Phillip B Gottfredson Biography
Indigenous Day Award recipient Phillip B Gottfredson is a published historian & author. Owner, founder, and an old-school web designer, Phillip first launched this website blackhawkproductions.com as The Black Hawk War; Utah's Forgotten Tragedy in 2003. He first created this website to promote his great-grandfather's book Indian Depredations in Utah, which Phillip had just republished in 2002. Over time it evolved and became the premier website devoted entirely to the Black Hawk War in Utah. There was hardly any information about the Utah Black Hawk War on the internet. Then in 2019, he changed the name to Utah Black Hawk War: Timpanogos Nation of the Wasatch in preparation for his new book Black Hawk's Mission of Peace.
Documentary Film Project
In 2005 Mr. Gottfredson was commissioned by the Utah State Division of Indian Affairs to make a documentary film of the Black Hawk War. The project was funded by the Utah State Division of Indian Affairs, the George S. Deloris Dori Eccles Foundation, and private donors.
Filmmakers were Black Hawk Productions, LLC, Ron Hill Imagery, and Turtle Island Productions. Phillip wrote, directed, and produced the film.
"I discontinued production of the film The Black Hawk War; Utah's Forgotten Tragedy. Through my ongoing research of the Black Hawk War, I discovered that there are major contradictions and inaccuracies in Utah's history. This revelation alone completely changed the accuracy of the film project. I had invested over three years in the project and never recieved any compensation. But, had I continued, I would have added to the confusion that already exists in Utah's history, something I was not willing to participate in. I confess, my supporters and I were victims of Mormon's one-sided and often misleading history."
The Timpanogos Nation
"It was serendipitous that in 2015 I met Chief Executive Mary Meyer I will never forget her first words to me, "You got the history right, but you got the wrong Tribe. Have you never heard of the Timpanogos?" It was pivotal because no one, not even the Division of Indian Affairs, whom I worked with for several years on a documentry film project, had told me the Timpanogos and Ute are different tribes. I don't think anyone knew. Or if they did, they weren't saying anything. But, why not? Another one of those questions that keep you up at night. A Shoshoni friend said, "when you think you have it all figured out, you go outside, look up, and get hit with a big blue pancake. That, my brother, is one of those moments when you realize you don't know anything."
"Mary Meyer generously provided definitive proof that the Timpanogos are the living descendants of the 'Royal Bloodline' Chiefs Sanpitch, Wakara, Arapeen, Tabby, Ammon, Sowiette, Grospeen, and Antongua 'Black Hawk' who was the son of Sanpitch. Their lineage is well documented by birth and marriage records, death certificates, Indian Agency records, treaties, and boast of having filed some 13000 pages of historical records with the United States Department of the Interior going back to 1765."
"Mary's help genuinely humbles me, one of the greatest honors in my life to work with Mary Meyer and the Timpanogos Nation. She is a walking encyclopedia when it comes to the history of her Tribe."
"Living with the Shoshoni Nation for over six years previously, in Oregon, taught me a very important lesson. They said, 'we each have two ears and one mouth. So listen twice as much as you talk,' and so I listened."
Phillip has spent his summers living with the Timpanogos Tribe over the past several years while learning firsthand their recollections of the Black Hawk War. Working with Mary Murdock Meyer, Chief Executive of the Timpanogos Nation, Phillip is the first historian to have been given this honor. Phillip was granted access to the Timpanogos Nation's historical records when many remarkable discoveries were made. Not least among them is that the Timpanogos and the Ute are two distinctly different Tribes. The Timpanogos have been marginalized and written out of Utah's history. This set the stage for Phillip to attempt a bold and vital revision of Utah's account of the Black Hawk War. See Timpanogos Ute Oxymoron page for details.
Phillip was invited to participate in numerous sacred ceremonies and received guidence from many tribal elders and leaders. This is aunique distinction among today's historians. Because he is personally involved in Native American culture. He gives an authentic and intimate perspective into the Timpanogos peoples of Utah, who were those most affected by the tragic Black Hawk War. Phillip published his first book Black Hawk's Mission of Peace in 2019, at the age of 75. In collaboration with the Timpanogos Nation, the book is written from the perspective of the Native peoples of Utah. It offers much-needed clarity to Utah's Native American history and sacred life-ways that has been misrepresented and deliberately ignored. It's a beautifully written account of Phillip's extraordinary spiritual journey into the world of the Native American culture.
Phillip writes in his book Black Hawk's Mission of Peace, "What began as a mere curiosity, in 1989 I began to read all the books I could find on the Black Hawk War in Utah. It became clear to me that all accounts were about the Mormon's one-sided perspective. I found that scholars and authors who wrote about the Black Hawk War never asked or cared what the Native Americans they studied had to say about their work. Consequently, virtually every account about Utah's indigenous peoples is biased and based on assumptions, replete with half-truths, ambiguities, platitudes, and omissions. It followed that in 2003 I turned to all First Nations people of Utah to get their side of the story. My journey truly began when I spent the entire week at the Grand Opening of the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC."
Mr. Gottfredson's book took 20 years to research and write was published by Archway Publishing from Simon and Schuster. In less than a year, it became one of Archway's best-sellers.
