Left: Aurther Richards Paiute; Right: Richard Turly Asst. Church Historian; Center: Mayor Michael Haaland of Circleville foreground.
Report by Phillip B Gottfredson: Dedication of the Circleville Massacre Memorial
At this historic dedication of the Circleville Massacre Monument, historians and speakers gave a fair and accurate depiction of the tragic event of 1866 when 27 Paiute Koosharem men women and children were brutally murdered by members of the Mormon Church. Approximately 25 Koosharem Paiute were present at the dedication along with some 40 or so people comprised of historians from the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Shirlee Silversmith Director of Indian Affairs, members of the Northern Ute Tribe, along with towns folk and the press.
Mary Meyer Chief Executive of the Timpanogos Tribe we both attended the ceremony that lasted about an hour or more. And following the ceremony there was talk among the Paiute and historians of locating the burial place of the Massacre victims and a possible repatriation of their remains to bring closure to those whose ancestors were involved in the atrocity. There definitely is a sincere and united effort between Native peoples of Utah and the Church to respectfully recognise this darkened part of Utah's history.
Unlike other such attempts in the past, this time things had a much different tone of honesty and bold directness when addressing the details of the Massacre. None of the speakers sidestepped or sugar coated the story. Mayor Michael Haaland of Circleville expressed his dedication and support of this project, consistent with the time I worked with him back in 2010. Mr. Haaland told me then he would support there being a memorial of this kind, and the possible locating and repatriation of the mortal remains of the victims.
Speakers of the dedication did point out that there are many who deserve recognition beyond those who took part in this first phase of the project, and that there is no one individual, group or organization that deserves all the credit that it was an united effort.
It was a great day to be there and witness this historic moment. The monument is beautifully done costing $16000 and is inscibed on both sides. This was long overdue, hopefully it signals the begining of more to come.
Story of the Circleville Massacre Courtasy of Phillip B Gottfredson
The Circleville Massacre was the last of six brutal massacres that occurred between the years of 1849 and 1866. The Following account of the Circleville Massacre comes from Phillip B Gottfredson's several years of research gathered from several historical accounts and from personal interviews of several living descendents of David Munson (Paiute) who survived the massacre, and personal interviews with residents of Circleville, Utah.
By 1866 Mormon and Indian confrontations were raging in all directions, it was ordered by church officials to have the Paiutes disarmed. Black Hawk and his band had killed many during the year before while defending their rights to their land. A determined camp of Paiutes remained in Circle Valley (Box Creek - now Circleville) and were trying to be friendly and get along with the whites. However, the whites felt that they were in danger every moment, as reports of Natives in other places were so aggressive saints felt that real trouble could break out at anytime.
On April 21, 1866, an express from Fort Sanford reached Circleville, Utah telling of a Paiute that pretended to be friendly had shot and killed a white man who belonged to the militia stationed at the nearby fort. The people of Circleville were told to protect themselves against the Indians who were camped in their valley. Though residents in Circleville had no cause for concern with their neighbors whom they had befriended, upon receipt of this information the people of Circleville called a town meeting, and after much discussion as to what they should do, it was decided that they should arrest all the Paiutes that were camped nearby, and bring them to Circleville for confinement.
Every able bodied man in the town set out to take custody of the Indian camp, and they surround the camp at night. They had no reason to use force, relations between them had been amiable. However, James T. S. and Bishop William Jackson Allred went to the Indian camp, and under false pretences persuaded the Indians to come to a meeting at Circleville. They told the Indians that they had received a letter from Brigham Young, and they wanted to have it read to them. All of the Indians agreed willingly to go to Circleville with the men, *except one young Indian warrior who refused to go and began to shoot at the posse. The posse returned fire killing on the young man. The rest of the Indians were then taken at gun point to Circleville, a mile away, and the letter was read to them. The Indians were told that they are to be retained as prisoners, and were taken into custody and placed in the meeting house that night under guard.
