"Thank God for the Deserts": Mormon Colonization, Environmental Change, and Climatic Variability in the Little Colorado River Watershed, 1873-1920
AuthorFinger, Thomas David
AdvisorMorrissey, Katherine G.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractDeep-seeded aspects of Mormon theology set ideological boundaries for how settlers in northern Arizona's Little Colorado River watershed could interact with the land and water. Rather than see the variable climate and hydrologic regime of the watershed as proof it could not support long-term intensive agriculture, the settlers viewed the desert through a religious lens. Deserts had to be redeemed into gardens if the settlers were to attain the Kingdom of God. A series of overlapping problems - social, economic, and environmental -beset the colony throughout the final two decades of the nineteenth century- among them a breakup of the communal order, the arrival of largescale cattle outfits, and prolonged drought. Faced with these difficulties, the settlers modified their ideology and transformed their environmental practices. Ironically, these efforts, based in contemporary scientific and secular understandings of water management also failed to remove settlers from their environmental constraints.
Degree ProgramGraduate College