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The Skull Valley Goshutes

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Indian land, the government decided that the Indians' destiny lay on reservations where they could be Americanized and protected by the B I A . 22

Labeled the Special Commission, Powell and Ingalls visited the Great Basin Indians, including the Goshute bands, in May 1873. After discussions with the various tribes and bands within tribes, the commissioners realized that the Indians were deeply attached to their homelands. But the two officials had no desire to establish new reservations and were convinced that the Indians must voluntarily remove themselves to existing reservations. Regarding the Goshutes, the commissioners reported: The greater part of them would prefer to go to Uintah, but a few, on account of marriage-ties, desire to go with the Shoshones [at the Fort Hall Reservation in Idaho]. It would probably be well to give them, this choice. 2^

This statement that the Goshutes expressed a willingness to move appears to be pure fabrication, for, as will be seen, the Goshutes had no desire to leave their native land in northwestern Utah. Contrary to the Powell-Ingalls report, the Goshutes, particularly the Skull Valley band, opposed removal. As they had done in 1871, the band members enlisted the support of a white person to serve as their voice. O n J u n e 30, 1873, Henry Morrow, Indian agent of Utah, wrote to the Washington office and informed his superiors of the Indians' true feelings regarding removal: " T h e Indians do have their attachment to their present location and their determination not to be driven from it, and at their request I write to the Department. "2* Regardless of the Indians' convictions, the BIA did not favor allowing them to remain in their native valley. In response to Morrow, Commissioner Smith stressed that it would " b e impossible to give the Indians a title to Skull Valley." Smith, who did not support the 1863 Goshute treaty, argued that establishing a reservation for the Goshutes would be too expensive and only add to the BIA's already heavy expenditures. He did not advocate forced removal, however, but maintained instead that the Skull Valley band, having witnessed the benefits brought by reservation life, would move voluntarily to an established

22J. W. Powell and G. W. Ingalls to CIA, J u n e 18, 1873, pp. 98-102, \n Anthropology oftheNuma, ed. Don D . Fowler and Catherine S. Fowler (Washington, D . C : Smithsonian Institution Press, 1971). 23"Report of J . W. Powell and G. W. Ingalls," Executive Documents, 43d Cong., 1st sess., 1873-74, Serial 1601, p . 426. 2*Henry A. Morrow to CIA, J u n e 30, 1873, p . 1 (R 904, Utah, M 234), R G 75, NA.

Profile for Utah State History

Utah Historical Quarterly, Volume 55, Number 3, 1987  

Utah Historical Quarterly, Volume 55, Number 3, 1987  

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