State of Arizona honors ‘The Island’ with proclamation
100th anniversary of the island
YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) – Some call it the island, the Gila bend, the Yuma island or the no man’s land.
It’s only about three miles east of the Yuma Crossing Area.
On Monday at the Arizona State Capitol, the pioneering families of Gila Valley received a legislative proclamation marking The Island’s 100th anniversary.
On June 8, 1920, floods from the Colorado River swept the Gila Valley, suddenly isolating the land.
As a result, the Gila Valley formed its own 4,000 hectare island.
After the floods washed away, a wave of fighting erupted for the African American farmers and families who originally occupied the land.
The federal government provided some local farmers with seven barrels of black powder that were used to blow up the entrance to a river ox bow developed for 70 years.
The small farms of nine African American families eventually became what we know as the island.
The island was removed from the Yuma Reclamation Project in 1904, forcing island builders to build their own irrigation and infrastructure without government assistance.
Representatives Tim Dunn and Joanne Osborne invited Members of the Arizona House to recognize the hard work of the Minority Pioneers group
In 2020, six generations will descend from these pioneering families.
They continue to tell their families’ stories of how they got to Yuma by car and train 100 years ago.