres of detached unirrigated land for pasture or grazing or what-have-you.

The constancies that we will attend to, then, are probably ephemeral, but we cannot prove this because the successive runs of sings that we have are too few to know. We have only two sings of Ants and three of Orioles. Now, some final remarks on spirits and dreams as a preview of what the poetry says. On the evidence of these sings, spirits are ambiguously alluded to rather than clearly delineated. Thus, the reader who hopes for clear pictures of ants or Ant spirits, or Oriole spirits, will be disappointed.

In the 1920s and 30s a family could purchase sufficient water for ten acres, the usual irrigated allotment (thirty acre-feet, the volume of water that will cover ten acres to a depth of three feet), for about $20 per year paid in small sums after each irrigation. 6 With the price increase, irrigated farming did not cease at Salt River, but the Indians changed from farmers to lessors. They leased to whites who were willing and able to pay the higher rate. There was more behind the shift from farming to leasing than the high cost of water.

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