AbstractsBiology & Animal Science

Unsettling Accounts: Life, Debt, and Development in the Middle Rio Grande

by Samuel Karrigan Markwell

Institution: University of New Mexico
Year: 2014
Keywords: Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District; development; settler colonialism; biopolitics; debt; race
Record ID: 2027251
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/23617


This thesis reexamines the history of the formation of the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District (MRGCD) during the first half of the twentieth century. Previous histories have either uncritically celebrated the MRGCD, or have been critical of its formation because of the way it negatively affected Mexicano/Hispano farming communities. This thesis extends the critical literature by situating the MRGCD as a formation of settler colonialism and attending to the ways it affected Pueblo Indian Nations. I argue that the MRGCD, ostensibly designed to “protect life and property” in the valley, was actually concerned with securing forms of life and property that were productive for capital accumulation and settler national life. In so doing I aim to emphasize the ways that settler colonialism structures development efforts in ways that negatively affect Indian/Native nations, as well as the ways it extends forms of anti-Indian racial devaluation to create and mark the difference between the dispossessed and possessed within the settler community itself.