Ute Indian Powwow 2009 (Picture taken by permission)
1849 - 1873
continued from page 3
1866 June 18th, Chief Sanpitch was taken captive and brutally murdered. Having a bounty on his head Dolf Bennet slit his throat during a botched plan of Brigham Young's to lure Black Hawk into a trap. The death of Sanpitch (Black Hawk’s father) was again very devastating to Black Hawk and his family. The old Chief Sanpitch long been one of the leaders of the Timpanogos and was highly respected by all. The news sent a shock wave throughout Timpanogos territory. (See Timpanogos Tribe)
Sanpitch had, just the year before, signed a peace treaty with Brigham Young present. Tabby and old Sowiette were so enraged they immediately prepared to take revenge on the Mormons. They were making preparations to join Black Hawk, and were it not for Black Hawk's plea to stop the bloodshed, Tabby would have done so. (Please see Death of Sanpitch)
On June 20th, 1866, Black Hawk (Black Hawk) was shot in battle
while attempting to rescue a fallen warrior. To make matters worse,
The wound never healed properly which eventually led to his death in 1973. (Please see Battle at Gravely Ford)
On June 26th, 1866, Mountain, was
wounded in battle at Diamond Fork above Spanish Fork. Mountain and
his warriors had taken some 30 head of cattle from Mapleton, but
were caught. The battle resulted in six deaths—two whites and four
Timpanogos. This battle was a significant win for the Mormons, as it was
the first time they had prevailed and recovered much of their
cattle. According to a Springville account, Black Hawk was shot by
Col. Creer with a long rifle at 800 yards. But, Black Hawk wasn't
even there. He was near Ephraim ailing from his wound he recieved at Gravely Ford. (See Diamond Battle)
In the spring of 1867 at Heber City, Tabby's son was captured after
butchering a cow. He expected to be killed, but Bishop Murdock told
him he would be released if he would carry a personal message to
Chief Tabby requesting a meeting to negotiate an end to the long and
needless war. After Tabby received Joseph’s message, a
government Indian agent tried to meet with Tabby, but Tabby said he
would only talk with “Old Murdock!"
1867 Aug 12th: Several accounts explain that while near
the Uinta reservation, Black Hawk and his warriors, in a prearranged
meeting, met with Indian Superintendent Franklin Head. The Indian
people, it appears, had respect for Franklin. It is said that Black
Hawk told Franklin that he and his warriors were tired of fighting
and wanted peace.
Black Hawk, with his massive army, could have caused far more
depredations to the “saints”, and certainly had just cause. But in a
surprising change of tactics he elected to give up his campaign of
vengeance to take a more altruistic course. At that point, all hopes
of their ever being free or holding onto their land was gone. And
Black Hawk, knew that the Transcontinental Railroad would soon be
completed, meaning an even greater influx of Anglos into Utah.
1867 August 19th: Hundreds of Northern Timpanogos people
accompanied Tabby to Heber City. They
went directly to Tabby's old friend Joseph Murdock’s home at 115
East 300 North where they camped in his yard and pasture. The
following day, four of Murdock’s five wives who were living in Heber
City, and the townsfolk prepared a feast on a lot owned by John
Carroll, across the street from the Murdock home. A large pit was
dug to roast enough beef to feed everyone. Each woman had been asked
to bake a dozen loaves of bread. Rows of tables were loaded with
corn and whatever the townsfolk could find in their pantries and
larders to feed their guests.
The feasting and talk lasted all day. Murdock and Tabby exchanged a
few simple gifts. The leaders then went across the street to an
upstairs room in Murdock’s home where a peace pipe was smoked and a
treaty of friendship was signed. Tabby signed his name and the
six war leaders made their marks.
This peace agreement ended the fighting between the settlers in
Heber Valley and the Timpanogos people. It was one of the first
agreements in a series of peace pacts made between Mormon settlers
and Timpanogos leaders that led to the eventual end of the Black Hawk War.
Tabby was the youngest of what Brigham Young called the "royal line" of brothers. He was the last of his brothers to die in 1902 in the Rock Creek area of what is now Tabiona on the Uinta Valley Reservation, Utah. He sat in on all Council meetings during the Black Hawk War making critical decissions. He was signor of three treaties, the Goship Treaty of Peace, the 1865 Spanish Fork Treaty, the 1867 Heber Treaty of Peace.
Black Hawk performed many heroic acts of courage
and bravery, and it is a matter of record that he sought sacred
guidance in all his decisions. I firmly believe that, were it not
for the inspired leadership of this man, many more lives would have
been lost in the Black Hawk War in Utah.
The news of Black Hawk's tactical maneuver spread quickly. Brigham
Young grasped the moment, and took credit for having reconciled the
war through vigilance and kindness, underscoring that his policy “to feed them and not fight them had paid off. The Rocky Mountain News quoted Brigham Young's
boasting, "If you want to get rid of the Indians try and civilize
them," a statement that speaks to Brigham's “two hearts.”
