Revised July, 2015

Timpanogos Chief Tabby

Timpanogos Chief Tabby circa 1789-1898


The Black Hawk War: Utah's Forgotten Tragedy

A History of the Timpanogos Indians of Utah

by Phillip B Gottfredson

History of the Utah Black Hawk War is confusing, whether the Indian Tribes involved were Ute Indians or Timpanogos, as historians mistakenly identify the Timpanogos Indians as Ute. The definitive answer is Timpanogos leaders Walkara, Sowiette, Arropean, Sanpitch, Ammon, Tobia (Tabby), and Grospeen were brothers, Black Hawk being the son of Sanpitch. The seven brothers are direct descendents of the Snake-Shoshone peoples and are not Ute nor what some incorrectly say,  "Timpanogos Ute." The Timpanogos, a distinct individual Tribe in language and traditions, ruled the entire Wasatch front of Utah. Timpanogos Tribal leaders were the grandsons of "Turunianchi The Great" whom Spanish Explorers Dominguez and Escalante encountered in 1776, referred to as "the privileged blood which in chieftainship ruled every Yuta (Ute) clan and village in the Wasatch." A deeply spiritual and kind people, the Timpanogos Tribe soon regretted they had extended their hospitality to Brigham Young and the Mormons in 1847. The Mormon's Black Hawk War that followed would destroy the entire Timpanogos nation and culture, they were subjected to every inconceivable deceit, torture, mass butchery, rape, and death, death to others, and death to animals and plants, to the waters and the land; men, women, and children were left to wonder in a land they believed belonged to them for eternity, a people who in their final agony cried out "we are human too." ( See detailed history of the Timpanogos Tribe )

In 1847 Ute Indians occupied Colorado comprised of seven bands the Uinta, Yampah, Grandriver, Tabeguache, Muache, Kapote, and Weminuche. It was not until 1879, more than a decade after the Black Hawk War had ended, when the Colorado Utes killed an unprincipled Indian agent Nathan Meeker which motivated U.S. Congress to impose upon the Ute Indian peoples the Relocation Act of 1880. And of course Ute land was rich with gold, so the Colorado Utes were forced to relocate from Colorado to Utah giving up their land and riches which was ceded to the Government without compensation; they were forced into cohabitation with the Timpanogos on the Uinta Reservation on aboriginal land belonging to the Timpanogos Tribe. According to Robert L. Bennett on May 20, 1954, "in 1911 a judgment was awarded to the Umcompahgre Bands (Ute) for some of the money which the Government had received for the sale of their lands in Colorado."

Over the past decade I have felt it a great honor and privilege to learn firsthand and write about Native American Indian peoples of Utah the Snake-Shoshoni Timpanogos, Paiute, Goshute, Pahvant, also Colorado Utes; all have shared with me their version and interpretation of the Utah Black Hawk War. Don't think this to be a small matter reader. "No one has ever asked us," was their reply when I inquired "why have you never told your side of the story?"

Being a great-grandson of Peter Gottfredson, author of the book Indian Depredations in Utah, I respectfully honor the friendship that he had with the Timpanogos during the Black Hawk War. Phillip B Gottfredson Black Hawk War UtahFollowing in his footsteps, I have been deeply influenced by Peter's work. Though I am not spokesman for Native American Indians, any group or organization, nonetheless, I am outraged by the huge disconnect between Native Utah Indians and non-Indians, and of the injustices and discrimination Native Indian peoples in Utah have endured and continue to endure at the hands of it's dominate culture, the Mormons. Deliberately ignoring the genocide of a people and culture, their true history, the lack of transparency, and the thousands of Indian lives that were lost in the Black Hawk War leaving behind a legacy of mistrust, resentment, confusion, and despair. Shamefully never having the courage or humility to say 'we're sorry for what happened.' And this is what you learn living among Native Indian peoples, the Black Hawk War is just a tiny glimpse of a score of unimaginable human injustices Utah Indian peoples have experienced. The war only ended for the dead. (See Legacy Of The Black Hawk War)

