The Pima-Maricopa Irrigation Project (P-MIP) has developed a unique vision statement. It is unique in
that it is a reflection of what the Project sees the Gila River Indian Community looking like in twenty years.
River People by N.E. Allen
The evidence of irrigation here within the Gila River Valley can be scientifically traced to prehistoric times. A civilization evolved about the time the Christian calendar was started and continued for a millennium. Although the evidence of their irrigation system has eroded through time, there are still faint traces which are found. Many of today's projects in the industrial and commercial areas provide these glimpses of the prehistoric past. Huhukam, a name applied to this ancient civilization of prehistoric times, ended around 1450 AD according to scientific evidence.
However, just about two hundred years later the Spanish arrived to find people living here in the Gila River Valley with an agricultural system well in place. The Akimel O'othom, or Pima as they are known. Pima was a name given to them by the Spanish, but in their own language they call themselves Akimel O'othom, (river people). We are still here today, still living in the same valley our ancestors did. A belief that is still strong even in this day and age. The only difference today is that we reside on a reservation, the Gila River Indian Community.
Today the Akimel O'othom are in the formative process to establish an irrigation system which will provide water to just over 146,000 acres. A monumental project which has been labeled the Pima-Maricopa Irrigation project (P-MIP). It has just been about two thousand years since the Huhukam began the first irrigation system in North America. Does History repeat itself?