On January 19, 2016, Kyle Woodson and Wesley Miles (Gila River Indian Community) will present “Canal Irrigation Studies on the Gila River Indian Community and Modern Water-Rights Issues.”
From Kyle and Wesley:
We will discuss the Gila River Indian Community’s long-term cultural resource management study of Hohokam canal irrigation along the middle Gila River. This work has been coordinated in conjunction with the Pima-Maricopa Irrigation Project, a large irrigation-system improvement project funded by the United States Bureau of Reclamation. This long-term study was facilitated by archival and ethnographic research, intensive archaeological survey and excavation projects, as well as oral history interviews.
These efforts have provided a wealth of new information on ancient Hohokam canal systems and irrigated fields. Principal contributions of these studies are a greatly clarified canal system map; an increased number of excavated canal segments; and new understandings of the layout, size, and capacity of the canal systems, as well as their development through time. Soil studies of irrigated fields within the systems, along with experiments in traditional corn production, have greatly augmented our knowledge of Hohokam irrigated agriculture. Other studies have focused on the social organization of irrigation management and canal labor.
In sum, these investigations have led to many new insights, and they have even influenced some water-rights issues for the Community.