Church Scholars and writers have published one-sided accounts of the Black Hawk war for over a century and half. What they wrote of the Native Indian peoples specifically is often scant, brief, and disingenuous. They did not ask or care what the Indians they studied had to say about their work, nor did they ask how they would analyze, interpret, or if they had their own version of the particular story they were writing about. It begs the question just how reliable are these accounts when they are filled with omissions, ambiguities, and half-truths? And worse these accounts end up in our schools and libraries and are passed on down from one generation to the next. And I will admit even I have at times been led astray by these dubious records. The time has come when the Native peoples of Utah need to tell their story, and demand it be told accurately. "Until the lion tells it's story, the glory will always go to the hunter."

Ignoring Utah's Native people's side of the story is to falsify history. And that's exactly what happened. The truth regarding the history of the Black Hawk War has since been cloaked in brilliantly managed rhetoric to exonerate the victors and discredit the Native people in every conceivable way. Decades of Utah's true Indian history has been ignored and left out of school curricula.

Documentation such as exploration journals, treaties, census records, Church and State Archives, Tribal and US Government records and etc. are clear that the Shoshoni Timpanogos Indian Tribe was the dominate tribe that for centuries ruled over the Wasatch. The Shoshone Peoples were first called the Chickimec (the Dog People) then there was three divisions, the Chickimec became the Nokoni, the Aztec, and Hopi (Moki). The Nokoni became the Shoshoni Nation which split into five bands, the Snake, Bannock, Ute, Comanche and Paiute. According to The Dominguez Escalante Journal: Their Expedition Through Colorado Utah Arizona and New Mexico in 1776 , Escalante describes having come in contact with a Native peoples who called themselves "Timpanogostzis" whose leader was Turunianchi, who occupied what is now known as Utah. Dominguez named Mt. Timpanogos, Timpanogos River (Provo River), Timpanogos Lake (Great Salt Lake) and Timpanogos valley (Utah Valley) in honor of these people, an honor that remains to this day. So it follows when the Mormon pioneers led by Brigham Young arrived in Utah territory in 1847, the Native peoples they first encountered were the Snake-Shoshoni Timpanogos Indian Tribe led by the seven grandsons of Turunianchi Tabby, Wakara, Arropeen, Sanpitch, Grospean, Amman, and Sowiette. Sanpitch is believed to be the father of Black Hawk. (See Black Hawk War Facts)

Living descendants of the seven brothers have meticulously recorded their linage and history and presented me with a stack of documents proving their lineage. Today about 3500 Colorado Utes and about 900 Timpanogos occupy land known as the Uinta Valley Reservation, a five million acre reservation that was set aside by President Abraham Lincoln in 1861. By executive order President Lincoln established "the Valley of the Uinta River in the Territory of Utah, extending on both sides of the River to the crest of the first contiguous mountains on each side as Indian Reservation," a huge reservation that the Colorado 10th District Court ruled in a recent case (2015), UTE INDIAN TRIBE OF THE UINTA OURAY RESERVATION vs STATE OF UTAH... "remains intact." The 10th District Court also ruled that the Uinta Reservation is a Sovereign Nation that the State of Utah has no legal jurisdiction over what-so-ever.

Congress in 1864 authorized Treaty Negotiations for the Indians of Utah Territory, and on June 8, 1865 the Spanish Fork Treaty was negotiated with the Timpanogos Tribe. However, the treaty would fail ratification as it bore the signature of Brigham Young, thus leaving intact the Uinta Valley Reservation, land belonging to the Timpanogos. Congress declared "rather than associate with Brigham Young on such an occasion, they would have the negotiations fail; they would rather the Indians, than the Mormons, would have the land." The significance of this treaty is that it names the Timpanogos Tribe and not the Ute Indians. - Commission of Indian Affairs Annual Report 1865, O.H. Irish (Source: Department of the Interior)