Now, Oluf Larsen gives a slightly different account, and Oluf was one of the guards who participated in the killings. He said: "We naturally concluded the Indians were planning something. This led us to call a council to consider what was best to do about them. We concluded it was best to take them prisoners, feed and care for them until we could get information from higher authority. In the evening, we went quietly down and encircled their camp. We closed up quite well, so none should be able to escape if they tried to break away. A man by the name of James Allred [James Tillman Sanford Allred] who spoke the Indian language very well, and who had considerable experience among them, and knew their customs quite we,l showed them the necessity of complying with our wishes telling them they would be treated kindly, and would show their friendship by moving into town. No sooner had he explained this than *one Indian jumped across the river where I had my position and in the twinkle of an eye, the men opened fire and the bullets whistled around my ears. Just as the Indian fell, he discharged his gun. The bullet grazed my breast and cut the barrel square off the gun of the man by my side. Had the bullet come three inches nearer, it would have killed both of us. All the other Indians surrendered and we marched the men into the meeting house, and we placed them under guard. Later we went and moved the squaws and children and belonging[s] into a vacant cellar with guards watching them." Clearly Oluf's account exonerates the Paiute of any wrong doing, the young man that was killed never had a chance and never fired the first shot as previously stated. (Please visit Oluf Christian Larsen's website here You will find the Circleville incident in #8 pp. 66-70)
The captured Indians, 26 in all, showed a lot of unrest, then on the evening of the following day some of the Indians were able to cut themselves loose from their bindings and make a break. In the excitement the two Indians trying to free themselves were shot and killed by the guards. The remainder of the Indians were then taken from the meeting house to a nearby underground cellar and imprisoned there. The captured Indians knew they were going to be killed, they could feel it.
The settlers had another meeting, and it was decided among them to kill the remaining captured Indian people. And so it was that one by one they were led out of the cellar, 24 in all. There were women, men, and children, and they were first struck from behind on the head to stun them, then their throats were cut. A terrified mother of two young boys and one girl, between thirteen and seven or eight years of age, told her crying children to run for their lives. When the door was opened for the next victim the three made a break and forced their way past the guards and ran. In the dark of night the guards fired several shots at the three but were unable to hit them. One was shot in the side but the bullet barely grazed his rib, not enough to stop him. It is safe to say the mother never knew if her children had managed to escape. Her children would wait through the night in vein for the return of their parents. (For more detailed information please visit The Black Hawk War; Utah's Forgotten Tragedy.)
Chief Tabby' Bow
It was a great honor for me to travel with Mary Meyer Chief Executive of the Timpanogos Tribe and direct descendant of Chiefs Arropeen, Walkara, Tabby and others. We traveled in the comfort of my motorhome, a 300 mile journey to Circleville, Utah. Along the way we visited many of the locations where the Timpanogos fought bravely in the Black Hawk War of Utah. When we arrived in a town called Mt. Pleasant I took Mary to a small museum there on main street. In the museum there is a bow and two arrows that were handmade by Mary's great-great-grandfather Chief Tabby, one whom much credit goes for his efforts to bring about a peaceful end to the war. Tabby lived to be over a hundred years old. The photo below shows Mary Meyer holding Tabby's bow and two arrows he used to hunt rabbits with for food.
Mary Meyer Holding Chief Tabby's Bow and Arrows, Mt. Pleasant, Utah
Further along our journey together Mary showed me the place where her great-great-grandfather Chief Walkara was buried near Fillmore, Utah on the hills above a small farming community of Meadows, Utah. Then we continued to visit the resting place of Chief Black Hawk in a tiny community called Spring Lake near Santiquin, Utah. Not only is Spring Lake the place where Timpanogos leader Black Hawk is buried, it is also the place where he was born and grew to learn the ways of his people.
In all it was a good time we had. One I will never forget having shared with my friend and teacher Mary Meyer.
Mary Meyer at Chief Black Hawk's Gravesite Spring Lake, Utah
Representative Rob Bishop Files Bill To Stop The Interior Department From Recognizing Tribes
All are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.' Native American Indians are the only class of peoples in the United States whose unalienable rights are determined by the United States Government. Like race horses and dogs, Indians must be pedigreed and numbered. For Indians, your tribe must be registered with the government and be listed on what is known as the Federal Register. Without this listing, regardless of Treaty status, Executive Orders or Congressional Acts, you are unprotected by the laws designed to insure Indian rights are protected. These laws are referred to as "Indian Laws" when Indians have had little or no say in the creation of these laws.
