Shattered glass in flour given to the Timpanogos Native Americans by Mormons.
For years now Native Americans have passed on their own history to the next generation through the oral traditions of story telling. For years now they have not been believed or taken seriously. Yet time and time again science, history, and anthropology studies have both surprised and proven Native American stories to be accurate. Truth does not simply exist because someone of a certain ethnicity writes it down. Truth does not suddenly become truth because other people finally validate it. Truth simply is, and this is the truth of Timpanogos Nation.
“It was the summer of 1847 our lives would be changed, a new people would come, not like the “big hats” of old. These people would build fences, claim lands and disrupt our culture and way of life. Bringing confusion as they spoke of their God and peace while sharing sacks of flour laced with broken glass. Brigham Young said “You can get rid of more Indians with a sack of flour than a keg of powder.” Destroying us with what appeared to be acts of kindness. As our Timpanogos tribal leaders Kanosh, Tabby, Washakie, Little Wolf, Wanship, Little Chief, Kone, Blue Shirt, Big Elk, Opecarry, Old Battestie, Tintic, Sowiet, Angatewats, Walkara, Graspero and others extend their hospitality to Brigham Young and his followers, they were unaware of the bloodshed that would follow, some 150 bloody confrontations between 1847-70.”
“By the year 1909 most of our leaders were killed many of them in the Black Hawk War, our population decreased from approximately 70,000 to about 1,300. Today our population is close to 900. The newcomers called us the “Lamanites” the chosen people, we were chosen to walk knee deep in the blood of our ancestors…”
“The time has come for the truth to be spoken. We are still here. We will not be brushed aside. We the Timpanogos people are the indigenous people of Utah, we are Shoshone. The blood of our ancestors cries out to us. They must be remembered for who they really were.” Chief Executive Mary Murdock-Meyer Timpanogos Nation Snake – Shoshone Utah Territory
“Illa Chivers, Great granddaughter of Wy-ve-dah and Rachel, Illa as a young girl was an excellent horse rider, she did all the tricks as seen in the old Buffalo Bill shows as her grandmother Annie Reed rode in the Buffalo Bill shows. Illa shared the story of her family getting a sack of Flour from the Mormons, when Old James Reed saw the flour he dumped some of it on the table and brushed his glove covered hand across it exposing the broken glass fragments hidden inside. She always warned against taking food from Mormons because of this. She dedicated most of her adult life to research to help “the people”. TimpanogosTribe.com Ancestors (I’ve been advised the website is no longer being maintained. Here is a link to some of the archived info: http://archive.li/lCnq4)
A few days ago I shared a quote spoken by Brigham Young as he preached a discourse in the Tabernacle. I was unable to write much beyond sharing his quote (I will share it again at the end of this blog post for those who haven’t yet read it). It triggered some painful memories of things I had been taught about while I was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Teachings about why God punished the “Lamanites” and swept them from the land to make way for more righteous white people. Teachings about why so many Native Americans were killed and how it was the fault of their ancestors for turning their backs on God and becoming an evil people (Book of Mormon). Not only are Native American’s NOT LAMANITE, but the history between Mormons and indigenous peoples is also one that at times is not anything like members are taught. Everything I had been taught was either twisted or an outright lie.
Could this be true? Did Mormon leadership really lace flour with glass and give it to families? Did a prophet of God direct and sanction such an action? So I looked for more evidence of how the Timpanogos were viewed and treated.
“On January 31, 1850, Wells drafted orders for Captain George D. Grant to exterminate the Timpanogos, known as Special Order No. 2. The decision was the result of a meeting with Isaac Higbee, bishop of Fort Utah, together with the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Higbee reported conflict between the pioneers and the Timpanogos, and it was unanimously decided the only way to keep Fort Utah would be to exterminate the Timpanogos.”
“The initial detachment commenced battle on February 8, 1850 under Captain Grant. However, after hearing reports of poor attitude of the settlers in working with Grants’s troops, Brigham Young asked Wells to lead a detachment. On February 11th, Wells arrived and split the army into two. One contingent followed the trail of some Timpanogos who had fled up Rock Canyon. Wells led the other contingent south towards Spanish Fork river. He divided them into smaller parties and searched the southern valley for native peoples to kill. On February 14th, at Table Rock near the southeastern shore of Utah lake, one of the smaller hunting parties captured a band of Utes. Lieutenant Gunnison of the Stansbury Expedition reported that the Mormons promised to be friendly to the Timpanogos men, but then lined up the men to be executed in front of their families. Some attempted to flee across the frozen lake, but the Mormons ran after them on horseback and shot them. At least eleven Ute men were killed. In total, one militia man and an estimated 102 Timpanogos were killed.” Wells’s Special Order No. 2, Utah State Archives, State Capitol, Salt Lake City, Utah Territorial Militia Correspondence, 1849-1863, ST-27, Microfilm reel 1, Document No. 5 Eugene E. Campbell. Establishing Zion.
Brigham Young is quoted saying, “I say go [and] kill them. . . . Tell Dimick Huntington to go and kill them—also Barney Ward—let the women and children live if they behave themselves. . . . We have no peace until the men [are] killed off—never treat the Indian as your equal.” BYC, Microfilm reel 80, box 47, folder 6. Farmer, Jared (2008). On Zion’s Mount: Mormons, Indians, and the American Landscape. Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674027671.
