National Geographic : 1929 Jan
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE "Not mine," grinned the showman. "He came home tired and hungry this morning, glad to get back in his cage and to eat his horse meat." "That sounds ridiculous," said the cow man who told me the story, "but it isn't at all. Buffalo Jones used to tree lions with his dogs; then climb the tree himself and rope the lions. After they were pulled down and tied, he'd take a pair of clippers and cut off their claws." A HERMITLIKE STATE HAS GROWN FRIENDLY AND SOCIABLE Arizona has grown up hermitlike, far from seaports or big cities. Its culture is largely its own. Its people depend on each other. Towns are few; everybody of any consequence knows everybody else in the State. There is no intrenched aristocracy, as in older communities. Here, as in pioneer days, a man is still accepted and his im portance measured by his actual value to the community. In this hard, new land drones perish. Sociologically, Arizona is as mixed up as its own geology. More than a third of its population is impossible of absorp tion-the Indians and Mexicans. Even were Mexican influx now checked, genera tions would pass before the present di verse racial and social elements could be come homogeneous; maybe not even then. Much experience in the Southwest has shown little sign of racial blending among Mexicans, American Indians, and whites. Yet it is a friendly, sociable region. One town I saw has a new fire truck. Often on Sunday afternoons the volunteer chief takes this truck out and invites American and Mexican children alike to take a ride. To lend realism to her bid for "dude ranch" customers, Arizona may parade sombrero, spurs, and "hair pants." But they are no longer in character. Pioneers, Indian fighters, the cowled priests of mis sion days, live only in tradition and holi day pageantry. I talked with one pioneer who has lived forty years in the vast lumber and sheep country that stretches from the Canyon down to the desert. "A good rifle, polished, oiled, and always loaded, was every man's indispensable tool when I came," said he. "Indian scalps decorated some of the older cabin walls. "Only the fit survived. And there were amusing social contrasts. Some men lived like swine; others sent their laundry all the way back to New York, by express, to get the right polish on the collars. At one time the rough log hut camp of Flag staff boasted more college graduates than any other town its size in America. We knew, too, where each man stood on every subject, from science and superstition to missionaries and breeding guinea pigs. Debate was our chief diversion. "When in doubt, we made our own law. There's an old story of one erratic indi vidual whose neighbors doubted his sanity. It was rumored he had tried to train prairie dogs to dig potatoes and post holes. They haled him before a bewildered justice of the peace, who pronounced this aston ishing sentence: 'The prisoner is fined $25 and dismissed with a warning!' " Sawmills, ranches, and mines have been Arizona's social laboratory. From the slab pile one man went to the State Su preme Court bench; from a sawmill a bishop graduated, and to the United States Senate went a former cow-puncher. PHOENIX RISES LIKE ANOTHER BABYLON To-day, from sawmills to symphony concerts, as it were, from bellwethers to belles-lettres, Arizona's social transition is even more rapid. Now blue Fokkers fly from the airports of Tucson and Phoenix, whisking air minded Arizonians out to Los Angeles in a few hours, over Mexican burro teams that take days to go from desert ranch to Tucson and back. For dance and bridge parties, women of Arizona telegraph to Los Angeles for fancy cakes and creams, and order their gowns from New York. A few hours off, on desert or mountain side, squaws parch corn for their children and make moccasins of deerhide (see pages 24, 25). Like Baghdad, Babylon, and Cairo like certain other magic cities of our arid West-Phoenix is the child of irrigation. Ages ago, men lived near where Phoenix now stands, watering a fringe of the des ert by crude canals. On the edge of Phoenix, now, archeologists are uncover ing the crumbling, sunbaked brick homes of these ancient settlers.