Dr. Daniel McCool"We took from them almost all their land—the reservations are just a tiny remnant of traditional tribal homelands. We tried to take from them their hunting rights, their fishing rights, the timber on their land. We tried to take from them their water rights. We tried to take from them their culture, their religion, their identity, and perhaps most importantly, we tried to take from them their freedom. And what is so amazing about this whole story is that we failed. We failed after hundreds of years of trying to take everything from American Indians. We failed to do that. They're still here and there's survival; that great saga of survival is one of the great stories of all mankind." - Dr. Daniel McCool University of Utah

The Black Hawk War

Regarding the Black Hawk War in Utah specifically, it was not a single event. There are some 150 bloody confrontations on record between the Mormons, U.S. Government and the Timpanogos Indian Nation between the years 1849-70. It was the frontier at it's very worst. (See Black Hawk War Time line)


"Treat them kindly, and treat them as Indians, and not as your equals."

"'s very difficult to deal with what is truly a series of small atrocities. A border war. A war between neighbors and people who'd lived with each other and knew each other very well. A war between young men who'd grown up with a lot of Indian friends or a lot of Mormon friends, and that's what makes this history so painful that's why the Black Hawk war is so difficult for both Indians and Mormons to remember." - Historian Will Bagley

Black Hawk ProductionsMormon leader Brigham Young famously said "It's CHEAPER to feed them than to fight them." He also told the Denver Rocky Mountain News paper "you can get rid of more Indians with a sack of flour than a keg of powder." He repeatedly admonished his followers to "Treat them kindly, and treat them as Indians, and not as your equals." Records from the Black Hawk War show Brigham spent over a million and half dollars of church funds equipping his private malitia with 'guns and powder' to rid the land of Native peoples. (See Brigham Young Discourses)

The facts are clear that untold thousands of Native Indian peoples of Utah died from starvation and disease as Mormon settlers forced them to give up their prime hunting grounds and ancestral Land.

"Now, Brigham Young officially proclaimed a policy of helping the Indians. But at the same time the Mormons are aggressively seizing every water hole, using up the game and the timber resources." - Historian Will Bagley

Scholars agree that Native population was between 50,000 or 70,000 when the settlers arrived in 1847. Following the Black Hawk War in Utah, United States government census of 1909 revealed just 2300 Natives remained alive after they were forced onto reservations where 500 more died in the first year from starvation, because food supplies Brigham promised them - never arrived.

"the punishment was to make them "loathsome" unto God's people who had white skins."

How much Brigham Young spent on 'flour' for Indians is anyone's guess, but the costs of doing war is clearly spelled out in a 250 page document titled "Memorial of the Legislative Assembly of Utah" which was prepared by the Legislature of Utah in 1873 and sent to the United States Congress. It is a bill which Congress awarded reimbursement of one and a half million dollars for expenses incurred by Brigham Young's private militia, the Nauvoo Legion, for removal of the Indian population in Utah territory between the years 1865 and 1873.

Complicating matters more, the Mormon church believed they had a divine obligation to convert Utah's ShivwitsAmerican Indians to Mormonism, according to church doctrine, and in so doing the so-called "loathsome" Indians would become a "white  and delightsome people" and would be forgiven of the sins of their forefathers.  (Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 5:21-23) According to church doctrine, the nature of the dark skin was a curse, the cause was the Lord, the reason was because the Lamanites (Indians) "had hardened their hearts against him, (God)" and the punishment was to make them "loathsome" unto God's people who had white skins.

