Friday , February 01, 2013 - 4:18 PM
Imagine being in Cache valley 150 years ago and a group of soldiers came toward your encampment. I have read a lot about the massacre that
occurred on the Bear River (Jan. 31, “Soldiers ‘out to send a message’ at Bear River”). Like the Mountain Meadow Massacre, the LDS Church does not want to associate itself with this tragic event!
Indian peoples lived in the Cache valley for a millennium. When LDS people came to Utah, they did not understand the livelihood or manner of the Indians. Indians moved from place to place, following the animals, vegetables and water sources. There were no fences or title to these precious areas.
LDS members were asked to enter the Cache Valley by authorities of their church, with the purpose of following the precepts of their religion. They had no purpose of hurting Indian people who came and went from the Cache Valley. Members set up homes near water sources and good land to produce crops. The areas have been homes to Indians at different times of the year.
When Indians returned, other people were using the sites. Church members thought these lands were to be used by them, at the will of their God, and did not understand why Indians wanted to come and go on their property.
The Indians had the philosophy that if they had extra food and goods, they shared with others who were in need. They felt these strangers living on the lands could share, as they would have shared with them.
The white people didn’t understand this lifestyle and didn’t like supporting these savages, and complained to law enforcement. The military was needed because the natives were out of control.
An “Indian massacre” ensued. This was the greatest slaughter of Indians at one time by the U.S. government.
There should be a national monument honoring the Shoshone Indians! This is not the only place where the Indians have been oppressed by strangers who moved into lands that were occupied by them.
Nothing is unique to Mormons, or to Utah. Virtually every western community displaced, feared, detested, and murdered native people!
Kenneth L. Strong
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