“On Black Mesa we, as a society, are engaged in destroying some of our oldest sustainable Native American cultures so that people in Phoenix and Las Vegas can water their hundreds of golf courses, swim in swimming pools, and pretend they live in a desert miracle.”
Unreal City: Las Vegas, BlackMesa, and the Fate of the West by Judith Nies is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of Arizona. She describes how public officials partnered with coal, utility and water industries to monopolize resources under the Hopi/Navajo reservations to fuel development in Las Vegas, Phoenix and California. Described as a ‘centuries-old land dispute’ between two tribes, Nies insists, “It is actually an example of a global phenomenon in which giant transnational corporations have the power to separate indigenous people from their energy-rich lands with the help of host governments.”
The history of corruption uncovered is deep and detailed. She ties together shady partnerships hidden behind the Hoover Dam, Central Arizona Project, and the Navajo Generating Station power plant near Black Mesa – all touted as heroic public works projects created to serve local communities while they were secretly generating huge profits for private corporations. Read Unreal City and you will discover a history unwritten in the pages of mainstream textbooks.