As the subject has been broached concerning the Indians, I will take
the liberty to make a few remarks, and with all due deference and
respect to my brethren, and especially to brother George A., who has
last spoken to you. I am under the necessity, to satisfy my own
feelings, to deviate from his remarks a little. I will not say,
however, that I shall deviate from his real feelings, though I may
from what is conveyed in his remarks.
I wish to say to this congregation and to the inhabitants of the
Territory of Utah, in connection with the travelers that are passing
through, If the whites in their character and position with the
intelligence and knowledge of the world and of mankind which they
have, had been as kind to the Indians as they have been to the whites
from the beginning, there never would have been a single difficulty to
this day. I wanted to make that assertion, for it is verily true.
If the inhabitants of this Territory, my brethren, had never
condescended to reduce themselves to the practices of the Indians (as
few of them have), to their low, degraded condition, and in some cases
even lower, there never would have been any trouble between us and our
This is the key to the whole of it. Young men, middle aged, and boys
have been in the habit of mingling with the Indians—of going to their
camp and trading with them a little; and they have tried to cheat
them. They have sat down in their wickeups and talked with them in the
most ludicrous manner: they have gambled with them and run horses with
them, and then have taken a game of fisticuff with them. If they had
treated them as Indians and as their degraded conditions demanded, it
would have manifested their superiority, and a foundation for
difficulties would not have been laid.
Brother George says he knows what I have said is true. He did not
explain his real feelings on this matter.
Allow me to say a word in behalf of Walker. I tell this congregation
and the world that "Indian Walker," as he is called, has not been at
the foundation of the difficulties we have had. He has had nothing to
do with them. I told you so last summer, and I tell it to you now. I
know it from that which is within me. Has he done no wrong? I did not
say he had done no wrong. He has been angry, and felt at times that he
would like to destroy this people; but I do know that he has been held
by a superior power. At the very commencement of the fuss, he was not
in favor of killing the whites.
When Kiel was killed, the Indians were still in the canyon; and when
the whites followed them, they could have killed every man; but Walker
said, "No—they shall not be killed." Arapeen took his San Pete squaw
and his favorite horse, and killed them, and said, "If God is
satisfied, I am."
Who are the guilty Indians? A few bad men, who thirst for
blood, who do not have the Spirit of the Lord, but love to steal
Indian children and kill one another—who love to steal from each
other and kill anybody or everybody. A few of them we know. But I tell
you, Walker has not been the cause of the Indian war. But the Lord
will work out the salvation of his people, if they do as they are
told. I tell the brethren who live out from this city that the Indians
are friendly and wish to make treaties.
Now is the time to build forts and pastures for cattle by ditching and
walls. Let the community arise and build large pastures. I am far more
afraid of white men stealing our cattle than I am that the Indians
will. Go to, now; and do not scatter, but gather.
When men are oppressed, it is in their own hearts and feelings: it is
not because oppression comes upon them from any other quarter, that
they are dissatisfied. They are not satisfied with themselves—that is
the trouble. They may go to the States, to California, or anywhere
else, and they will not be satisfied; but they will always be
dissatisfied, until they can leave themselves behind. But as long as
they must take themselves with them, they will never be without the
cause of their dissatisfaction.
They ought to have left self behind them when they started to come
here, and have come with a view to build up the kingdom of God. All
those who have come to these valleys with such feelings are satisfied.
They have always been satisfied, and always will remain satisfied so
long as they retain that good intention and do not again bring back
I want to say a few words on Indian character. When one tribe of
Indians are at war with another, if a few sally out and kill a warrior
of the opposite party, that tribe will watch their opportunity, and
perhaps go and kill men, women, and children of the other tribe. They
do not care whom they kill, if they can kill any of the tribe. This
has been taught them from age to age. The inhabitants of the United
States have treated the Indians in like manner. If but one person or
only a few were guilty of committing a depredation upon a white
settlement, they have chastised the whole tribe for the crime, and
would perhaps kill those who would fight and die for them.
But no mercy can be shown the poor Indians. No. "We will kill the
whole of you, if we can," instead of hunting out those who have
committed the depredation, and chastising them according to their
deserts. We must shun this practice, and teach them that the man who
has committed the depredation is the man that must pay the penalty,
and not the whole tribe. It is our duty to teach them good morals and
the principles of the Gospel of Christ. We are their saviors.
As I have done all the time, I tell you again today, I will not
consent to your killing one Indian for the sin of another. If any of
them commit a depredation, tell the tribe to which they belong that
they may deliver up the man or men to be tried according to law, and
you will make friends of the whole tribe. They have men among them
they would be glad to have dispatched. For instance, there is a man at
Utah called Squash-head: it is said he has made his boast of taking
father Leman's child and killing it. We know the other Indians wish he
was dead: they do not like to kill him, for fear of their own lives.
They would like to have that man tried and hung up for the murder of
We must pursue a different course with the Indians than we have
pursued heretofore; and when we do the best we can and all we can,
the Lord will do the rest of it, if the people will do as they
are told. You have not been counseled to follow them into the
mountains, for there are not soldiers enough here to contend with them
there and kill one hundred of them. Though we could raise twelve
thousand men, and should send them into the mountains, and let them
undertake to follow the Indians on foot, where their horses could not
find footing, the Indians would escape from them, in spite of their
efforts, and steal all their horses into the bargain, and laugh them
to scorn. If we wished to destroy them, the only way would be to set
deadfalls and traps.
They came pretty nigh starving to death last winter; and they now see,
if they are driven from these valleys in winter, they must perish;
therefore they now want to make good peace. Treat them kindly, and
treat them as Indians, and not as your equals.
I have fed fifty Indians almost day by day for months together. I
always give them something, but I never forget to treat them like
Indians; and they are always mannerly and kind, and look upon me as
their superior. Never let them come into your houses, as the whites
did in Utah [County]. There they would let them lounge upon their
beds, until finally they would quarrel and become angry, if the women
would not let them lounge upon their beds. Great, big, athletic
fellows would want to go into the wickeups of the "Mormons," and
lounge upon their beds, and sit on their tables and on their chairs,
and make as free as though they belonged to the family. When their
familiarities became oppressive to the whites, and they desired them
to leave their houses, it made them angry, and I knew it would. This
is the true cause of the Indian difficulties in Utah.
I say to the brethren who live in the country, Treat the Indians
kindly; and now is the time to finish your forts, and make them
doubly strong; and then go to with all your might and prepare places
to keep your cattle, that neither white nor red man can possibly
steal them from you. If you want to know how strong to build your
forts and your cattle yards, I will answer you as I did the brethren
when we left Nauvoo. They wanted to know what kind of lariats they
must provide, and how securely they must tie their animals. I said,
"Tie them so that the Devil cannot get them." Secure yourselves,
so that you can lie down and sleep in peace and be comfortable. Now is
the time for us to make efforts to build places of safety.
Our meeting has continued about as long as we wished it. The brethren
will sing, and we will adjourn till tomorrow morning at ten o'clock.