Kanosh had taken over leadership of the Pahvant group from Chuick, a leader more eager to fight the invading Mormon settlers. Perhaps Kanosh's willingness to work with non-Utes came out of his experiences working in the missions of California. Whether that work was voluntary or part of the long-standing slave trade of Indians into the Spanish settlements is not known. Certainly, the physical characteristics of Kanosh and others of the "Bearded Utes," as Escalante had called the Pahvants in the 1770s, suggest generations of contact with the Spaniards. Kanosh spoke Spanish and seems to have had a facility for languages, as he also easily picked up English.
Kanosh represented the Pahvant Utes at the signing of the treaty with Brigham Young which signalled the end of the Walker War in 1854. A year later, federal Indian Agent Garland Hurt established four Indian farms, including one at Corn Creek where Kanosh's band had a major camp. (Pahvants with other leaders camped at Sevier Lake.) Kanosh and several other Pahvant families took up farming. In 1858 Kanosh was baptized a Mormon and he occasionally preached from Mormon pulpits, including the following: "I wish to do right and have my people do right. I do not want them to steal nor kill. I want to plant and raise wheat and learn to plow. . . . I want to learn to read and write and have my children learn."