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Mahone, along with three other Hualapais and three non-Indians, served as pallbearers in a service that combined Christian and Hualapai funeral rites. To honor Swaskegame, who died in combat in 1918, the American Legion post in Kingman was named after him. The funeral came at an auspicious time and is remembered as a turning point in the tribe’s history, a moment when the Hualapais were considered citizens. Mahone’s involvement with the MIF was at its height, and his new group was still young. Excited by the prospect of organizing the Hualapais and homing in on the tribe’s single most important struggle—regaining their land from the railroad—he felt that the joint Anglo-Hualapai funeral signaled a changed climate.

Whereas Indian reformers such as Carlos Montezuma, an on-again, off-again member of the SAI and at least a tepid supporter of the MIF, wanted to end BIA control and dismantle the reservation system as a method of assimilation, the MIF wanted the same as an assertion of sovereignty. Its appeal to a largely reservation-based constituency explains the group’s rapid ascent; in 1921, only two years after its first stirrings, the BIA feared that the MIF controlled most Mission Indians in southern California.

S. government–administered tribe. For many years thereafter, because of white encroachment and limited economic opportunity, the reservation was the not the scene of much activity. And though the Hualapai bands made up a tribe, they operated autonomously well into the late nineteenth century. ∞∑ The creation of the reservation is the single most important event in the Hualapais’ modern history, but the change came gradually. The boundaries now hemming the tribe in, the ability of the government to monitor Hualapai behavior, however feeble at times, the Hualapais’ new and uncertain property rights—all these things and more would, at different time and in varying degrees, have a profound impact on Hualapai life.

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Little Bear and Other Stories


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