Timpanogos Chief Sowiette, his birth place is unknown, and appears he died circa 1867 as he doesn't appear in any history accounts after 1866. Chief Sowiette was a brother to Timpanogos leadders Walkara, Tabby, Ammon, Sanpitch, Arapeen, and Grospeen were all brothers. Sanpitch being the father of Antongua Black Hawk. Sowiette lived in the southern part of Utah is what is known today as Sanpete county, so named after Chief Sanpitch.
Sowiette Park in Provo, Utah is named in his honor, as well as a statue carved in wood bears his name. Sowiette Park houses several of the cabins that were part of Fort Utah as well as a thousand or so items that once belonged to early Mormon colonists.
It appears Sowiette was the eldest of the brothers, and an advocate for peace, even when the Mormons came to Utah in 1847, Sowiette admonished his brothers not to fight with the Mormons. (See: The Black Hawk War)
Sowiette was a signor of the Spanish Fork Treaty. The brothers were not all in agreement with signing the treaty and opposed doing so. However Sowiette was, and it appears Sowiette convinced his brothers to sign, but whether he fully understood the terms of the treaty is questionable. The following is a conversation with Brigham Young during the signing of the treaty:
Brigham Young is seen making the usual bribes to entice the Timpanogos to sign saying: "San pitch Sow e ett Tabby and all of you I want you to understand what I say to you I am looking for your welfare if you do not sell your land to the government they will take it whether you are willing to sell it or not this is the way they have done in California and Oregon if you go to Uintah they will build you houses make you a farm give you cows oxen clothing blankets and many other things you will want and then the treaty that colonel Irish has here gives you the privilege of coming back here on a visit you can fish hunt pick berries dig roots and we...
To which Sowiette replied: "I am the father of you all. I have always been a friend of the Americans Mr. Young he has never thrown away my friendship for the Americans. Superintendent Irish that is what everybody says of you. After awhile Brigham and the Mormons came here I saw him and he was my son my friend when I met Young we talked and understood each other. Me and my children the Utah's and Brigham and his children. When some of my children stole horses and acted bad did I break my friendship? No never. I do not want to see it. I am old my heart is very weak now but it is good." - Sowiette
Though the Timpanogos brothers agreed to the terms of the so called Treaty, and the Timpanogos lived up to their word, and aside from some token gifts given to the Timpanogos Brigham never kept his promises. The Treaty was never ratified by Congress as it bore the signature of Brigham Young, while the Mormons took away hundreds of thousands of square miles of land and forced the Timpanogos onto the Uinta Valley Reservation where nearly 500 died from starvation during the first winter. It was a matter of which of the three would control the land, the Timpanogos, the Mormons, or the United States Government. A year later Sanpitch was murdered by Mormon Dolf Bennett.
Phillip B Gottfredson, Great Grandson of Peter Gottfredson, shares an intimate perspective of the Timpanogos peoples of Utah and the Black Hawk War of 1849 to 1873 in his debut Native American history book titled “My Journey to Understand ... Black Hawk’s Mission of Peace” (published by Archway Publishing).
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