Black Hawk War Project


Phillip B Gottfredson | Author, "Black Hawk's Mission of Peace."

Our goal, the Black Hawk War Project, is to reveal the true story of the Black Hawk War in Utah. Furthermore, to honor the Timpanogos Nation who morn the past in silence. Because they have been written out of history, ignoring this historical tragedy is disrespectful and bigoted toward those whose ancestors died defending their rights and their many living descendants who have never understood why. To say, "that is all in the past, and we should just forget about it" is to say that the lives of our ancestors are unimportant and have no relevance to anyone. This attitude toward indigenous people causes anger, hate, discrimination, and hence racism. In contrast, explanations empower us with the tools to bring about change toward a more humane and compassionate society.

In time, what began as a mere curiosity in 1989, evolved into a full-time passion for exploring every facet of the Black Hawk War. One of the most challenging questions was why the Shoshoni Timpanogos Nation had been written out of history and misidentified as Ute? After years of exhaustive research, documents emerged that Mormon church leader Brigham Young and the Twelve Apostles' quorum in 1850 ordered the "extermination" of the Timpanogos Nation. That was the moment when everything began to fall into place.

Phillip B Gottfredson's research skills come from thirty years of experience as a Conservator of Fine Art. A Conservator is one whose profession is preserving art and historical objects for museums, art collectors, and archives. Art Appraisers will also seek the expertise of a Conservator to authenticate and evaluate the integrity and physical condition of art and historical objects based upon a vast knowledge of artists' materials, technics, and documentation. Investigative skills are essential to any research project to determine the best method of preservation.

"I recall the times when oil paintings would come into our lab, and we may discover that the artist's signature was a forgery, or portions of the painting had been painted over for what-ever-reason to conceal the artist's original painting," said Phillip. "A significant portion of Utah's history of Black Hawk War is like those paintings; there were times when the history did not appear to be authentic. So it required research and consulting with professional historians, archivists, and archeologists to reveal the truth.

Phillip B Gottfredson has spent decades living among First Nation people seeking to understand Native American culture and traditions. He then applied that knowledge in his research of Utah's Black Hawk War. "It did not take long before I could see that Utah's history of the war is from the Mormon's one-sided perspective and that writers completely ignored any indigenous version," said Gottfredson. "For example, historians and writers have never asked the Timpanogos Tribe of Utah if they have a different version of those difficult times." Moreover, this was the moment when Gottfredson decided to devote all of his resources time to what he called "The Black Hawk War Project." "It has always been a labor of love," Philip explained. "But, it was never about me. Furthermore, I have never regretted the countless hours spanning over two decades investigating Utah's Black Hawk War from the perspective of the indigenous peoples of Utah."

See: Truth In Education




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