Message #133 From: AzTeC SW Archaeology SIG To: "'Matthias Giessler'" Date: Sun, 12 Apr 1998 Subject: Blackhawk War [ AzTeC / SWA SASIG ] : http://www.kbyu.org/tv/cover/cover-april98.html Utah's Blackhawk War: Cultures in Conflict by Megan Christofferson A treaty in Appomattox, Va ended the Civil War on April 9th, 1865, bringing peace to a nation torn by cultural ideals. However, two thousand miles west, in Utah territory, a small skirmish in Manti, left one person dead, the first casualty in Utah's Blackhawk War, a conflict of cultures. Clashes between Mormon settlers and displaced Indians made up what may very well be the least known war in the United States. Chief Blackhawk, a Ute Indian, led raids against Mormon settlements in south central Utah for 7 years. In the end there were great losses in life and property. Utah's Blackhawk War: Cultures in Conflict, a KBYU documentary commissioned by the Sanpete County Heritage Council, tells the story of two cultures trying to live two very different ways of life on the same piece of ground. This documentary relates the historical events of the Blackhawk War by letting descendants of the actual participants tell the story as it has been handed down through generations. Nearly twenty years after the Mormons had arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, the Indian population was 1/4 what it was before the white settlers came. The Indian population was declining due to small pox and starvation, while the whites were becoming more and more affluent. Some Indians adapted to the white man's presence by learning farming or trading techniques or by moving to the reservations. However, many of the nomadic Utes, Piutes and Goshutes didn't. The Blackhawk war was not only a fight over land, but also a struggle over a traditional way of life. While it is rarely mentioned in the history books, the Blackhawk war greatly affected life and history in central Utah. Forts were built, farms and reservations were created, intensifying the strained relationship between the Indians and the Mormons. Forts, such as Cove Fort were built all over the central Utah region to discourage the Indians from taking cattle. Rumors flew and many peaceful Indians were caught in the crossfire, not trusted by either side of the conflict. The Mormons, led by Brigham Young, were encouraged to feed, rather than fight the Indians, who were, for the most part, peaceful. However, driven to desperation by a harsh winter and losses of hunting ground, a small band of Indians led by war chief Blackhawk, began to raid the settlements, stealing cattle, horses and supplies. Disliking both the Mormons and the Indians, the federal government refused to intervene taking a "let them kill each other off" policy. So, the Nauvoo legion, Utah's territorial militia, started taking things into their own hands. Both Indians and Mormon settlers had their share in the violence that rocked central Utah for several years. Utah's Blackhawk War: A Conflict of Cultures tells the story through interviews with historians and other prominent Utahns, descendants of participants, and recreations of actual events. In 1866, Blackhawk was wounded and disappeared. He resurfaced 1 year later suing for peace. He wanted peace, and he worked for peace. He visited all of the places in peace that he'd visited before on the war path. He asked for forgiveness in the Mormon congregations who voted on the issue, and for the most part, unamimously decided to forgive Blackhawk. The Sanpete County Heritage Council is trying to bring the stories and events of the Blackhawk War back into the history books by locating the places involved and placing historical markers at the sites. They will also be producing a booklet aimed at helping people tour of the area and it's events and, a traveling exhibit will highlight this part of Utah History for high schools and middle schools. People who think they might have had ancestors who participated in the Blackhawk War can write the Sanpete Heritage Council and recieve free documentation. This documentary brings to life the unrest and troubles facing Mormon Settlers and Native Americans that shaped Utah's earliest history. Join KBYU Sunday, April 19, at 8:00 for the first documentary ever produced on Utah's Blackhawk War: Culture's in Conflict.