American Indians have been at the center of Mormon doctrine from its very beginnings, recast as among the Children of Israel and thereby destined to play a central role in the earthly triumph of the new faith. The settling of the Mormons among the Indians of what became Utah Territory presented a different story—a story that, as told by the settlers, robbed the Native people of their voices along with their homelands.
The Whites Want Everything restores those Native voices to the history of colonization of the American Southwest. Collecting a wealth of documents from varied and often-suppressed sources, this volume allows both Indians and Latter-day Saints to tell their stories as they struggled to determine who would control the land and resources of North America’s Great Basin. Journals, letters, reports, and recollections, many from firsthand participants, reveal the complexities of cooperation and conflict between Native Americans and Mormon Anglo-Americans. The documents offer extraordinarily wide-ranging and detailed perspectives on the fight to survive in one of Earth’s most challenging environments.
Editor Will Bagley, a scholar of Mormon history and the American West, provides cultural, historical, and environmental context for the documents, which include the Indians’ own eloquent voices as preserved in the region’s remarkable archives. In all these accounts, we see how some of western North America’s most colorful historical characters recorded their adventures and regarded their painful stories—and how, in doing so, they bring light to a dark chapter in American history. Ranging from initial encounters through the 1850–1872 war against Native tribes, to recitations of Mormon millennial dreams continued long after Brigham Young’s death in 1877, this is history as it happened, not as some might wish it had, at long last returning the original owners of today’s Utah, Nevada, and Colorado to their rightful place in history.