Historic American Indians in Utah

Historic American Indians
in Utah
Presented by B. Page
Pre-Historic Vs. Historic
 Pre-Historic
peoples have no
written history
 Historic peoples
do have a written
Native History
 Native Americans have lived in and around
Utah for thousands of years.
 Their way of life changed dramatically when
other groups of people entered Utah.
 These groups included:
Spanish explorers
Catholic priests
Fur trappers
Native History Continued
 These people wrote about the American
Indians they met in their journals and diaries.
 Do you think these written accounts by
explorers or pioneers accurately represent
how the Indian people lived and how they felt
about things?
Who Are They?
 Ute
 Shoshone
 Goshute
 Paiute
 Navajo
Relationships Between Tribes
 “Tribal boundaries were
important and were
usually respected. If a
person from an enemy
band or tribe came onto
their land, the intruder
might be taken prisoner
or killed. Some tribes
were more friendly to
newcomers than other
tribes, depending on the
time and the situation.”
 –Utah: A Journey of
Discovery p. 53.
The Utes
 The word “Utah” comes from
the Ute word for “top of the
 The Utes were the largest
tribe in Utah. Their tribal
area covered most of the
central part of the state.
 The Utes lived in fertile
valleys near the mountains
and lakes.
The Utes: Survival
 “Nuche [Utes] traveled with
the seasons. They went to
high mountains in the
summer, living by hunting
small and big game animals
and birds, fishing and
gathering a variety of
berries, nuts, seed, and
plants . . . Hunting, fishing,
and gathering sites were not
owned . . . [they were]
communal [shared] and
granted to all.”
 --Larry Cesspooch, a Ute
The Utes: Hunting
 The Utes used horses
for hunting and carrying
heavy loads.
 When they hunted
buffalo, they used every
part of the animal.
Some uses are:
Fur for blankets
Skin for tepees and
Meat for food
The Utes: Home Life
 Utes lived in tepees of
buffalo skin and tall poles.
 Tepees could be taken down
and carried easily.
 A fire was built in the center
for cooking and warmth.
Smoke escaped through an
opening in the top of the
 Bands of as many as 200
people lived in large tepee
villages near streams, rivers,
or lakes.
The Utes: Families
 Finding and preparing
food was the most
important task of all
members of a Ute
 When young women
reached adulthood, they
would participate in a
Bear Dance where they
would find their future
The Utes: Children
 In addition to a formal
name, a Ute child was
given many nicknames
during their life.
 Children were highly
valued and everyone
shared the responsibility
of raising them.
 If twins were born, it was
considered bad luck.
Often, one or both twins
were allowed to die.
The Utes: Clothing
 Clothing was often
made of animal skins.
Sometimes the fur was
still attached.
 Other clothing was
made from woven
grasses and bark.
 To protect their feet, the
Utes wore shoes from
animal hides or sandals
of woven reeds.
The Utes: Religion
 The Utes believed that the
earth was created by a spirit
who lived in the sky.
 They also believed that
every living in the world had
a spirit.
 The Ghost Dance
represented the return of all
who had died as a result of
contact with non-Indians.
 Pictured here is a typical
Ghost Dance dress.
The Shoshone
 The Shoshone lived in the
mountains and valleys of
northern Utah.
 The name “Shoshone”
means “valley dwellers.”
 Today, many Shoshone live
on the Fort Hall Reservation
in southeastern Idaho, which
they share with the Bannock
 Perhaps the most famous
Shoshone was Sacagawea,
the woman who led Lewis
and Clark through the west.
The Shoshone: Survival
 In the mountains and valleys
where the Shoshone lived,
food was all around them.
However, they had to follow
the animals, so they were
called “nomads.”
 Like the Ute clans, the
Shoshone hunted animals
such as buffalo, deer, and
antelope and gathered nuts
and berries for food.
 They also raised horses for
hunting and moving around.
The Shoshone: Home Life
 The Shoshone also
constructed tepees from
animal hide and poles.
 This picture shows a
tepee that has been
painted, perhaps with a
clan or family symbol.
 Some other Shoshone
bands dug shelters out
of hillsides.
The Shoshone: Families
 Men and women had
equally important roles.
The men hunted and
served as chiefs, or
leaders, of the bands.
Women raised children
and gathered plants.
 Like other Native
Americans, the
Shoshone did not spank
or punish their children.
The Shoshone: Children
 Children did not have
formal schooling. They
learned by working
alongside adults and by
listening to songs and
 Many children would
made balls of hide and
rabbit hair or dolls to
play with.
The Shoshone: Clothing
 The Shoshone’s
clothing was almost
identical to the Ute’s.
Animal skins and woven
grasses made most of
their clothing.
 In the winter, women
would often wear a
special robe made of
about forty woven rabbit
The Shoshone: Clothing Continued
 Beadwork was also an
important part of
Shoshone clothing and
ceremonial items.
 Pictured here are
beaded moccasins and
a ceremonial peace
pipe with beaded bag.
The Shoshone: Religion
 The Shoshone believed
in one being called
Duma Appáh, Our
Father, or the Creator.
 Each morning the
Shoshone faced the
sun in the east and
sang a prayer to Appáh.
