supernatural world of the Paiutes revolved around the activities of
Wolf and Coyote. Wolf was the elder brother and the more responsible
god, while Coyote often acted the role of the trickster and troublemaker.
Stories of the activities of these and other spirit animals generally
were told in the winter.
first recorded contact between Utah Paiutes and Europeans occurred in
1776 when the Escalante-Dominguez party encountered Paiute women gathering
seeds. In 1826-27 Jedediah Smith passed through Paiute country and established
an overland route to California. Trappers, traders, and emigrants on
their way to California soon followed. The increased presence of Europeans
and their animals had serious effects on the Paiutes. The animals of
the emigrants ate the grasses and often the corn that served as food
for the Paiute. The Paiutes, especially young women and children, became
commodities as mounted Utes and Navajos raided for slaves to trade to
the Euro-American travelers posed a threat to the Paiutes, it was the
arrival of the Mormons in the 1850s that destroyed their sovereignty
and traditional lifestyle. The Mormons came to stay, and they settled
in places that had traditionally served the Paiutes as foraging and
camping areas. As a result, starvation and disease drastically reduced
the Paiute population. Between 1854 and 1858 the Mormons conducted a
fairly intensive missionary effort among the Paiutes.