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Beneath These Red Cliffs

Beneath These Red Cliffs: An Ethnohistory of the Utah Paiutes

Floyd O’Neil
Lora Tom
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 222
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  • Book Info
    Beneath These Red Cliffs
    Book Description:

    Ronald Holt recounts the survival of a people against all odds. A compound of rapid white settlement of the most productive Southern Paiute homelands, especially their farmlands near tributaries of the Colorado River; conversion by and labor for the Mormon settlers; and government neglect placed the Utah Paiutes in a state of dependency that ironically culminated in the 1957 termination of their status as federally recognized Indians. That recognition and attendant services were not restored until 1980, in an act that revived the Paiutes' identity, self-government, land ownership, and sense of possibility. With a foreword by Lora Tom, chair of the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah.

    eISBN: 978-0-87421-542-7
    Subjects: Sociology, History

Table of Contents

    (pp. ix-x)
    Floyd A. O’Neil

    IN THE HISTORY of the American Indians, a number of tribal groups have consistently been neglected by the scholarly community; among them are the Paiutes, and particularly the Paiutes who have dwelt in Utah. Theirs has been neither a happy history nor an experience of heroic conflict, but rather a chronicle of enervation and hopelessness, a story of the descent from a viable tribal life to one of economic dependency and despair.

    In this volume Professor Ronald Holt makes a major contribution to the field of American Indian history and ethnography, by characterizing the Paiute experience with remarkable clarity. The...

    (pp. xi-xii)
    Lora E. Tom

    THERE HAS BEEN very little published on the history of the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah. Most historical publications simply refer to Utah Paiutes in a footnote or, occasionally, a sparse chapter. Reference volumes on American Indian tribes provide very little detail on the history of Paiute Indian bands in Utah. The Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah is composed of five constituent bands: Cedar City, Indian Peaks, Kanosh, Koosharem, and Shivwits. Though the tribe itself was created by an act of Congress in 1980, the history of Paiute Indian communities in Utah spans hundreds of years. This book, by Professor...

    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    Ronald l. Holt
    (pp. xv-xviii)

    SUFFERING HAS NOT been a stranger to the Southern Paiutes of Utah. Over the past 150 years, they have been dispossessed of their lands, have suffered from hunger and cold, have died from untreated diseases, have been targeted by Mormon missionaries, have been terminated, and have been reinstated as a federally recognized tribe.

    Their story is not only an epic of suffering, it is also a saga of triumphs, tenacity, and faith. They have met adversity with the easy dignity of a people confident in their ultimate fate. They abide and often thrive.

    In this book, I have attempted to...

  5. UPDATE, 2005
    (pp. xix-1)

    MY ASSOCIATION WITH the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah (PITU) began shortly after its formation in 1980, now twenty-five years later I find the Paiutes still caught in a paradox of change and continuity.

    When I finished the first edition of Beneath These Red Cliffs in 1991 the 503 member Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah had been restored from termination; they had a functioning tribal government and 4,770 acres of new land.¹ However, they were dependent on federal money and the good will of various agencies and individuals. When any serious question arose, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and...

    (pp. 3-31)

    IN OCTOBER OF 1776, a party of Spanish explorers led by two Franciscans, Fray Francisco Domínguez and Fray Vélez de Escalante, ventured into the red-rock country of southern Utah. At Coal Creek near what is today Cedar City, Utah, they encountered about twenty Paiute women gathering seeds. This was the first recorded contact between Utah Paiutes and European explorers. The women were afraid of the strangers, and all but two were able to run away and avoid the explorers’ questions.

    The Utah Paiutes were characterized by the early explorers as a peaceful, somewhat timid society of foragers and horticulturalists. The...

  7. 2 FROM NEGLECT to LETHARGY: The Trust Betrayed
    (pp. 32-60)

    UNITED STATES INDIAN policy has often been viewed as oscillating between two polar opposites: assimilation and segregation (Prucha 1986:64). Both the removal of tribal populations from their traditional lands and segregation on reservations, however, can also be seen, as they have even by their authors, as paternalistic strategies to save the Indians from extermination and to allow time for their assimilation to white civilization, education, and Christianity (Gibson 1980, Cave 1985:9-12). Of course one unstated goal of many in government was always the occupation and exploitation of Indian lands.

    The first official governmental contact with the Southern Paiutes came in...

    (pp. 61-97)

    FEDERAL INDIAN POLICY after World War II focused on job placement and relocation of Indians to urban areas, Indian claims, and the termination of trust status for Indian tribes. During this period a conservative consensus emerged in Congress and began to emphasize its plenary power over Indian affairs (Barsh and Henderson 1980:112-34). Returning warriors found times hard in Indian country. Vine Deloria and Clifford Lytle (1984:190) characterize these decades between 1945 and 1965 as “the barren years.”

    The central concept that drove federal policy during these years was termination, the essential ingredient of which was the revocation of the trust...

    (pp. 98-124)

    THE PERIOD BETWEEN 1957 and 1975, after the federal government had washed its hands of the Paiute problem through termination, was characterized by general neglect on the part of the State of Utah for any but the most basic needs of the Paiutes. This was a time of hopelessness and social and economic decline for the majority of the Paiute people.

    For the terminated tribes, the true impact and meaning of federal withdrawal of trust responsibility became increasingly clear. They suffered losses of land, federal expertise and legal protection, federal health and education funds to individuals, and training, housing, and...

    (pp. 125-147)

    FROM 1970 UNTIL the present (1991), federal policy toward Native Americans has been characterized by the phrases “Indian self-determination” and “government-to-government relations.” The ideas of termination and total assimilation faded from the official policy agenda, but still refused to die. Termination-assimilation remains an unspoken model for the ultimate fate of the American Indian among many policy makers.

    During the 1960s and 1970s an influx of federal money into the reservations created a period of revitalization and reorganization in Indian country. This was a time when Native Americans might realistically accomplish modest goals and improve their social and economic positions. Programs...

  11. 6 BEYOND the BIA: The Paiute Future
    (pp. 148-154)

    THE RESTORATION AND reservation process finally gave the Paiutes the opportunities that had always been available to nonterminated tribes. Nevertheless they still have a long period of work ahead of them to make up for the twenty-three years of termination. For the contemporary Paiutes, the basic policy issues are food, shelter, medical care, education, and jobs. Each one of these concerns brings families and individuals into contact with the tribal government, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, or other agencies of the federal and state bureaucracies, as well as the general economic situation of southern Utah.

    The future of the Paiutes...

  12. APPENDIX: Methods and Sources
    (pp. 155-158)