Uintah Dream

The Ute Treaty—Spanish Fork, 1865

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When pioneers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came to Utah, relations between the Mormons and the Native Americans were inevitable. Brigham Young acted as Indian superintendent from 1850 to 1857 and created “Indian Farms,” including a particularly important farm in Spanish Fork, Utah. When the U.S. government took over Indian relations, a Ute Treaty was created in 1865, and the Native American chiefs of the area (including Kanosh, San Pitch, and Sow-e-ett) signed over tribal lands for a reservation and security in the Uintah Valley. Brigham Young, who had earned trust with the chiefs, encouraged the Indians to sign the treaty, saying that if they did not sell their land the government would take it away anyway. Some of the incentives for signing the treaty included “presents” of clothing and blankets. However, the treaty was rejected in Washington, and by 1871 the Utes lost faith in Washington and its promises. Gustive O. Larson chronicles the events leading up to, during, and following the signing of the treaty.

 

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