/ Modified nov 15, 2012 11:17 a.m.

Arizona’s Dust Bowl: Lessons Lost

Explore the effects of the 1930’s Dust Bowl, not only on Arizona’s economy, but also the area’s demographics and culture. Sunday at 7 p.m. on PBS 6.

Work in Arizona’s cotton fields was the last hope for some of the thousands of migrating Okies and Arkies. These new arrivals brought their preference for Southern food, music, religion and culture with them. The shift in demographics and tastes changed Arizona forever. These emigrants transformed Arizona, displacing thousands of migrant Mexican laborers. Racism was rampant. Hundreds of thousands of Mexican and Mexican-American citizens were forcibly deported south of the border. Unlike migrant Mexican laborers who previously went home at the end of the harvest, Arizona’s new residents stayed, most lived in squalor, and survived on the public dole.

The people on the Navajo and Hopi reservations in Northern Arizona were not excluded from the affects of the Dust Bowl. Concerned about the overgrazing of livestock, the economic backbone for the Native Americans, the Soil Conservation Service feared that Hoover Dam would silt up. The service convinced the Bureau of Indian Affairs to carry out a stock reduction program on the Navajo and Hopi reservations. A million sheep and goats were slaughtered, and thousands of families decimated.

Could we suffer another Dust Bowl? Are the recent droughts across the southwest and deadly dust storms that engulfed Phoenix a sign of things to come? Have we learned any lessons?

Arizona’s Dust Bowl: Lessons Lost, Sunday at 7 p.m. on PBS 6.

Facebook  Icon

By posting comments, you agree to our
AZPM encourages comments, but comments that contain profanity, unrelated information, threats, libel, defamatory statements, obscenities, pornography or that violate the law are not allowed. Comments that promote commercial products or services are not allowed. Comments in violation of this policy will be removed. Continued posting of comments that violate this policy will result in the commenter being banned from the site.

By submitting your comments, you hereby give AZPM the right to post your comments and potentially use them in any other form of media operated by this institution.
Arizona Public Media broadcast stations are licensed to the Arizona Board of Regents. Arizona Public Media and AZPM are registered trademarks of the Arizona Board of Regents.
The University of Arizona