In a letter written by William Probert to my g-grandfather
Peter Gottfredson, he makes reference to Black Hawk's "Mission of
Peace." In spite of the tremendous personal misery that Black Hawk
endured throughout his life from the time he was a child, in the
remaining weeks before his death he is described as physically
distraught, gaunt, hollow-eyed, skeleton-like; yet he elected to
travel by horseback nearly two hundred miles from Cedar City to
Springville, Utah. Black Hawk was under heavy guard, and accompanied
by his devoted warriors Mountain and Joe, Along the way they
stopped at every Mormon settlement and with dignity Black Hawk reminded
the settlers they had broken their promises, stolen his people’s
land and brought disease. Yet, he asked the Saints to forgive him
and his people for the sufferings they had caused them, and
admonished them to do the same and end the bloodshed. He was well
received, and left a lasting impression on the Saints, albeit some
took his "Mission of Peace" as a surrender. If he surrendered it was
to save the few remaining lives of his people. Black Hawk returned
to his place of birth at Spring Lake, and there he died. With honors
he was buried high up on the mountainside.
1871: U.S. federal troops stepped in and 1500 Timpanogos Indians were
driven from their homes in the shining mountains and valleys of Utah at gunpoint, and left to fend for themselves in
one of the most desolate regions of Utah. Again, many died from
hunger, hopelessness and despair as a result. Carlton Culmsee,
writer for the Deseret News observed that Indians on the
Uinta reservation, set aside by Abraham Lincoln in 1861, were
distraught and were, as he said: "So many kegs of powder, sullen,
and silent potentials for violence...believing that the government
had not kept their promises of schools, houses, mills, aids for
farming," since the federal government was ignoring the Utah
Indians’ demand that promises be kept. White employees on the
reservation, sent to keep watch over the now-segregated Indian
people (at gun point), also were neglected as food and supplies were
often scant. However, as government officials responded, their needs
were satisfied by taking from the Indians what meager food supplies
they had for themselves. As anger was fueled, the disgruntled Indian
people were appeased by token amounts of food and trinkets
distributed among them by reservation employees. "And the Mormons
were, of course, not blameless," Culmsee points out, "while
those 'saints' who disregarded Brigham Young's admonition to deal
fairly with the Indian people, these men offset in considerable
measure what Brigham Young's wisdom accomplished, and caused some
reservation Indians to distrust the Mormons." But even Brigham
had to admit, regarding his own people, that the “Architects of Zion” had to “work
with such material as the Lord has provided, stupidity, wooden
shoes, and cork brains thrown into the bargain.”
The Legacy of the Black Hawk War --
"That's all in the past, we should just forget about it! The LDS
Church has done more for the Indians than any other church on the
face of the earth. They (Indians) are the chosen people."
Arrogance didn't end with the war. Imagine, if you will, having the
corpse of your father disrespectfully unearthed by grave robbers;
then, for some strange reason, put on public display in the church
museum on Temple Square as a curiosity. The remains of Brigham Young
are buried in consecrated ground. Black Hawk's remains were
unearthed by Mormon looters in 1919, just 49 years following his
death. And, for weeks, were placed in the window of a co-op store in
downtown Spanish Fork; afterwards they were taken to the LDS church
museum on Temple Square in Salt Lake City. Was the reason simply
amusement for others? Was grave robbing for art, pleasure,
punishment, a morbid fascination of death, divine obligation, or,
most importantly, the wielding of power?
Oh yes, I vividly recall seeing the display in the museum as a boy,
as do countless others, and no doubt some reading this remember as
well. For the skeletal remains of Black Hawk remained there for nearly 70
years, and all the while his living descendents bore the agony, and
humiliation—unable to convince the church to give up the remains of
their beloved grandfather. Once again I echo the words of Brigham
Young in a speech delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City,
April 6, 1854: "If the inhabitants of this territory, my
brethren, had never condescended to reduce themselves to the
practices of the Indians, to their low, degraded condition, and in
some cases even lower, there never would have been any trouble
between us and our red neighbors. Treat them kindly, and treat them
as Indians, and not as your equals."
"Bones of Black Hawk on Exhibition L.D.S. Museum"
Did the Black Hawk war begin in 1865 as scholars say? Was it over in 1870? The Mormons got their "promised land" and the Transcontinental Railroad had come to Salt Lake. Black Hawk died in 1870. Ninety percent of the Indian population had died since the Mormons arrived in 1847. Fifteen hundred Timpanogos were forced to walk a hundred miles to Fort Duchesne, the reservation in the Uintah Basin, where they were abandoned, and 500 more died from starvation in the first year. Chief Walkara said, "and the graves of their fathers have been torn up by the whites." That was in 1853. What happened next boggles the mind.
