Timpanogos Chief Tabby was born into the royal bloodline of Shoshone-Timpanogos Chiefs. In 1776 in the journal of Spanish explorers Dominguez and Escalante, they describe Turunianchi as the Timpanogotzis leader, born in c1750 and who died in c1800. He had a son named Moonch, born in c1785 and died in c1843. Moonch was the father of Chief Tabby.
Tabby had over six siblings: Chiefs Sanpitch, Wakara (Walker), Arapeen (father of Jake Arapeen), Ammon, Sowiette, Kanosh, and Grospeen, who were known as the "Royal Bloodline." He was a wise and respected leader by the White man, and loved by his people. Tabby was the last of the Chiefs in the Utah Black Hawk War. And it is a great honor for me to write about Jim Pritchett who is the great-grandson of Tabby. See Timpanogos Biography for more info.
Note: Tabby's name was not Tabby-To-Kwanah, or Tabiuna, and he was not Chief of the Uintah and Whiteriver Utes. All you need to do is ask his descendants the Pritchetts, Jim & Karen of the Timpanogos Tribe.
Ute Chiefs were Ignacio, Colorow, and Ouray. The Utes come from Colorado and are not Shoshoni. Please see
Misidentity of Timpanogos & Ute Tribes
James Leonard Pritchett, the great-grandson of Chief Tabby of the Shoshone-Timpanogos Nation of Utah, was born March 26, 1946, to John and Evelyn Pritchett in Provo, Utah. John Pritchett's father was Leo Tabby Pritchett, who was born March 22, 1881. Leo was the son of Timpanogos Chief Tabby, born in 1814.
Note: Leo Tabby's death certificate says he was born 1881, but according to the affidavit written by his foster parents Clarence and Mary Pritchett in the town of Fairview, Leo Tabby was born in 1884. Many dates are approximate, as indicated by the small "c" (circa) before each date. Dates in Utah's Indigenous peoples history need to be corrected for accuracy.
The Pritchett Story
As fate would have it, I serendipitously fell into the company of Jim and Karen, and I was honored to take up residence in his home in Orem, Utah. Throughout getting to know Jim and his beautiful family, Karen, his loving wife, and Kendryck, their grandson, Jim and I have spent hours discussing what his life has been like being a direct descendant of a famous Chief. "There isn't much to say," he said, "I didn't even know I was Timpanogos until recently. I grew up believing I was Ute. I also was told by my father not to tell anyone I am Native American. I was raised as a White man, though I knew I wasn't. So at the age of 79, I'm just finding out who I am," Jim told me. Jim and I sat quietly as I processed what he had just told me. "So, Jim, what you are telling me is that your father was conflicted over who he is was, and you are also conflicted over who you are. Is that correct for me to say that," I asked. Jim answered, "Yes."
"Jim, do you realize it was exactly the same for your grandfather Leo? So for three generations now, your grandfather, your father, and you have been conflicted, not knowing who you are or where you belong," I said, to which Jim gave me a quick response, "and I want to change that. I want to break the cycle."
Jim's story begins with his grandfather, Leo Tabby Pritchett, the son of Chief Tabby. Karen, Jim's wife, spread out two 3-ring binders bulging with family history pages on the kitchen table for me to study. After flipping the pages back and forth, she pulled out a photocopy of an old typewritten page. Across the top was the word in bold caps, "AFFIDAVIT," after explaining it to me, she handed me the document to read the following...
Jan, 28, 1948
I, Clarence L. Pritchett, residing at the above address, hereby certify that I was born January 9, 1870 in the town of Fairview, County of Sanpete State of Utah. That my father's name was John A. Pritchett, (now deceased) and that my mother's name was Mary V. Hambrici Pritchett, (now deceased) both resided in said town Fairview, Utah; that they reared a family of children of their own, consisting of four boys and four girls. In addition to this they took in an infant Indian boy, at the age of six weeks, to rear. This child was born March 22, 1884 and was known by the name of Leo Tabby Pritchett.
My parents reared this child until he was twelve years of age, after which he was turned over to the U.S. Government officials, who took him to the Teller Institute, Grand Junction, Colorado. After remaining there for five years and four months he was transferred to the Indian school in Carlisle, Pennsylvania; remaining here for three and a half years, he was returned to Utah, location, Whiterocks, Uintah Indian Reservation, Utah.
Signed: Clarnence L. Pritchett
Notary stamp and signature January 28, 1948
The reason Leo "was turned over" to the U.S. Government is that he was Native American and, therefore, a "ward of the government." By law, the Pritchetts, who were Mormons, were forced to give up Leo.
The Indian Civilization Act of 1819 established Indian boarding schools across the Nation; from 1871, Native American children were forcibly removed from their families and relocated to these federally run facilities. The intended purpose of Indian boarding schools was to "Kill the Indian and Save the Man" by assimilating Indigenous people into White man's culture; the schools forcibly forbade their Native identities, languages, and traditions.
John and Mary tried to adopt Tabby's son Leo but were legally prohibited. I can only imagine how they felt, as poor Leo's fate was sealed; he must have been traumatized when he was suddenly thrown into a world of confusion and abandonment. Why? Because he was "Indian." But that's what colonialism is about, race, domination, subjugation, and money. And to those among us who say, "We have given the Indians every chance to succeed, yet they turn to drugs and alcohol; it's their own damn fault," I say they are also the ones who say, "It's not my problem." Why? Because our church, schools, and government don't want us to find out that we gave them every opportunity, to fail!
