Damming the river of the arms of God: The people of the Brazos and their unruly river
Archer, Kenna Renee
The Brazos is a river of many faces. Refusing to bend to any single interpretation of itself, the river becomes engorged and then waterless, threatening then motionless, restricted then boundless. More often than not, the river enjoys a gluttonous feast of water or no water at all. Such inconstancy has proven to be a more or less constant annoyance for the people who have lived along the river, envisioned its ideal form, and dealt begrudgingly with its realities. They have constructed locks, levees, channels, dams, and jetties along this river, but only a handful of the projects that they attempted could be viewed as any type of success. The Brazos has resisted the introduction of improvement projects, and white settlers have insisted on a strictly-defined, technologically-based idea of development, evidenced by a near-continual support for projects that ignore the natural limitations of the landscape. The unintended result of this divergence is a continuity in water use that has dramatically shaped the daily lives of the people living along this unruly river.