On September 20, 1919, an article appeared on the front page of the Deseret News with the headline, "Bones of Black Hawk on Exhibition L.D.S. Museum." Within the article, the writer explains that first, the remains of Black Hawk had been on public display in the window of a hardware store in downtown Spanish Fork, Utah. Then Benjamin Guarded, the man in charge of the L.D.S. Museum, acquired the remains for public display on Temple Square. For decades, the remains of Black Hawk, and those of an Indian woman and a child, were on display in the church museum on Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City.
They say there are no known photos of Black Hawk, there's one. and it appeared on the front page of the Deseret News Paper. Just 49 years had passed since Black Hawk had been laid to rest in 1870 at Spring Lake, Utah, when members of the LDS Church plotted the robbery of his grave. Accompanying the article is a photo of William E. Croff standing in the open grave, grinning ear to ear, while holding the skull of Black Hawk (Black Hawk). While the living descendants of Black Hawk were outraged, their voices fell on deaf ears. Seemingly without conscience or remorse and church leaders made no apologies, in spite of a federal law passed in 1906 called the Graves Protection Act. Descendents of Black Hawk had no real legal recourse until the enactment of the National American Graves Protection Reparation Act, or NAGPRA, passed in 1994.
"To Whom It May Concern: At my leisure moments I would hunt for the spot where "Black Hawk" was buried and one day one of the miners, William E. Croft reported what he supposed to be "Black Hawk's" grave. This started an investigation and Mr. Croft along with Lars L. Olsen and myself uncovered the remains of "Black Hawk," which were buried in a large quartzite slide. The first article we saw was a china pipe, which, was laying upon the top of his head. Then we discovered the saddle, the remains of the skeleton, portion's of his horses bridle that had been buried with him; sleigh bells, ax, bucket, beads, part of an old soldier coat with the brass buttons still intact. All of these were removed very carefully, and for safety deposited them with the Spanish Fork Co-op where they were exhibited for several days. Subsequently at the suggestion of Commander J. M. Westwood I secured these remains and conveyed them to the L.D.S. Church Museum on temple block, suggesting that they should be placed on exhibition there and preserved. – Ben H. Bullock." ( See Deseret Evening News Paper 1919)
Black Hawk was again reburied in the year 1996. This raises the question why? Why would a Christian religious institution and its leaders have no compassion or respect for the living descendants of Chief Black Hawk even as some were and are members of the LDS church?
It took an act of Congress, the help of National Forest Service archeologist Charmain Thompson, and the humanitarian efforts of a boy scout Shane Armstrong to find and rebury the remains of Black Hawk at Spring Lake, the place of his birth. Shane Armstrong, he told me in an interview he felt it in his heart he should find Black Hawk's remains, at the age of 14. Inspired at the age of 14, Shane on his own makes contact with Thompson. Together they locate the lost remains of Black Hawk (Black Hawk) in a basement storage room, in a box, on Brigham Young University campus.
Burial arrangements, coffin, and headstone were donated by citizens of Spring Lake, many who's ancestors fought against Black Hawk during the war. Ironically the grave site is on property owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (See also Source Material)
Burial Site of Black Hawk (Black Hawk) Spring Lake, Utah
In the year Black Hawk's remains were dug up by Bishop Ben Bullock
and Lars Croft, Heber J. Grant was president of the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints, followed by George Albert Smith
(1945-1951); David O. McKay (1951-1970); Joseph Fielding Smith
(1970-1972); Harold B. Lee (1972-1973); Spencer W. Kimball
(1973-1985); and Ezra Taft Benson (1985-1994). These prophets have
administered the affairs of the church from church headquarters in
Salt Lake City. These men presided over "God’s church" as the
"mouthpiece of God," but, for some reason, never had enough respect
or compassion toward their fellow man to give up their claim to the
bones of Black Hawk, or even consider his living descendants. Even
to this day, the burial site of Black Hawk is owned by the LDS Church.
The tradition of exhibiting native Indian remains in western
societies has existed since the earliest encounters between
Europeans and indigenous populations. Exhibiting non-white bodies as
a popular practice reached its peak in the nineteenth century in
both Europe and the USA. The exhibition of native people for public
entertainment in circuses, zoos, and museums became fairly common.
In the USA, in particular, the spectacle of "freaks," "natives,"
and "savages" became a profitable industry at this time, as in
popular traveling shows like Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show and
Barnum and Bailey's Circus. World Expositions were also popular for
the display of native bodies. Dissected and embalmed remains of
native bodies, particularly the skulls and sexual organs, were
also publicly exhibited.
The days of the mountain men, the early rancher, the cattle kings,
and the homesteaders have passed, and now the lowly sheep is king.
But time may change it all, and who knows but what in some distant
future the Timpanogos may again roam and hunt in the hallowed hills of
their forebears, silent and wrapped in the mystic haze of Indian
summer." - Val Fitzpatrick