a bench with a view

a bench with a view

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Native American

A/Z Theme - Sights and sites of Arizona

N - Native American

This is a bit of a stretch for the letter "N" but I think it will work (LOL).  Hubby got a job working at the Gila River Health Care at Hu Hu Kam Memorial Hospital in Sacaton, Arizona, which is about 45 minutes away from Phoenix.  



From what I understand that has been gathered by hubby is that the Gila River Indian Community (tribe) grew lots of plants and agriculture because a river ran through its area.  When pioneers would travel across country, they would often stop there at the river to refresh themselves and their livestock.  

After the gold rush in California fizzled out, those that went there looking for fortune remembered the fertile land in Arizona by the Gila River. They returned there and dammed the water upstream from the tribe causing the river to no longer flow through their land.

A famine hit. Over the next ensuing years, 20,000 of the tribe died.  The US government did come in through the military and provided food for them. Fried bread, while many might think is an Indian food, was made out of necessity due to the provisions left by the government of flour, etc. During this time, because of a change in diet, lots of Native Americans developed diabetes and became overweight.

Somewhere else down the line, they decided to sue the government for building of the dam and won the lawsuit.  It was a 112 year lawsuit.  They were granted 51% of water rights. They could have chosen the Gila River, but they chose the Colorado River. They could have sold the water to other states for a very high profit, but they decided to keep the water in Arizona because their people were still there.  They get the revenue for that 51% of water usage from water companies.  

The Gila River Indian Community is very proactive in health maintenance and keeping the members of their community out of the hospital. They consider it a failure if someone has to be hospitalized, so they promote health, getting to doctor appointments, etc. They have a fleet of vehicles that will go and pick up people to make sure they follow through with testing, doctors' appointments, etc.

Not all the employees that work there are members of the community.  I went down with hubby when he interviewed and stayed in the cafeteria while he was interviewing with the administration, etc. I saw all nationalities represented there.  

Of course the Gila River Indian Community also has a casino.  

There is so much more about them that I hope to share in subsequent posts after the challenge.

And to wrap up like I usually do with a question, do you have Native American casinos in your area? Obviously we do, but also had them in Prescott and parts of Southern California we lived in.



44 comments:

Birgit said...

Funny how the native Americans gained weight when they ate crap and how they are now trying to be healthier so they don't have to go to the hospital. Why are we not learning from them? I am glad they won the wate rights. We have Indian reserves all around us and people go there to buy their cigarettes. One pack of smokes here costs $10.00 so it costs $300/math when people have this habit. If they get the native cigs, it costs $80.00/mth

Liz A. said...

Well, you know we do have casinos nearby. Probably the same ones you had in San Diego. My father likes to drive down that way every couple months and "donate" to the Native Americans.

shortybear said...

crazy

TARYTERRE said...

What interesting history. the Indian people have endured so much throughout the years. When I visited a reservation years ago I never saw such poverty. If they can somehow profit from their suffering I am all for it. (My daughter worked for an Indian Hospital when she lived in Arizona briefly.)

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I like hearing about the history of different places and this was an eye opener for sure. Water is important, we all need it for sure. We are blessed to have both rivers and Lake Erie here in Ohio. We do have casino's too.

Jeff Bushman said...

The government sure made a mess of things back then when it came to our natives didn't they?
They are still doing it now to us natives.

Bijoux said...

No casinos here, but we stayed at the Hon-Dah hotel and casino in Pinetop, AZ once.

lyndagrace said...

That is so interesting and brings to light how Native Americans were, to put it mildly, bullied. I'm glad they got the justice they deserved. It's so admirable that they used their win to take care of their own.
We don't have Native American casinos in our immediate area. But we do have Atlantic City which is in the middle of dire failure. Perhaps the AC powers that be could learn a little something from the Native Americans.

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

Very fascinating - and even tragic - history. I do hope you share more!

Thea O'Brian said...

Yes. We live close to an Indian Reservation and Casino. I am in upstate New York. Akwesasne is the reservation. The Casino is located on it. It is about 40 miles from my home. I have been on the reservation many times. For one the gas prices are so much cheaper. And the last time I went to the reservation we had dinner and I told my hubby I was not going to spend much at the casino. I played the slot machines for 1 1/2 hours. I started out with six dollars and left with nothing.