Meanwhile, during the 1850-60's when the Timpanogos refused to assimilate into Mormon culture, the Mormons’ response was to 'get rid' of them. What choice were the Native peoples of Utah given when confronted with a Book of Mormon in one hand, and a gun in the other? (See Doctrine of Discovery)

The Black Hawk War began in earnest on February 28, 1849 with the first of six massacres, at Battle Creek in the foothills above Pleasant Grove, Utah. In the crisp morning air, on that cold February morning, shots echoed off the canyon walls. There lingered a thick gray cloud of gun powder; the frozen snow was now crimson red with fresh innocent Native blood. This day would mark the beginning of a 21 year battle with Mormons, the US Government, and the Timpanogos Indian Nation. (See How The Black Hawk War Began)

A company of 35 Mormon militia, under the leadership of Captain John Scott, left Salt Lake City in pursuit of a so called “renegade band of Indians” who were falsely accused of taking horses belonging to Mormon leader Brigham Young.

Lt. Colonel John Scott Black Hawk ProductionsAccording to reliable accounts, Brigham gave the order for Capt. Scott "to take such measures as would put a final end to their depredations in future." But, before morning they received orders from Salt Lake City stating that "the horses were not stolen..." Three times the company had received word the Indian's had not stolen Brigham Young's horses, they had only been moved to a different location to pasture. Still, not one of the thirty-five men turned back. (Stout Diary)

Scott, under orders from Brigham Young, he and his men met up with a Shoshoni Indian they referred to as Little Chief on the Provo River. Little Chief regretfully led Scott to an encampment of Timpanogos Indians who allegedly had been doing some stealing. Though it seems unlikely Little Chief would have betrayed his people in this way, more likely threatened, he gave in. The trail took the company of soldiers to the mouth of a canyon above Pleasant Grove. Scott and his men split into four groups and surrounded the camp, and opened fire on the unsuspecting people sleeping there in their teepees.

It is said that the "battle" continued for a couple hours, perhaps, highly unlikely since most took shelter and were trapped in a nearby ravine, standing in freezing water, and they had only one gun, while the surrounding army pelted their victims with rocks. As they immerged from cover unarmed, troops shot them repeatedly. A Timpanogos man named Kone, unarmed, was shot in the back as he came out of his teepee. A brave girl about the age of 16 emerged from cover and pleaded with Capt. Scott not to harm her brother. Scott ordered her to bring her brother to him. Terrified of Scott she brought from the thicket her younger brother who bravely stood face to face with Scott and said, "Go away, what are you here for? Go away... you kill my father, my brother... for what? Go away, let us alone."

Black Hawk Productions"Joshua Terry, a pioneer of 1847, and a mountain man who married into an Indian tribe, once told the writer (Howard R. Driggs) that this Indian boy became the warring leader Black Hawk. When peace came, after the Black Hawk War of the later eighteen sixties, this Chief, Terry declared, told him that he was this same boy taken after the fight on Battle Creek. He could never understand why the white men had shot down his people. It put bitterness in his heart; and though he lived for some time with the white people, his mind was ever set on avenging the wrong. That is why he later made war against them." (Story of Old Battle Creek and Pleasant Grove, Utah, Howard R. Driggs, 1948)

In 1853 Timpanogos leader Walkara (Black Hawk's uncle) told interpreter M. S. Martenas, "He (Walkara) said that he had always been opposed to the whites set[t]ling on the Indian lands, particularly that portion which he claims; and on which his band resides and on which they Walkara Shoshoni/Ute Chief Black Hawk Productionshave resided since his childhood, and his parents before him—that the Mormons when they first commenced the settlement of Salt Lake Valley, was friendly, and promised them many comforts, and lasting friendship—that they continued friendly for a short time, until they became strong in numbers, then their conduct and treatment towards the Indians changed—they were not only treated unkindly, but many were much abused and this course has been pursued up to the present—sometimes they have been treated with much severity—they have been driven by this population from place to place—settlements have been made on all their hunting grounds in the valleys, and the graves of their fathers have been torn up by the whites." - STATEMENT, M. S. MARTENAS, INTERPRETER Great Salt Lake City, July 6 1853 Brigham Young Papers, MS 1234, Box 58, Folder 14 LDS Archives - Will Bagley Transcription