Black Hawk's Mission of Peace is a companion book to his great-grandfather's book Indian Depredations in Utah written by Peter Gottfredson.
It is interesting to point out that Phillip's great-grandfather Peter Gottfredson was a young man during the Black Hawk War. Being a friend of the Timpanogos, he was invited into the camp of Chief Black Hawk on numerous occasions during the war. He spent much of his time in the camps of the Timpanogos. His great-grandfather also took 20 years to write his first book Indian Depredations In Utah, published in 1919, the same year Black Hawk's Grave was robbed. A hundred years later, and almost to the date, Phillip published his companion book to Peter's in 2019. "Pure coincidence," said Mr. Gottfredson, "but it does cause one to pause," he added.
CONSULTANTS: 2003-2012 Forrest Cuch Utah State Division of Indian Affairs, Historian Will Bagley;
University of Utah Prof. Daniel McCool Ph.D.; University of Utah Prof. Dr. Floyd O'Neil Ph.D.; Historian Robert Carter; Filmmaker Larry
Cesspooch Ute Tribe; Vanita Taveapont Director of Indian
Language Program Ute Tribe; Loya Arrum Ute Tribe, and National
Forest Service Archeologist Charmian Thompson.
DOCUMENTS AND TREATIES: The United States Department of the Interior; Timpanogos Nation; Ute Tribe of the Uinta Ouray Reservation - Uintah Valley Reservation; Commission of Indian Affairs Annual Report 1865, O.H. Irish; Powell; The Bureau of Indian Affairs; The Utah State Government Archives;
University of Utah Special Collections images by written permission; Brigham Young University
Special Collections; Salt Lake City Library; Mt. Pleasant Library; Cedar City Library Special Collections; Private Journals
Mormon Pioneers; Author Norma Vance a direct descendant of David Monsen who was Paiute and the only known survivor of the Circleville Massacre;
INTERVIEWS FROM 1989 TO PRESENT: Personal Interviews of numerous descendants of early Utah Pioneers; oral histories while living with members of various Native American Tribes throughout North and South America; Western Shoshone, Colorado Utes, Grandriver Ute, Uncompahgre Ute, Yampa Ute, Moache Ute, Wiminuche Ute, Ute Mountain Ute, and Navajo Dine'. Additional interviews with Hopi, Zuni, Pueblo, Apache, Shoshone, Arapaho, Lakota, Silets, Makah, Southern Paiute, Northern Paiute, Yrok, Anishinaabe, Cherokee, Choctaw, Inca, and Mayan of San Pedro Guatemala. Living descendants of Timpanogos Chiefs Walkara, Sowiette, Arapeen, Sanpitch, Ammon, Tobia (Tabby), and Grospeen (all brothers), and Black Hawk (son of Sanpitch), Chief Executive Mary Meyer and members of the Timpanogos Nation Uintah Valley Reservation;
Phillip B Gottfrredson wrote:
It has been over two decades now since I began researching the Black Hawk War in Utah. Which has been a labor of love, one I have not regretted. We can learn so much from the Native Americans if we would only listen. I am truly grateful to the Native American people and tribes who took me in and taught me of their life-ways that forever changed my life in a good way. And to all others, historians, donors, and many good friends, who believed in the Black Hawk Project and generously gave me their time, expertise, and support.
There are no known photos of Timpanogos Chief Antonga Black Hawk. After getting permission from the Timpanogos Tribe in 2019, Phillip B Gottfredson commissioned artist Carol Lahoma Pettit Harding of Pleasant Grove to create a forensic reconstruction drawing of Black Hawk's face. It was based on the historical photo of Black Hawk's skull when Goddard robbed his grave. Harding then designed the cover of Gottfredson's book. According to a dream Gottfredson had, she superimposed the drawing over her painting of Mt. Timpanogos.
Taking Carol over two months of intense work to complete, these photos show the development stages from conception to completion. Working from the only historic photograph of Black Hawk's skull, Carol worked from many images of his past and present descendants to ensure accuracy.
Artist Carol Lahoma Pettit Harding
As the artist that created the art for the cover of Phillip B Gottfredson's book Black Hawk's Mission of Peace, I will tell you a few things about my background. My home and studio are located in Pleasant Grove, Utah. Where the noted Battle Creek Massacre was fought.
I have been inspired to create several Native American themes, landscape, portrait, still life, and sculpture throughout my 80-year career.
I met Mr. Gottfredson when he opened a new frame-shop in Provo, Ut. five decades ago. For many years he handcrafted beautiful frames to enhance my art work. When he moved on I didn't hear from him for about 20 years later, when he came to visit. I had tons of questions I wanted to ask him. Then I learned about the fantastic journey he had taken, the book he had researched and was writing.
The history of the great Timpanogos Nation that Phillip shared with me took on a life and spirit of its own. As Phillip spoke of the extraordinary life of Black Hawk, I felt a deep and spiritual calling for me. This great warrior's story overwhelmed me with compassion and understanding as one being lifted up (transformed) for a once-in-a-lifetime assignment.
I felt such a powerful spiritual experience to get involved in this; it completely changed my life. Black Hawk's intense energy stayed with Phillip and me until the book was completed. You may ask, "is his spirit still with us?" Answer: "More than ever."