In Traders and Raiders: The Indigenous World of the Colorado Basin, 1540-1859
(UNC Press, 2014) Assistant Professor of History at Whittier College Natale Zappia
provides an in-depth look into the "interior world" of the Lower Colorado River. Tracking the people, networks, economies, and social relations of an expansive indigenous world that includes parts of the modern-day states of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, California, Baja California, and Sonora, Mexico, Dr. Zappia narrates the history of the region through an examination of its diverse ecology and multiethnic political economy. Breaking from the Eurocentric narrative tropes of "discovery," "conquest," and "frontier," Zappia's interior world is a fluid borderland where the practices of trading and raiding are central in linking indigenous, Spanish, Mexican, and American people, ideas, and commodities into fragile interdependent networks emanating from indigenous trade centers and roadways along the Colorado and Gila Rivers. Traversing the pre-Columbian, Spanish, Mexican, and American eras, Traders and Raiders challenges us to consider anew the ecology, people, and developments that have shaped the region to the present-day.