Though I have empathy and understanding for members of the church who do not know their own history, it in no way compares to my empathy and frustration for those who have been harmed by the actual actions by leadership in the church. Covering up history, lying about it, and claiming the stories and heritage of Indigenous people continues to this day. The Indigenous peoples have a right for their history to be spoken. No more hiding it as if the image of the church is more important than the truth. The Timpanogos people are real and living people today, with their own voice and history. They are not “Lamanites”. Let us be honest is our dealings with our fellowman.
Here is the link to the quote from Brigham Young from earlier this week: Brigham Young – How to rid the country of Native Americans
Wow, I had no idea. I want to look into all this Black Hawk War stuff. As if I needed more reasons to dislike Brigham Young. Yeesh,
The thing that really gets me is Brigham gets the credit, but he was just a voice for everyone who felt the same. And he was no prophet. He was far from alone, and had tons of support.
Young was despicable. It makes me sick to see his statue all over Utah. You have expressed compassion toward Mormons who do not know the truth, and I feel the same way, until having a chance to hear it, they close their ears in willful ignorance, then my compassion is exhausted for that person. They can then rot in their cult with my blessing I have no more time for them.
Thank you for writing this blog, I am enjoying it very much.
Thank you. So glad you are enjoying the blog!
Yes, it is exhausting when people willfully ignore truth and history, especially from “official” sources. Sadly I was like that, but when you are raised thinking you have the truth…
I was once a Mormon and did not know the way that Bringham Younge treated the Natives. A man of God would never do that. Thought about returning to church once but now that I know this I will never go back.
Claiming to be a man of God, or even claiming something is legal – does not mean it is moral. Slavery was legal in Utah, signed into Utah law by Brigham Young, and Indigenous children paid the price. Not moral. Indigenous history is so buried most members have no idea. Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Means a lot.
Did You Know that in most indigenous peoples that the Young and Elderly ate first. A time loop of Mr Young having to watch helplessly as his own infant’s die with blood gushing from both ends, would be a fair HELL. I can fairly say from experience that It was never something I thought about during sacrament or during my time beyond the vail (A Hairy man touched my nuts and renamed me SHEM for the ‘Book of life’ in the LA temple in 1990). The reason Melchizedek holders don’t acknowledge this is because of ‘Blood Atonement’ or It’s better to kill them than let them become ‘minions of Satan’ those who are not ‘Children of GOD’. That this why this little inconvenient thing called the FIRST COMMANDMENT does not apply.
It was the thought of cheating on my future wife in Heaven that undid my brainwashing (I was single 20 years ago when I broke off from Mormonism). Jellyfish have been around 550 million years longer than GOD and they have a great aspect on how to treat one another. IF you need help trying to decide what is actually Wrong and Right, Just BE A JELLY FISH MY FRIENDS.
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Life to come in Heaven, the kind you mention, was also one of my first steps out. Having kids made it even harder to accept. Wake up call. Not for me, not for my kids.
Wonderful and insightful information on lost history. Once again, thank you for the straightforward message. I am wondering if you have other social media platforms other than FB? IG in my opinion is a more user friendly platform for reaching other demographics (i.e. younger, browner, queerer). Let me know if it’s something you’ve got or are interested in. I’ve been thinking about doing something in regards to Utah history and spatial awareness of where things happened. A lot of people have a hard time putting into context what it means to have a population displaced, where they go and who moves in.
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Thank you. And yes, I am definitely interested. I’ve set up a tik tok, but have not quite decided what content I would load or how I would present it. I have instagram, but that too was slow moving. Mainly due to concern of believing family who followed me. I’ve moved slowly while balancing believing family. But I have wanted to branch out for sure, and increase my IG. Also, I’ve been considering a podcast with another Indigenous exmo. Would love to hear any thoughts you have! Feel free to pm me anytime.
Interesting reading you presented. I would like to learn more about this subject. Could you recommend a book for me to read?
Hi Ruth Ann, With the shattered glass in the flour please note that in LDS sources Brigham Young is not recorded as directly saying “glass in flour,” however he does state that flour kills Indigenous people. He just isn’t recorded as saying how flour kills Indigenous people. The main source for the glass in the flour is the Timpanogos people themselves. It is on the Timpanogos Tribe website, as they are the ones who experienced and recorded this happening. I am not sure if there are books that record this history, I will check with a few historians who work on Utah history and see if they know any. Might take a few days to get back to you. However, there are a number of books that can help people who want to understand Indigenous history in Utah better. I’ll get that list together for you and post it soon. Thank you, Sarah
My heart is hurting. Thank you for writing this. I spent all day every day on my horse Sundance riding Timpanogas. I always wondered where the tribe was. I want to know more about the Timpanogas tribe. What are some good resources? CJ King
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I’ve understand. It isn’t easy to learn history from a different point of view. Resources can be difficult to find on specific tribes also. I know the Timpanogas Tribe has a website with historical information there – which I linked in sources. Also, there is a few good sources on Black Hawk war specifically in Utah, let me know if you want more info there. Warning, it gets heavy. I had to take a long research break after that one.
I think I’d recommend the book: A History of Utah’s American Indian edited by Forrest Cuch to start.