Posted on 08/24/2013

Photo taken on August 13, 2013


Chief Sherum
Beales Road
American Antiquities Act
Trail of Tears
US Forest Service
Department of Agriculture
La Paz
concentration camp
Yu’ Nyihay Jamj Vo:jo

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La Paz and the Hualapai concentration camp

La Paz and the Hualapai concentration camp
La Paz came into existence with the discovery of gold in 1861 (this was before the towns of Ehrenberg or Blythe were founded). At its height it boasted 5,000 residents. But then the gold began to give out and, in 1870, the river changed course, leaving this river town now two miles (3.2 km) away. A 1912 flood left the adobe buildings as mounds of dirt (which can still be seen today).

In 1857 the U.S. Army created a government wagon road (Beale’s Road) through (what is today known as) the cities of Seligman, Peach Springs, Truxton, Valentine and Kingman (where the Hualapai Indians resided). It then took Indian trails through the Black Mountains down to the Colorado River where Fort Mohave was built (in 1859) to protect travelers from Mohave Indians. The travelers disrupted the lives of the Indians and interfered with their hunting. William Hardy (inventor of the riveted mail sack, and for whom the Colorado River town of Hardyville, which evolved into Bullhead City, was named) remembered the early days of Beale's Road and wrote, "It was not uncommon in traveling through the Aztec Pass to see two or three hundred deer or antelope in a day. This game has all been driven out or killed off, and the whole country around is overstocked with cattle and horses. Game is rarely seen, but there is cattle on a thousand hills."

After many conflicts with the U.S. Army a special order from the Headquarters Department of Arizona at Prescott relocated the Hualapais to the Colorado River Indian Agency at La Paz. The northern Arizona mountain dwelling Hualapai Indians were, in 1874, rounded up and made to march 128 miles (206 km) from Kingman to the harsh desert conditions of La Paz. They were imprisoned there for a year. Agents who were responsible for providing food supplements for the Indians often sold it off, instead, leaving those in the concentration camps to starve. The Hualapais fled back to their original lands. They left La Paz on April 20, 1875, one year to the day since their arrival. Hualapais Chief Sherum won the support of the governor of Arizona to allow the Hualapais to remain in the lands to which they’d fled. On January 4, 1883 the Hualapais reservation was created. It included Peach Springs in Mojave country.