Imagining Indians and Revisiting Reclamation Debates


This article examines how activists on both sides of the debate about the construction of dams along the Colorado River used images of Native Americans to argue their position. Environmental organizations, such as the Sierra Club, both drew on and helped set the stage for the emerging visual trope of the “ecological Indian.” Pro-dam organizations, however, drew on another set of eco-images that cast Native Americans as emblems of the unique American landscape, but also as a people in need of assistance to thrive on the land.