The Pritchetts fought their entire lives to belong somewhere, to find a place they could call home. All through their lives, they were told they were Ute. Leo's many applications to the Department of the Interior should have been addressed the truth but were ignored. At 64, Leo asked U.S. Senator Arthur Watkins, "I would like to get this thing right. Who am I, where do I come from, and what am I doing here." The above Affidavit Leo sent to Senator Watkins along with the following letter:
Senator Arthur Watkins
I gave you some papers to look over when you was at Ft. Duchesne, Utah. I would like very much to have talked with you at that time. No doing so, I tried to see you at Ogden, Clearfield, and Salt Lake City, but did not contact. However I talked to your secretary at your office. I would like to ask why I have to appear before a tribal committee when I have been a ward of the government for so long a time. I have an allotment. My No. was 717, but was changed to 752 for some reason. I maintain a home near Whiterock. I was taken off the Indian census 1935 by Supt. Page for some reason not known by me. C.C. Wright had me taken the roll because I was working in Nevada. Supt. Stone tells me I have no right whatsoever on the reservation. I would Like to get this right. Who am I, where did I come from, and what am I doing here. Mr. F. A. Baker investigated my case 1913. He can tell you more about it than I can tell you. He made affidavits for some of the old Indians living at that time. The records should show you this.
Mr. Watkins, when you Senators visit the reservation the people would like for you to visit their homes and see how they live and get along. They ask me to tell you to please do this the next time you visit them. Next time you come to Utah I would like to make an appointment with you and talk things over.
(Signed) Leo Pritchett
"Who am I, where did I come from, and what am I doing here." Tabby's son continues his life-long fight to find the answer to those questions. Leo is never told that the Snake-Shoshoni Timpanogos are not Ute and are distinctly different Tribes in origin, blood, language, and customs. I recall vividly the conversations I had with the Ute Tribe back in 2004 when several people told me, "We are afraid to talk about those days; the church might take revenge on us." Since then, others have explained that "because the church gave orders to exterminate us, we were raised to never tell anyone that we are Timpanogos; it was a matter of life or death."
Then, in c1955, an unknown arson set fire to Leo's home in Whiterocks. Now homeless, he and his family moved to Ogden, Utah, where he remained until he died in 1959 at age 75.
Leo left behind eight children: John, Robert, Ohya, Opal, Verval, Billie, Lois, and Stella. John was the father of Jim Pritchett.
Jim's father never spoke to Jim about Tabby or Leo. He told Jim to forget he was 'Indian' and live like a White man. Consequently, he never knew what it meant to follow the traditional Native American teachings, history, customs—and spiritual life-ways. Boarding House schools and Mormonism taught Leo, John, and Jim to hate who they are under the banner "Kill the Indian, save the man."
"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, and 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," -University of Utah Prof. Daniel McCool Ph.D., Political Science
Jim described his father as someone who didn't want to be bothered by him. "He was not a father to me; later in life, when I would visit him, he would leave and go somewhere. I could never get him to talk to me," Jim said. "I never understood why he didn't want anything to do with me. We would go up to Whiterocks and he would tell me to go to grandma's or down to the cafe. He would always go visit with the Murdocks. I would ask if I could go with him, he'd say no! And when he got drunk, he was violent. I remember him being mean to Mom."
Jim has described what settler colonialism looks like in Utah. Their past, present, and future lives were stolen. For 35 years since I began researching the Black Hawk War in Utah, I have often asked the question, what in hell did the Indigenous people of Utah do to deserve the injustices they have endured for the past 180 years? I'll tell you what they did, NOTHING! They did nothing! There is not a damn thing that anyone one can name that explains what they, the once great Timpanogos Nation, did to deserve any of the atrocities they have received from Mormon colonists. There wasn't a problem in the Great Basin until Brigham Young arrived. The question should be, what did Mormon settlers do to the Indigenous people of the Great Basin? Of course, the Timpanogos fought back, and sadly, people died defending their homeland and human rights.
Despite the generational trauma caused by settler colonization in the lives of the Pritchetts and thousands more in the Timpanogos Tribe, they are still here, having survived man's inhumanity to mankind. I am proud to know Jim and his family. They inspire me; they are living examples of what it means to be human, having made the best of what life has given them.
When the world was created, the Creator touched it with his hand, and so it is sacred and spiritual. The Land is our home, our mother, nourishing all her children. The Land is sacred and belongs to all who inhabit it. Honesty, love, courage, truth, wisdom, humility, and respect are ancient traditional virtues and values that Chief Tabby and his people lived by, and indigenous people worldwide have honored. I feel privileged to have learned these life-changing simple teachings from Indigenous people. These teachings were forbidden in Indian boarding schools. How much of a difference would it have made in the lives of Leo, John, and Jim had they been taught that they descended from a royal bloodline of Chiefs and could have practiced their traditional lifeways? One thing is clear: I see in Jim's eyes and heart the unmistakable qualities and potential of a great leader that could only have come from one source: his great-grandfather, Timpanogo's Chief, Tabby.