When the white settlers first arrived in Utah, Tabby was a young man but
already a leader of one of the many bands of Utes in central and
eastern Utah. Despite early conflicts in Utah Valley and more serious
outbreaks in the 1850s led by Chiefs Wakara (Walker) and Tintic, the
settlers and the Native Americans under Chiefs Sowiette and Tabby lived
in relative peace. Tabby-To-Kwanah, whose name means Child of the Sun,
and his people interacted peaceably with the whites for several years.
However, by the early 1860s white-Indian conflicts intensified and the
federal government decided that the Native Americans should be placed on
reservations for mutual safety and so the settlers could occupy more
land. The treaty of 1865 relegated the Uintah Utes to the Uinta Basin.
If the Indians would move there they would receive payment for their
land—including the Indian farms at Spanish Fork and Sanpete they were
giving up—and services and supplies from the government. Sixteen chiefs
signed the treaty, but Congress did not ratify it. The treaty goods and
money were never delivered, and the Indians continued to roam in search
of food. For Chief Tabby and his people, who traditionally located
seasonally in the Uinta Mountains and Basin, the transition was not as
difficult as for some bands, but all were distressed when the government
did not deliver their "presents" and they faced constant hunger. Many
Indians, angry about being forced off their native lands, rebelled under
Chief Black Hawk. The more peaceful ones went with Tabby to the
reservation and avoided bloodshed, although greatly disappointed in the
word of the white man.