1855, January 29th.-----Walkara, a patriot, who had long defended his people and land, died at Meadow Creek, in Millard County. He was succeeded by his brother leader "Jake" Arropeen. Among his final words he admonished his his tribe to live at peace with the settlers and not molest them. Scholars told me there is proof he was poisoned to death. (See Walkara's history)

Within the twelve years that followed Brigham's militia in hand with U.S. Troops would commit the most hideous massacres in American history at Bear River, Circleville, Grass Valley, and Fort Utah. (See Videos)


The Man Mormons Called "Black Hawk"

Utah's famous 'Black Hawk' was born into a royal bloodline, a family of legendary Timpanogos leaders going back centuries in time. Whether that being his Indian name or not is currently disputed. He was a nephew of both Walkara and Tabby. Black Hawk was a War Chief and led under the direction of his uncle Tabby.

Shoshone communities were based upon true democracy. There were no "Chiefs." No one person was above all others. Every individual was respected equally. Even animals and all things Creator created were seen by Native peoples as having a purpose, and each possessing special gifts and talents. When decisions were made within Native communities everyone had to be in agreement before action was taken. Within the communities each family took on particular roles, for example medicine people, warriors, weavers, hunters and gatherers etc. were the responsibility of individual families respectfully. Elders, who were the old and wise, they had the greatest influence in the community. They were the spokespersons, teachers and keepers of wisdom. And so it was that for non-Indians, as the whiteman encountered Indian peoples they were often confused by Indian ways. At times white leaders would arrogantly choose an individual from a tribe and declare them "Chief." To this day Indian tribes do not have "Chiefs", they have Councils and Committees. And so it follows that as we read the histories we see large numbers of "chiefs" and "sub-Chiefs", and so it is that these one-sided accounts can be very confusing and misleading. (See American Indian Protocols)

There were some three or This is not Utah's Black Hawk!more Indians the whites referred to as Black Hawk in Utah history. There does not exist any known photo of Black Hawk. The photo to the right here is not Utah's Black Hawk, it originates from the Smithsonian, it is a photo of a drawing of a Kiowa Apache the whites also called "Black Hawk", the name is not in the Apache language. In the 1929 Indian Census Roll conducted by H. N. Tidwell there appears a Black Hawk born in 1851, and reported as being a member of the Uinta Ute Tribe of Colorado, again not Utah's Black Hawk.

Black Hawk, of the Black Hawk War of Utah, became a courageous warrior and brilliant leader who gave his very life for his people. A humble man tormented by meaningless deaths of his family and kin - fought for peace to his dieing day. A man who's bones were dug up and disgracefully put on public display for amusement. I remember as a child, accompanied by my parents, I saw the mortal remains of Black Hawk and a Indian woman with a child at Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City. (See Looting of Black Hawk's Grave)

Born at Spring Lake, Utah circa 1825, Black Hawk was bright and intelligent with a good sense of humor. He was from his childhood groomed to become a leader honoring the traditions of his Shoshoni ancestors. His charismatic personality and natural leadership ability made him likeable among both his own people and the whites. As young man, he was educated in Jesse Williams Fox's school in Manti which implies he learned to speak English, could read and write and learned mathematics.

Then in his twenties Black Hawk witnessed with extreme agony the senseless murders of his family at Battle Creek, and the gruesome beheadings of his kin at Fort Utah by Mormon militia. In 1863, 593 Shoshone men women and children were brutally massacred at Bear River. As the Indians tried desperate measures to fight off the U.S. Army, the soldiers seemed to lose all sense of control and discipline. After most of the men were killed, and many of the children were also shot and killed. In some cases, soldiers held the feet of infants by the heel and "beat their brains out on any hard substance they could find." Those women who refused to submit to the soldiers were shot and killed. After the slaughter ended, soldiers went through the Indian village raping women and using axes to bash in the heads of women and children who were already dying of wounds. Leaders Bear Hunter (Indian name Camwick brother of SACAJAWEA) and Lemhi both were killed. Two years later, following botched peace efforts in 1865 at Manti between leader Arropeen and John Lowry, Arropeen who had taken Walkara's place following his death in 1855, resigned his decade long leadership to his brother Tabby who accepted the challenge. Tabby, the youngest of the five brothers, was honorably chosen by his tribe as chief leader of the Timpanogos. Black Hawk was chosen by Tabby lead his warriors in battle.

