Message #133
From: AzTeC SW Archaeology SIG
To:   "'Matthias Giessler'" 

Date: Sun, 12 Apr 1998
Subject: Blackhawk War

[ AzTeC / SWA SASIG ] :

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.