It is well documented that vast land once occupied exclusively by Native Americans for eons of time was stolen, while Native people were forced or allowed to remain on small portions known today as "Indian Reservations." This was a way of confining us to specific and undesirable areas. The Courts have repeatedly ruled these reservations are governed by "Sovereign Nations." Utah, like so many other states, ignore such court rulings.
In Utah, the Timpanogos Tribe is historically the largest tribe in Utah and presently the only tribe seeking "Federal Recognition". We live on an Executive Ordered Reservation that was solidified by Congress in 1864 for the "exclusive use and occupancy" of the "Indians of Utah Territory." Our reservation, "The Uintah Valley", has been under constant attack politically as the Government of the State of Utah, the majority of which belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons), have over the past 160 years been relentless in their efforts to take possession of the land and resources. They have tried to deny us our hunting rights, our fishing rights, religious freedoms, natural resources, water rights, etc. on our own land. This has damaged our culture, our religion, our identity, and perhaps most importantly, our freedom.
Over the past twenty years we the Timpanogos people have been working with the Department of the Interior for what is called "Federal Recognition." It has been the law for many years that "Federal Recognition" can be established in one of three ways, through Congress, the Interior Department, or the federal court system. We, the Timpanogos people are seeking recognition through the Interior Department. With our recognition nearing completion, Utah by and through their Representative Rob Bishop is now attempting to strip that power from the Interior Department and place it solely in the hands of Congress. Which Mr. Bishop will then be one of two people to decide if Congress will ever hear our plea.
In 1999, the Timpanogos people first contacted the United States Interior Department with the issue of being left out of the recognition process, since that time we have been working with the Interior to resolve this issue.
In 2010, our first trip to DC, we were informed that the recognition process consists of specific rules. We began the process and in 2012 hand delivered over 1900 pages to the Interior.
In July of 2015 we were informed that all the rules had been changed and we must re-file our petition with a redacted narrative to be published on the Internet.
On October 7, 2015, we again traveled to DC to file our petition under the new regulations. We met with our team and had what we felt was a very productive meeting. In our petition we included some of the various forms of discrimination our people face.
On October 20, 2015 Representative Rob Bishop of Utah filed a bill to stop the Interior Department from Recognizing tribes. It is our opinion that this is an attempt to stop the Interior Department from Recognizing our tribe. Mr. Bishop's bill has already had two hearings and is being pushed with urgency.
The pretense of concern for Native people is not believable to us as Utah has a long history of officials ignoring Reservation boundaries and Native American rights in spite of Congressional Acts and Federal Court rulings.
Rob Bishop Representative for Utah's 1st congressional district Republican Introduces H.R. 3764: Tribal Recognition Act of 2015
Native opposition for the bill from Native News Online.net
Indian Country News Attempt by Congress to Steal Native Sovereignty Unconstitutional
10th District Court Rules State of Utah has no jurisdiction over Uinta Valley Reservation which remains intact Note: The Ute Indian Tribe or "Confederated Utes," were relocated from Colorado to the Uinta Valley Reserve after its formation, also have a long history with Utah politics. The Utes current struggle for jurisdiction rights again shows Utah's disrespect for both Native rights and Federal laws.
James Buchanan Proclamation - Rebellion in the Territory of Utah "Fellow-citizens of Utah, this is rebellion against the Government to which you owe allegiance; it is levying war against the United States, and involves you in the guilt of treason.
Uintah Valley Reservation Congressional Act May 5th, 1864
Department of Interior Washington, October 3, 1861
Sir: I have the honor herewith to submit for your consideration the recommendation of Acting Commissioner of Indian Affairs that the Uintah Valley, in the Territory of Utah, be set apart and reserved for the use and occupancy of Indian Tribes.
In the absence of an authorized survey (the valley and surrounding country being as yet unoccupied by settlement of our citizens), I respectfully recommend that you order the entire valley of the Uintah River within Utah Territory, extending on both sides of said river to crest of the first range of contiguous mountains on each side, to be reserved to the United States and set apart as an Indian reservation.
Very Respectfully, Your Obedient Servant,
Caleb B. Smith, Secretary.
Excutive Office, October 3, 1861.
Let the reservation be established as recommended by the Secretary of the Interior.
(See acts of Congress, approved May 5, 1864, 18 Stats., 63)