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Power LinesPhoenix and the Making of the Modern Southwest$
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Andrew Needham

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691139067

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691139067.001.0001

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Modernizing the Navajo

Modernizing the Navajo

Chapter:
(p.123) Chapter 4 Modernizing the Navajo
Source:
Power Lines
Author(s):

Andrew Needham

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691139067.003.0005

This chapter explores how a new infrastructure of coal mines and power plants on the Navajo Reservation, and of power lines that stretched across the Southwest, changed the landscape of the Navajo Reservation. The political terms in which this infrastructure took place—terms set largely by the belief held by businessmen from Phoenix and elsewhere that the state should facilitate capital location—shaped this infrastructure's meaning and future. These politics meant that private companies, rather than the federal authorities, mined coal and set it alight. They meant that federal policy focused increasingly on unlocking resources on Navajo land rather than ensuring that employment accompanied development. Moreover, they meant that the power lines leading from Four Corners Power Plant became the main supply for the electricity demanded in Phoenix, rather than primarily being a source of Navajo economic modernization.

Keywords:   infrastructure, coal mines, power plants, Navajo Reservation, power lines, private companies, Navajo land, employment, Four Corners Power Plant, Navajo economic modernization

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