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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Yuma Indians


It is not within the intent of this paper to enter into speculations concerning the probable destiny of the tribe, but although they have succeeded in maintaining their numerical strength for the past thirty or forty years, it would appear that their existence as a united people is seriously threatened. Until recent times their country was virtually ignored by the whites, who erroneously believed that Arizona and southeastern California were deserts incapable of sustaining life. This impression has since been proven totally incorrect, as is now attested by the flourishing Yuma gardens, productive ranches, and extensive irrigation enterprises in progress along the Gila River. Government land is preempted at an unprecedented rate, and the hitherto unoccupied valleys are rapidly filling up. In due course of time the constantly increasing population will encroach upon the outskirts of the Indian ranges to the extent of forcing the weaker race to adopt the habits of the stronger and by assimilation to lose their identity, which will naturally follow the destruction of tribal customs and traditions — the only influence that unites them. It is especially fortunate that the government is already preparing the younger generations by judicious practical training for the coming struggle for life.

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