The war, however, was futile. Brigham Young sent out word to "fort up," and to curtail the trading of arms and ammunition to the Utes. And not all Utes were united in the controversy. In March 1854 Young sent major E.A. Bedell, the federal Indian agent, to meet with Wakara and other Ute leaders. Bedell was to inquire if they would treat with Young for the sale of their land. During the meeting with Bedell, Wakara stated that "he would prefer not to sell if he could live peacefully with the white people which he was anxious to do."
In May, Young and several other Mormon Church leaders and their families went on a tour of southern Mormon settlements. Presents were sent to Wakara and arrangements made for him and other Ute leaders to meet Young and his party at Chicken Creek. The issue of Mormon occupation of Ute lands was not settled; however, Wakara agreed to peace. The treaty was never formalized by federal government action, but Wakara kept his word. He died of pneumonia on 28 January 1855. The story of his body being buried with his goods, including horses and young Indian slaves, has become the stuff of legend.
See: Conway B. Sonne, World of Wakara, (1962); and Gustive O. Larson, "Wakara's Half Century," The Western Humanities Review 16 (1962).
Tina Kelley and Kathryn L. MacKay