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  • Writer's pictureDonald V. Watkins

Making Something Out of Nothing: A Pathway To Prosperity For Desert Tribes

By: Donald V. Watkins

Copyrighted and Published on January 8, 2022

IMAGE: Barren land in the Navajo Nation.

Over a period of 1,000 years, Native American tribes established defined tribal territories from coast to coast in North America, including the country we call “America.”

Over a 400 year-period, the United States government, aided and abetted by various state militias, implemented an official policy of genocide against Native Americans in order to seize Indian lands from tribes who stood their ground. Eventually, the U.S. government seized 1.5 billion acres of Native American tribal land and gave 270 million acres of this land to white immigrants from Europe -- for free -- under a 124-year wealth transfer program called the Homestead Act of 1865.

This centuries-long, extremely violent, campaign of atrocities, genocide, and land seizures against Native Americans is well-documented in U.S. Senate Records and Reports in Washington, D.C.

Today, there are 574 federally-recognized tribes that survived this horrific experience. They are protected and serviced by the U.S. Interior Department's Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Approximately 56.2 million acres are held in trust by the United States for various Indian tribes and individuals. There are approximately 326 Indian land areas in the U.S. administered as federal Indian reservations (i.e., reservations, pueblos, rancherias, missions, villages, communities, etc.).

Life in the Desert

The largest Indian Reservation in America is the 16 million-acre Navajo Nation Reservation located in Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. Much of it is barren desert land. Life is tough in the desert.

Most members of the Apache Nation live on five reservations: three in Arizona (the Fort Apache, the San Carlos Apache, and the Tonto Apache Reservations); and two in New Mexico (the Mescalero and the Jicarilla Apache). The White Mountain Apache live on the Fort Apache Reservation. Combined, these Apache reservations comprise millions of acres, including a whole lot of desert land.

According to Desert USA, many cultural and linguistic Native American groups made (and still make) the deserts of the American Southwest their home. Each tribal group in each of the four deserts -- Mojave, Sonoran, Great Basin and Chihuahuan -- adapted differently, depending on local conditions and limitations.

Most of these Native Americans were farmers, in addition to hunting and gathering. Some groups relied on dry farming, while others utilized irrigation techniques, perhaps inherited from ancient cultures that preceded them.

Desert tribes learned to utilize the precious resources available in the desert to maintain a way of life that was both practical and religious. As with all desert life, water was of primary concern, and communities tended to form near sources of free water, which were vital habitats for desert animals and plants as well.

Thanks to scientific advances in agri-business today, Native American desert tribes can convert millions of acres of barren land into a fertile agricultural oasis. Once again, desert tribes can be self-suffice and prosperous.

Who Are the Desert Tribes in America?

According to Desert USA contributor Steve Crouthame, Native Americans of the Desert Southwest, as grouped on a linguistic basis, include:

  • Western

    • Hopi

    • Acoma

    • Laguna

    • Zuni

  • Eastern

    • Keresan

    • Tanoan

  • Akimel O'odham (Pima-River People)

  • Tohono O'odham (Papago-Desert People)


  • River

    • Cocopah (Cocopa)

    • Quechan (Yuma)

    • Mojave (Ahamakav)

    • Maricopa (Pee-Posh)

  • Pai

    • Yavapai

    • Hualapai (Walapai)

    • Havasupai

    • Kumeyaay (Diegueno) Southern California


  • Navajo

  • Apache

    • Jicarilla

    • Mescalero

    • Western

    • Chiricahua


  • Paiute (Northern Owens Valley)

  • Ute

  • Shoshoni

  • S. California

    • Cahuilla

    • Chemehuevi

    • Serrano

    • Cupeno

    • Luiseno

  • Cahitan - Mexico

    • Yaqui

    • Opata

    • Tarahumara

    • Huichol

    • Seri

Dake Rechsand Offers the Navajo Nation, Apache Nation, and Other Desert Tribes Valuable Agri-Business Empowerment Opportunities

Dake Rechsand is the global leader in the science of desert farming in the modern era. Desert farming is now an economical option for Native American desert tribes. Desert farming also bolsters food security at affordable prices and restores degraded lands.

Dake Rechsand’s desert farming technology, products, and projects are converting barren desert lands in other nations into large agricultural farms, rice plantations, greenhouse planting zones, and beautiful lakes. Here are some of Dake Rechsand's green desert projects:

Every day, Dake Rechsand is changing lives in a way that empowers deserving peoples around the world. It is now time for Native America desert tribes to join in this paradigm-shifting empowerment experience.

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