More Native Americans

This effort came from Don Schricker.

There is a tribe of Indians living on a mesa way into the central part of the state. As with many tribes and reservations, conditions are very difficult — the primary problem being the absence of a source of water up on the mesa. There is a river running at the base of the mesa many hundreds of feet below. Unfortunately, again as with many other such situations, electrical power is many, many miles away and the cost of providing electricity to the mesa for a water pumping system just wasn’t practical.

Every day lines of Indians could be seen trudging laboriously down to the river and back up the extremely steep slope, using steps chiseled into the stone hundreds of years ago. Many, many trips are required to carry only enough water to permit a very marginal existence, and to raise a pitifully small amount of food crops.

After suffering under these difficult conditions for so long, well into modern technological times, the tribe finally decided to plead for assistance. They proceeded to send the chief of the tribe to the Bureau of Indian Affairs to solicit help. The Bureau, investigated and analyzed and could find no solution at all to assist the Indians. No solution was found that didn’t require an enormous amount of money, materials and labor, none of which was available.

Whereupon the Bureau put out a request for the country’s BEST engineer. An individual who MUST possess an extremely high intelligence, a penchant for innovation, totally free of any concept constraints. After hundreds and hundreds of engineers from all over the country studied and analyzed the problem, only a single response was received. A little known engineer with an unknown background responded to the Bureau of Indian Affairs that he could, indeed, solve the Indian’s problem for minimal cost, if he had a free hand and no limitations on what process or method he selected. The Bureau agreed and he began work.

He employed the Indians of the tribe to dig a trench directly up the side of the mesa. Using the ancient steps as a starting point. The trench was dug from a point below the river surface at the base of the mesa, to the very top of the mesa. Everyone questioned this, as there was no apparent way to get the water up the trench to the top of the mesa. After the trench was dug, truckload after truckload of pickles arrived at the base of the mesa. The Indians were put to work crushing tons and tons of pickles into a mushy slurry. They then packed the slurry into the trench. Working rapidly they filled the trench from the bottom to the top. Almost like magic, water began moving up the trench. Shortly there was a tremendous cheer of success as water began spilling out the top of the trench and into a puddle on the top of the mesa.

When queried how and why this process worked. The engineer smiled modestly and replied, “Well, everybody knows dill water runs steep”.

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