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Piyahu Nadu - Land of Flowing Waters: The Water Transfer from Owens Valley to Los Angeles 1913-1939


A partial history of the indigenous Owens Valley Paiute peoples and their relationships to water is presented for the purpose of understanding the Owens Valley Paiute resistance against the water transfer from Owens Valley to Los Angeles. This historical narrative focuses on the early to mid-twentieth century and the Paiutes' pre-contact sociopolitical organization. This thesis will add to the existing literature on the water transfer with new interpretations and perspectives regarding how and why water is culturally important for the Owens Valley Paiute peoples. The central research question for this thesis is why did the Owens Valley Paiute peoples resist the water transfer? The answer to this question is found within how water is thought of, valued, and used within their culture and aspects of their world view which is revealed through stories and interviews.

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