 Appáh was said to have
created Earth with the
help of the animal
creatures, especially
The Goshutes
 The Goshutes lived in
the central Great Basin
area of Utah.
The Goshutes: Survival
 The Goshutes lived in a
very dry land with little
rain. They were able to
find uses for more than
100 desert plants.
 The Goshutes were
hunter/gatherers. They
also ate roasted
 The Goshute often dug
for roots. For this
reason, white men often
called them “root
The Goshutes: Home Life
 The Goshutes lived in
wiki-ups, small brush
covered shelters, during
the warmer months.
 However, in the winter,
they would often move
to caves or more sturdy
The Goshutes: Families
 The Goshutes hunted
together in family
groups and would often
cooperate with other
family groups that
usually made up a
 Men usually did the
hunting, while women
gathered plants and
The Goshutes: Children
 Goshute children
helped their mothers
gather plants, seeds,
and insects.
The Goshutes: Clothing
 In the winter months,
rabbit skin blankets
were used for warmth.
 Because the Goshute
lived in the desert, they
did not need much
clothing during the
summer months.
Men wore
Women wore aprons
or grass skirts
Twig sunshades often
worn on heads
The Goshutes: Religion
 Like all Indian tribes,
the Goshute held a
great respect for the
earth, the spirits, and
their fellow living
The Paiutes
 The Paiutes lived in the
southwest corner of
The Paiutes: Survival
 Like the Goshutes, the
Paiutes lived in a very
dry region with little
 Like all Utah Indian
tribes, the Paiute were
also hunter/gatherers.
 Some Paiutes irrigated
some crops including
corn, beans, squash,
and wheat.
The Paiutes: Home Life
 The Paiutes also lived
in brush wiki-ups in the
summer and caves
during the winter.
 They lived in large
family groups found in
small villages.
The Paiutes: Families
 Small family groups
would travel separately
collecting seeds,
berries, roots, and
hunting small animals,
deer, mountain sheep,
elk, and fish.
 These groups met and
intermarried with other
Paiutes, as well as
other Indian tribes.
The Paiutes: Children
 Children helped their
parents gather food
goods to be stored for
the winter.
 Children learned from
their parents and
grandparents about
animals, plants, and
The Paiutes: Clothing
 Similar to the Goshute
people, the Paiutes had
very little use for
clothing in warm
weather. Often during
the summer, Paiute
children would wear no
clothes at all.
 During the colder winter
months, everyone wore
shirts and used
blankets made of rabbit
The Paiutes: Religion
 A Paiute man named
Wovoka introduced the
Ghost Dance, a
religious movement that
spread throughout the
 The Ghost dance
represented the return
of all Indians who had
died as a result of
contact with nonIndians.
Ghost Dance Continued
The Navajo
 The Navajo called
themselves the Dinè, or
“the people.”
 The Navajo lived in the
southeastern corner of
Utah, below the San
Juan River.
 Many Navajo today live
on a reservation in that
same area.
The Navajo: Survival
 The Navajo used
horses for hunting and
carrying heavy loads.
 They also raised sheep
and goats.
 Some clans closer to
the San Juan River
practiced irrigation and
The Navajo: Home Life
 The Navajo lived in
hogans. They
considered their homes
to be a symbol of
spiritual connection to
Mother Earth.
 Hogan doors always
face east to meet the
morning sun.
 Hogans were placed far
apart; there were no
The Navajo: Families
 The most important person
in a Navajo family is the
 Women own the house, the
sheep, the goats, and any
wages earned from weaving.
 Men own the horses, the
wages earned from their
jobs, and any items or
money they brought into the
 Navajo men and their
mothers-in-law are not
allowed to talk to-or even
look at-each other. This
custom probably reduces the
number of family arguments!
The Navajo: Children
 Children play an
important role in a
Navajo family. Even
when they are very
young, Navajo children
care for some of the
family’s sheep or help
with grown-up chores.
 Each Navajo child is
given a secret “war”
name by the parents,
used only for special
religious ceremonies.
The Navajo: Clothing
 The Navajos sheered
wool from their sheep
and made it into yarn.
 The yarn was then dyed
from plants to make
 The dyed yarn was
woven into rugs,
blankets, and cloth.
The Navajo: Religion
 Navajo religion is sometimes
called “The Way.”
It is a code of behavior for
everyday life, not just weekly
Ceremonies are called
One of the most important
ceremonies is called the
Nightways are nine day
healing ceremonies. Sand
paintings are made as part
of the Nightway.
Navajo Sand Paintings
Native Languages
 American Indian groups
spoke many different
 When trappers and explorers
met them, none of the tribes
had written alphabets. Many
Indian languages have
become extinct because
they were not written down
or passed on.
Native Language Continued
 Each tribe had legends
and myths that were
passed down through
an oral tradition of
Many myths were
about animals
Others were called
creation myths
End of an Era
 The coming of white men
forever changed the life of
American Indians in Utah.
 The new people brought new
tools and ideas, as well as
new diseases.
 The Indians and settlers
worked to get along,
although they did not always
 Today, American Indians, like
this Ute Medicine Man, strive
to keep the traditions of their
past alive.