Pat Hatt said...

Glad they finally got something good out of it, sad they had to go through all that crap though. If only everyone was that proactive about health. Got a casino around here somewhere. I never "donated" to it though.

Linda said...

In hindsight of course, seems the dam was selfish and hopefully nowadays something like that would never happen to destroy a way of life. We've got Indian casinos around the state, they don't get my money though, and probably the only public place that still allows smoking. Sometimes hear of white collar crimes linked to supporting a gambling compulsion.

Stephen Tremp said...

Unfortunately many if not most or all Indian casinos are set up where only a few make a lot of money and the rest make meager wages while the reservation still lies in poverty. I wish it wasn't this way but it is. Greedy bullies will always find a way to profit at everyone else's expense, even in casinos at Indian reservations.

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

Well, clearly we don't have any Native American casinos in our area since we don't have any Native Americans unless we have a few who have migrated to the UK. :) I don't think we have any casinos at all nearby but next month I will be visiting Monaco where of course they do. I'll not be visiting it though.

Wendy said...

There are no casinos period where I live. We have some active Native American tribes but I do not think there are any reservations anymore. We have Nansemond Indians, Pamunkey, and Mattaponi. The Mattaponi (mat -uh - PO - NIGH) have recently gone into the wine business.

Mevely317 said...

This is truly fascinating info, Betty! I never would have guessed the origins of the fry bread that's become so popular.
Too, I think their pro-active approach to health care is wonderful.

A few years back one of our managers left to work for another big casino/hotel. She mentioned it being really, really difficult for non-Native Americans to get their foot in the door. So glad it worked out for your hubby!

Saleslady371 said...

Very interesting, Betty, I really learned a lot. Oh, my, Indian Fry Bread! Love it. The closest casino for us is Cliff Castle in Camp Verde. We've attended some of the outdoor concerts over the years. And that breakfast buffet with my casino card is only $7. Love the bowling alley and Johnny Rockets when I want a hamburger, 1950 style!

Big Mark 243 said...

...great to see that you are still sharing your stories and this was a very interesting one..! Hope you are well and that your son is doing fine..!

Joy said...

Man. loving all these great locals you are describing :D


Joy @ The Joyous Living

laurahile said...

Betty, this is such a great blog topic. And that photo in the header is wonderful. Thanks so much for sharing your insights and photos.

Laura

Sarah Allan said...

112 YEARS? Oh my goodness. I'm glad it worked out for them, though. We have quite a few casinos and reservations in New Mexico. :-)

Jo said...

We have the Six Nations Reserve close by, but I have no idea if the Casinos in Ontario have anything to do with the Native Americans. I do know people go to the reservation to buy things like cigarettes which are much cheaper. It is supposed to be illegal to do that.

Chatty Crone said...

Hey that was extremely interesting to me - love history - we did not treat them right at all did we?

That Colorado River is strong - they can derive a lot of energy from that.

Hope you have a nice weekend.

Elizabeth said...

In Oklahoma I think there is a casino in just about every town with a population over 3,000. I remember the Gila River. When I was really young, I thought all "rivers" were actually dry riverbeds because that was all I saw most of the time in the Phoenix area, lol.

Inge H. Borg said...

I have now lived in this country for 50 years (was transferred from Europe to stay for one) and I never cease to marvel at the diversity of its landscapes and its people. While I always lived and worked in several of its great cities, I retired to beautiful rural Arkansas. It reminds me of my native Austria with its hills (yes, they are alive-but sometimes you don't want to know why) and dense woods and lakes.

Megan Whitson Lee said...

No, but again this reminds me of Australia. That was actually the first place I ever went to a casino. Of course the Aborigines are their natives there...

jack69 said...

We spend the winter once in Gila Bend. The story of the Gila River Dam was really sad. This is a good entry. Good to know about their Hospital and activities to keep the Tribe healthy and happy. We read a lot of history while there.
Neat entry as always.

Gwynn Rogers said...

