One might expect that a book focused on a dam's foundations, as indicated by its title, would be about engineering, geology, or even the legislative history of the structure's creation. Not so in Erika Marie Bsumek's history concerning the 710-foot-tall dam completed in 1966 as part of the Colorado River Storage Project. Instead, The Foundations of Glen Canyon Dam probes deeper to examine the layered history of the land on which the barrier rests and which its reservoir, Lake Powell, touches and drowns.

Reaching back to 1840, the infrastructures that Bsumek describes as leading to dispossession are both social and physical. She focuses on the multiple conceptual layers overlain on Indigenous lands and peoples resulting in their losing possession of and access to homelands and sacred sites. As such, this book is a bridge between canonical texts on western water history and recently written studies of Native American dispossession. Bsumek...

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