In this inspiring and challenging book, Erika Marie Bsumek shows that much more than rock, cement, and steel buttress Glen Canyon Dam. Bsumek argues that Glen Canyon—and most of the physical infrastructure of the West—rests on a complex and intertwined foundation of “social infrastructures” that dispossessed Native peoples, ignored Native knowledge, and excluded Native voices from decision making. Bsumek’s analysis provides not only a compelling new understanding of the history of Glen Canyon Dam and the American West, but also a hopeful path toward a more equitable future for the region.

Bsumek excavates the accreting layers of social infrastructures of dispossession through a story that stretches from 1840 to the present. That chronology marks one of the book’s contributions: demonstrating that understanding Glen Canyon Dam requires looking back decades before the dam was first imagined. When Latter-day Saints expanded into the lands of the Ute, Paiute, Hopi, and Navajo peoples...

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