In 1866 Utah's population was approaching 200,000 people when Black Hawk began his champaign against the atrocities and seemingly endless encroachment of Mormon settlers on his peoples aboriginal land.

Black Hawk, under the leadership of Tabby, unleashed a fury upon the Mormons they hadn't seen nor anticipated. Black Hawk assembled a thousand or more warriors from his communal tribe with support from neighboring allies, among them the Utes, Lakota, Dine' and Apache. Over the coarse of just 15 months they demonstrated incredible skill as they commanded a formidable counter-attack that effectively held back Mormon expansion into their most valued homeland in central and southern Utah territory. Because Black Hawk understood Mormon economics, he managed to undermine their economy by flooding the market with stolen Mormon beef and horses causing cattle markets to collapse, and the abandonment of some 70 Mormon villages. Some say he nearly succeeded in driving the Mormons out of Utah.

Then in June of 1866, Black Hawk was shot during battle at Gravely Ford near Richfield while rescuing a fellow warrior White Horse. In the month following Black Hawk was shown kindness when he received food and medicine from his long time friend Mormon Bishop Canute Peterson. During the same month Black Hawk received word that a warrior leader named Mountain had been wounded during an ambush at Little Diamond above Spanish Fork. Saddened by Mountains' near death experience, when Black Hawk was well enough to travel he visited Tabby camped north of Heber, and convinced him to end the war. Black Hawk and other Timpanogos leaders had to make tough decisions as they came to grips with a heartbreaking reality - they were just simply out numbered.

It is well documented that Black Hawk was a compassionate man. He was resistant to killing, and only then in self-defense, that being consistent with traditional beliefs of the Timpanogos. Conditioned by his own personal torment, having witnessed his people becoming increasingly ill from smallpox and measles, and the slow agonizing death from starvation - was unbearable. Mormons had taken all their game, making it ever more difficult traveling greater distances to find food to support their large population. Often Black Hawk went without food himself to help his people. Often he called upon Great Spirit for guidance, and to make peace with the spirit world. But, the hellish terror of his people's suffering was overwhelming as he saw their hearts fill with hopelessness and despair.

In the month of August, 1867, Black Hawk with humility and resolve made an extraordinary gesture of good faith. Saying he and his people were tired of war, he handed Indian agent Franklin Head his knife, asked him to cut off his long hair demonstrating his commitment to end the bloodshed. Black Hawk didn't surrender, the following three years the leader dedicated his efforts to total peace with the white man.

Larry Cesspooch member of the Ute Tribe."It was white history that wrote it -- that he (Black Hawk) surrendered. And no, a man like that don't surrender. He'll come to terms with reality. I'm done, we're done, we, we did what we could, we're done. But it gets written differently... And like any of us, I think you get to a point where it's like any war, you get in and you do what you've got to do. And maybe there's a family there, and you killed, killed their kids -- you, as a human, that thing we all are, is going to at least make you say I'm sorry." - Larry Cesspooch

Three years passed, and days prior to his death in 1870, Black Hawk, now deathly ill from his wound, he still continued his peace efforts, my great-grandfather called it "Black Hawk's mission of peace." Black Hawk contributed significantly to ending the war. Consistent in character with Timpanogos teachings, once again he tried to get along with the white man. Peter Gottfredson, my great grandfather, saw the suffering of his friend Black Hawk and was deeply disturbed as he witnessed the consequences of man's inhumanity to man. A people Peter had grown up with and had shared moments of joy and companionship.

