Chief Executive Mary Murdock Meyer
As Chief Executive of the Timpanogos Tribe I have pondered many times how our people were forgotten. We are the living descendents of legendary Chiefs Walkara, Kanosh, Tabby, Arropeen, Washakie, Tintic, Sowiette, Sanpitch and others listed below, who extended their hospitality to Mormon leader Brigham Young and his followers. Many things within the State of Utah bear our name. Mount Timpanogos, and Timpanogos Cave are sacred to our Tribe. A high school, hospital, LDS Temple, motorcycle shop, also bear our name "Timpanogos", the list is long. We are an important part of Utah's history, as the entire Wasatch echoes our name.
We reside on the Uinta Valley Reservation established in 1861 by President Abraham Lincoln. We Timpanogos are Shoshone people, however the pages of recent history mistakenly record the Timpanogos Indians as "Ute". This terminology has caused us to be confused with the Confederated Ute's of Colorado that were relocated to Utah pursuant to the Congressional Act of 1880.
The Timpanogos people are the indigenous people of Utah Territory. The term "Utah Indian", does not mean Ute Indian. The trappers and pioneers that encountered the Indians inhabiting the territory now known as Utah identified the "Utah" Indians as either Snake or Shoshone. We have endured many things and yet we remain a strong people. Our ancestors walked close to the creator and lived in harmony with what he provided for us on this earth. They sacrificed their lives that we might live. (See our ancestors here.)
Because of the atrocities of the Black Hawk War our people faced our Elders have lived in fear and our voices have been silenced . Our ancestors were industrious people, caring for the lands, a people with prayer and love. We faced near annihilation and yet we remain strong. Not that we do not face difficult obstacles, but the blood of our ancestors runs through our veins, we today are still the same people, caring for the lands and people with prayer, and love.
As you walk through the pages of our life, our prayer is for you to see our heart. It beats alive and well deep within Mount Timpanogos cave, a constant reminder that the Timpanogos peoples are here. (Learn more about our tribe here.)
As Chief Executive of the Tribe I speak for the people when I ask why? We fed you when you where hungry. We helped you when you did not understand our lands. Why then were we forgotten? For many decades we the Timpanogos people have devoted our time and prayers searching for this answer. Dama Appet' has answered us and we take you back in time now to a place long ago, a village of our ancestors where huts of bark and willow stood in a vast valley, streams flowed, winds blew, children play happily while the woman are busy working hides, repairing clothing, adorning their apparel with the beauty of natures creations. The men are laughing, prayers are said, the hunters are gathering the much needed foods for winter. Life was good and all was well with the world. (See our history here.)
It was the summer of 1847 our lives would be changed, a new people would come, not like the "big hats" of old. These people would build fences, claim lands and disrupt our culture and way of life. Bringing confusion as they spoke of their God and peace while sharing sacks of flour laced with broken glass. Brigham Young said "You can get rid of more Indians with a sack of flour than a keg of powder." Destroying us with what appeared to be acts of kindness. As our Timpanogos tribal leaders Kanosh, Tabby, Washakie, Little Wolf, Wanship, Little Chief, Kone, Blue Shirt, Big Elk, Opecarry, Old Battestie, Tintic, Sowiet, Angatewats, Walkara, Graspero and others extend their hospitality to Brigham Young and his followers, they were unaware of the bloodshed that would follow, some 150 bloody confrontations between 1847-70. (See The Black Hawk War: Utah's Forgotten Tragedy)
By the year 1909 most of our leaders were killed many of them in the Black Hawk War, our population decreased from approximately 70,000 to about 1,300. Today our population is close to 900. The newcomers called us the "Lamanites" the chosen people, we were chosen to walk knee deep in the blood of our ancestors, to suffer from whitemans' disease, to accept their ways and beliefs or die, fighting to preserve our way of life. What choice did we have? Our ancestors blood covers the Wasatch, and then we were forgotten. We were shoved aside in the name of progress. Yet, with all this we remain.
The time has come for the truth to be spoken. We are still here. We will not be brushed aside. We the Timpanogos people are the indigenous people of Utah, we are Shoshone. The blood of our ancestors cries out to us. They must be remembered for who they really were.