Hi Betty,

I'm not Native American but I do live on the Suquamish Indian Reservation. Some of the lands were sold directly to the white people as the tribe needed money. They ended up building a casino and now they no longer need money. In fact they are purchasing a lot of their land back.

Sadly, the tribes around here are not as interested in health as your tribe. Your post is very interesting. Thank you.

Cynthia said...

I am glad to hear that this community is health-conscious but I feel very sad for those who didn't escape the famine and those who have suffered from health issues.

Sharon Himsl said...

You live in an interesting Community to have so much Native American culture around you and so much history.

Lynn Proctor said...

The native American Indians were my favorite subject to teach Robyn - I don't know if we have the casinos

Joanne said...

those casinos are in Oklahoma across the border - and rake in the dough. I'm sure there are a lot of issues for our Native American friends.

Lux G. said...

We don't have casinos in our area. But this has been really informative.

Maria Zannini said...

Typical. Instead of giving them back their water so they can work their own land, they gave them food, keeping them dependent on the government.

At least they got even with the casinos.

Melissa Sugar said...

They did get even with the casinos. There are Indian Reservation Casinos just about everywhere, but they don't hurt the economy or the government in Louisiana because we have our own casinos. I'm about to do some background research into Native American blood and lineage. We've just learned that some distant cousins of ours received free tuition to college and law school because of the percentage of their Native American blood.These cousins and I share the same great-grandparents. Apparently both my great- grand parents had a substantial percentage of native american blood. I remember my grandmother talking about her father being part Sioux Indian, but she didn't know him very well, but she never mentioned any Native American blood on her mother's side. I'm not looking into it for a free ride for my daughter to college, just as another option. She is hearing impaired. We are waiting now for the ACT scores to come in the mail. She is a junior and has another year of high school. She is a 4.0 student, but doesn't test well, so someone suggested I look into this as another option as possibly being able to mark her down as a minority, or "other" if her scores are not indicative of how good of a student she is.
I don't know if I will follow through or not. I just want to know that I've done everything I can possibly do to help my daughter get into college. I know she will make her grades once she gets in college, she just doesn't always do well on standardized test because of her hearing impairment. I really don't even know where to begin looking into the Native American ancestry thing. I wish my grandmother was still alive, she kept meticulous records. I don't know what happened to all of her things. Sorry for rambling. Your post just got me thinking. As always, I enjoyed reading about Arizona. Sorry I went off on a tangent.

Veronica Lee said...

That was really interesting, Betty.

Intense Guy said...

It is quite shameful what "our" earliest ancestors and Government did to the Native Americans.

The casino Indian stereotype is really accurate even though patently offensive.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Thank you for sharing the history of the tribe. That is so sad about the dam being built and that so many of the tribe had died. Glad they won the lawsuit!

T. A. Miles said...

We have a fairly large Native American casino here in Iowa, and several more peppered throughout the state.

The Immarcescible Word

Frox'n'Fox

Ann Bennett said...

There is a casino in North Carolina. I'm not much of a gambler.

I'm proud of them claiming the Colorado. It helped a lot of people besides themselves. Health care does improve the quality of your life. I tell myself that when I have to go to the doctor.

Michelle Wallace said...

A 112 year lawsuit...that's like forever!
The Gila River Indian Community is very health conscious. I wish some of our locals could be like that.
Writer In Transit

Sunni said...

Betty,

What an interesting post. I think the Indians have gotten the shaft by the US government through the years. I'm glad they can operate casinos for extra income. I wish we had them where I live now, but that will never happen. There were several near us in southern CA. They have nice buffets.

Sunni

Natasha Duncan-Drake said...

I'm very glad they won their law suit - that is a long time to wait for justice.
Tasha
Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

The Brown Recluse (TBR) said...

The way Native Americans were treated is abominable. No other term for it. America's history isn't all pretty, but it isn't all bad. I do wish things like what happened there, and what happened here (Trail of Tears) had never happened at all!

We do have a Native American casino area near here...in Tunica, Mississippi. I've only been once. It's a sin, you know! haha but lawww, those scratch off tickets I bought today ain't sinful! (and we lost our whole 15 dollars.) We didn't do too bad in the Casino, though.