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History of Native American Indians in Utah

Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia (Links Added)

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In a series of treaties with the Shoshone, Bannock, and Goshute in 1863 and with the Ute and Southern Paiute in 1865, the federal government moved to extinguish Indian land claims in Utah and to confine all Indians on reservations. The Goshutes refused to leave their lands for either the Fort Hall or Uintah reservations. They lived on in the west desert until granted a reservation in the 1910s. Likewise, the Southern Paiute refused to go to the Uintah Reservation and eventually settled in the uninhabited hills and desert areas of southern Utah. In the early twentieth century the Kaibab, Shivwits, Cedar City, Indian Peaks, Kanosh, and Koosharem groups of Southern Paiutes finally received tracts of reserved land. The small number of Navajo living in Utah increased dramatically following the conquest and imprisonment of the Navajo at the Bosque Redondo in New Mexico between 1862 and 1868. Many moved to the San Juan and Monument Valley regions of Utah, which became part of the Navajo Reservation in 1884.

In 1871 the federal government ended the practice of making treaties and instituted a legislative approach to administering Indian affairs. In 1887 Congress passed the Dawes General Allotment (or Severalty) Act, aimed at breaking up Indian reservations into individual farms for tribal members and opening the rest for public sale. Policy makers intended to detribalize native peoples and turn them into yeoman farmers and citizens; but the policy was largely a failure. Indians resisted farming and most reservation environments limited agrarian success. Allotment did, however, break up the Indian estate. In 1897 and 1904 the Indian Bureau allotted the Uintah and Ouray reservations. Tribal land holdings fell from nearly four million acres to 360,000 acres, and individual sale of Indian allotments further reduced Northern Ute lands. Nationwide, Indians lost more than eighty percent of their lands by 1930. Poverty, unemployment, underdevelopment, and health problems plagued most reservations, and Native Americans became ever more dependent on the federal government.


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