Utah Black Hawk War
Historian & Author Phillip B Gottfredson
Biography & Source Material
Phillip B Gottfredson Biography
Phillip B Gottfredson, a well-known author and historian who specializes in the Black Hawk War of Utah and the Timpanogos Nation of Utah, spent 20 years carefully researching the fascinating history of the Indigenous peoples of North and South America. He aimed to understand a charismatic Timpanogos leader, Chief Black Hawk, and his peace mission to end 34 tumultuous years, which involved Mormon settlers determined to exterminate his people and Nation.
Phillip clearly shows that living with Native Americans was crucial to truly grasp and empathize with their culture. If one lacks understanding and empathy, they should refrain from writing about what they don't know. With the invaluable guidance and collaboration of tribal leaders, Mr. Gottfredson presents an more authentic and compelling account of the events, providing a unique and powerful perspective from the Native peoples of Utah. The result is a rich and informative work that sheds much-needed light on this essential chapter in the history of Utah and its Indigenous peoples.
Phillip Gottfredson was awarded the Indigenous Day Award for his exceptional contributions to understanding and appreciating Indigenous cultures. He immersed himself in various communities across North and South America, learning their history and traditions and giving him profound insights into the dynamics of settler colonialism. His respect and admiration for indigenous cultures earned him a warm reception from tribal leaders, who invited him to participate in numerous sacred ceremonies. He was asked to teach his people with honesty about the things Indigenous people taught him, regarding their history.
Born 1945, parents Merrill Edward Gottfredson and, Melva Martha Henrie Gottfredson, Phillip is the last of four siblings, and does not belong to any group or organized religion. He is a self proclaimed free-spirit and believes in universal truths such as "Honesty, Love, Courage, Truth, Wisdom, Humility, and Respect."
Phillip describes himself as an old-school website designer. But make no mistake, he is not a novice. Phillip first launched the 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 online. Then, in 2023, he changed the name to The Utah Black Hawk War & Settler Colonialism (1848-70) in preparation for his new book My Journey to Understand Black Hawk's Mission of Peace. Phillip B Gottfredson Published by Archwway Publishing from Simon and Schuster.
Gottfredson and the Timpanogos Nation
"It was serendipitous that in 2015 I met Chief Executive of the Timpanogos Nation Mary Meyer. I was working at the time on a documentary film for the Division of Indian Affairs. I will never forget her first words, "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 the documentry film project, they didn't tell me the Timpanogos and Ute are different tribes. I don't think anyone knew. Or if they did, they weren't saying 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 vital records, birth and 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."
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. 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.
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. For example the Timpanogos and Ute Tribes are two distinctly different Tribes in origin, customs, and bloodlines. This revelation alone completely changed the accuracy of the film project. I had invested over three years in the project and never received 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. My supporters and I were victims of Mormon's one-sided and often misleading history." Please see The Timpanogos-Ute Misidentity for more information.
Phillip B Gottfredson recipient of the prestigious INDIGENOUS DAY AWARD
Phillip received guidance from many tribal elders and leaders throughout North and South America. In 2012 Phillip traveled to San Pedro, Guatemala to learn about the Maya's historical connection to North American Tribes. 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 wrote, "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."
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: 2003-2023 Historian Will Bagley;
University of Utah Prof. Daniel McCool Ph.D.; University of Utah Prof. Dr. Floyd O'Neil Ph.D.; Historian Robert Carter; Mary Murdock Meyer Chief Executive of the Timpanogos Nation; National
Forest Service Archeologist Charmian Thompson; Vanita Taveapont Director of Indian
Language Program Ute Tribe; Loya Arrum Ute Tribe, Shane Armstrong, Forrest Cuch Utah State Division of Indian Affairs, Filmmaker Larry
Cesspooch Ute Tribe;
RESOURCES: The United States Department of the Interior; Timpanogos Nation; 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; Timpanogos Nation Uintah Valley Reservation; Navajo Nation; Northern Shoshone Nation; Private Journals
Mormon Pioneers; Marva Loy Egget Spring Lake, Utah; Author Norma Vance a direct descendant of David Monsen Paiute and the only known survivor of the Circleville Massacre; Ute Tribe of the Uinta Ouray Reservation - Uintah Valley Reservation;
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 Wakara, Sowiette, Arapeen, Sanpitch, Ammon, Tabby, and Grospeen (all brothers), and Black Hawk (son of Sanpitch), Chief Executive Mary Murdock Meyer and members of the Timpanogos Nation Uintah Valley Reservation;
RESEARCH MATERIAL: Indian Depredations in Utah by Peter Gottfredson; Utah’s Black Hawk War John Alton Peterson; American Indian Prophecies Kurt Kaltreider, PhD.; A History of Utah’s American Indians Edited by Forest Cuch; Massacre at Mountain Meadows by Will Bagley; Book Of The Hopi by Frank Waters; Crazy Horse by Mari Sandoz; Writings of John D. Lee by Samuel Nyal Henrie; Life Among The Apaches by John C. Cremony 1850; For America To Live Europe Must Die - by Russell Means; Black Elk Speaks by John Neihardt; The Sacred Pipe by Joseph Epes Brown; The Paiutes of Pyramid Lake by Ruth Herman; Wisdom of the Elders by David Suzuki; I Will Fight No More Forever Chief Joseph; The Utes Must Go by Peter R. Decker; Red Twilight by Val FitzPatrick; 1491 Charles C. Mann, Pagans in the Promised Land by Steven Newcomb; Guns Germs Steel by Jared Diamond; Jacob Hamblin His Life in His Own Words; Massacre at Bear River by Rod Miller; Lore and Reminiscences of Participants, Carlton Culmsee; Schoolcraft; Bancroft; Founding of Fort Utah by Robert Carter; Shoshoni Frontier Bear River by Brigham Madsen; Thunder Over the OCHOCO by Gayle ONTKO (5 vol. set); So Rugged and Mountainous by Will Bagley; The Shoshonis Sentinels of the Rockies Virginia Cole Trenholm and Maurine Carley; The Book of Destiny Carlos Barrios; Walkara Hawk of the Mountains Paul Baily; Of Worthier Blood by Parker M. Nielson; Rolling Thunder by Doug Boyd; Paul Baily Claws of the Hawk; Sacred Objects and Sacred Places by Andrew Gulliford; History of Salt Lake City. Tullidge's Histories, vol 1; Juan Rivera's Colorado, 1765 by author Steven G. Baker; Dominguez Escalante Journal: Their Expedition Through Colorado Utah Arizona and New Mexico in 1776 by Ted J. Warner; Standing Rock by Pamela Eakins; American Indian Myths and Legends by Erdoes and Ortez; The Storytelling Stone by Susan Feldmann; History of Payson by Norma Vance; The Dominguez - Escalante Journal Fray Angelico translation; Chief Pocatello "The White Plume" by Brigham D. Madsen; Empire of the Summer Moon by S. C. Gwynne;
The above books are available for purchase in P.B. Gottfredson's - BookStore