Forrest CuchHe had fought the good fight, and he knew he was about to die, before Black Hawk passed over in 1870, described as gaunt and skeleton like, he chose to travel 180 agonizing miles by horse, and he visited every Mormon village to apologize, taking responsibility for the pain and suffering he and his warriors had caused. Thinking not of himself, putting the well-being of his people first - Black Hawk made one last appeal. He spoke to the settlers saying, "you broke your promises, stolen our land, killed our children, men and women, and spread disease among my people." He then made a plea to the settlers to end the bloodshed. "You didn't see that happening on the part of the settlers. So it took a greater man to do such a thing. And that's what is overlooked in the victors’ accounts," said Forrest Cuch.

Yes it's true, Black Hawk stole Mormon cattle and horses by the thousands. And here's the flip side to that coin, our Mormon ancestors stole over 250 thousand square miles of occupied Timpanogos land and never gave them a red cent for any of it.

Five million acres was set aside by executive order in 1861. On May 5th 1864 congress establishes the Uinta Valley Reservation "for the exclusive use and occupancy of the Indians of Utah territory."

The so called "treaties" made between the Mormons and Utah's Native Tribes had no legal basis, only the Federal Government had the power to negotiate treaties, therefore they were only agreements, divisive at best, of which Church leader Brigham Young failed to honor even one. (See Story of Timpanogos Leader Black Hawk)


"Bones of Black Hawk on Exhibition L.D.S. Museum"

"Without conscience or remorse church leaders without a lick of civility made no apologies"

Did the Black Hawk war begin in 1865 as scholars say? When does the fight for equality and justice for Native American Indian peoples end? What happened next boggles the mind.

Black Hawk Productions Deseret News 1919On September 20, 1919, an article appeared on the front page of the Deseret Evening News paper 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 disrespectfully it appeared on the front page of the Deseret News Paper for amusement. Just 49 years had passed since Black Hawk had been laid to rest in 1870 Black Hawk Productions William E. Spring Lake, Utah, when members of the LDS Church looted of his grave. Accompanying the article is a photo of William E. Croft standing in the open grave, grinning ear to ear, while holding the skull of Black Hawk. While the living descendants of Black Hawk were outraged and heartbroken, their voices fell on deaf ears. Seemingly without conscience or remorse church leaders without a lick of civility 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. 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 Timpanogos leader Black Hawk at Spring Lake, the place of his birth. Shane Armstrong, he told me in an interview that 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 in a basement storage room, in a box, on Brigham Young University campus. (See EXAMINATION OF CHIEF BLACK HAWKS PHYSICAL REMAINS by NAGPRA)

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 - the Mormons.


Black Hawk Headstone-BlackHawkProductions

Black Hawk's Headstone - Spring Lake, Utah



Credits: My thanks to Mary Meyers (Timpanogos) Will Bagley, Dr. Daniel McCool, Forrest Cuch (Ute), Dr. Floyd O'Neil, the Living Descendents of Black Hawk, Loya Arrum (Ute), Lacee Harris, Vanita Taveapont (Ute), "Lakota Ann" Cutler, Larry Cesspooch (Ute), Robert Carter, Bryon Richardson, Charmain Thompson (Archeologist National Forest Service), Shane Armstrong (Eagle Scout), and Marva Loy Eggett. Steven T. Newcomb Indigenous Law Institute, Peter d'Errico, Legal Studies Department, University of Massachusetts/Amherst, the George S. Deloris Dori Eccles Foundation, and the Utah State Division of Indian Affairs. Marriott Special Collections Brigham Young University. And last but not least, humble gratitude to Ron Hill Imagery, and my many friends, good people and organizations for their kindness and generosity. (See also Source Material).

*Historic Photographs by Permission From: University of Utah Marriott Library Special Collections and The Utah State Historical Society*

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