Inside the Book:
My Journey to Understand...
Black Hawk's Mission of Peace
Exhaustive research of the Utah Black Hawk War led Mr. Gottfredson to a little-known Native American tribe living in a remote area of Utah who are the forgotten Timpanogostzis. The Timpanogostzis are Snake-Shoshoni and the direct living descendants of famous Chiefs Black Hawk, Wakara, Tabby, Arapeen, Sanpitch, Grospeen, and Aman who were the Chiefs who figured most prominently in all the histories of the Black Hawk War. Deliberately marginalized and ignored, the Timpanogos people welcomed him into their tribe where he spent five years living with them. Like his great-grandfather Peter Gottfredson, who also lived among these people during the war, Phillip felt it more than a mere coincidence that he should have the honor to learn from them. It was then Phillip began to understand, and saw why his great-grandfather loved them so much.
The Timpanogostzis were first discovered by Spanish explorer Juan
Revera in 1765, and later Dominguez and Escalante in 1776.
They describe in their journals having met “the bearded ones”
who spoke Shoshone.
Some seventy thousand Timpanogos Indians – the aboriginal
people of Utah – died from violence, starvation, and disease after
Mormon colonists stole their land and destroyed their culture
over a twenty-one-year timeframe, but few people know anything
about them, who they are, or what they believed in.
I look at Black Hawk and I see him as a human being who personally witnessed the worst kind of man’s inhumanity to man, and himself dying from a gunshot wound traveled a hundred and eighty miles on horseback to make peace with the white man, and apologizes for the pain and suffering he caused them, asking them to do the same and end the bloodshed. We don’t see any white people doing this, so it took a greater man to do such a thing, and that’s what gets left out of history.
Notorious Mormon leader Brigham Young spent a staggering 1.5 million dollars in Church funds (equivalent to $30 million today) to "get rid of the Indians" and bills Congress for reimbursement.
Then in the year 1919 Black Hawk's grave was robbed by members of the Mormon Church. His mortal remains was first put on public display in the window of a hardware store in Spanish Fork for public amusement. Later his corpse was taken to Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City and again put on public display for some 60 years.
Professor Dr. Daniel McCool University of Utah summed it up succinctly: "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, 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. And what is so amazing about this whole story is that we failed. We failed after hundreds of years of trying to take everything from American Indians. We failed to do that. They're still here and there's survival; that great saga of survival is one of the great stories of all mankind."
In collaboration with the Timpanogos Nation, Phillip B. Gottfredson shares an intimate perspective of the Timpanogos peoples of Utah and the Black Hawk War of 1849 to 1873 in his debut Native American history book titled “My Journey to Understand ... Black Hawk’s Mission of Peace” (published by Archway Publishing).