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Beneath These Red Cliffs

An Ethnohistory of the Utah Paiutes

Ronald L. Holt

Publication Year: 2006

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.

Published by: Utah State University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. iii-iv


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pp. v


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pp. vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

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...

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Foreword to the New Edition

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pp. xi-xii

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...


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pp. xiii-xiv

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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...

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Update, 2005

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pp. xix-xxiv

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...

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1. Occupation and Dependency

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pp. 3-31

IN OCTOBER OF 1776, a party of Spanish explorers led by two Franciscans, Fray Francisco Dominguez and Fray Velez 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...

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2. From Neglect to Lethargy: The Trust Betrayed

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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...

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3. The Agony of Termination

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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...

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4. The Forgotten Tribe

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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...

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5. Restoration and Reservation

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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...

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6. Beyond the BIA: The Paiute Future

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pp. 148-154

THE RESTORATION AND reservation process finally gave the Paiutes the opportunities that had always been available to non-terminated 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...

Appendix: Methods and Sources

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pp. 155-158


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pp. 159-164


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pp. 165-186


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pp. 187-197

E-ISBN-13: 9780874215427
Print-ISBN-13: 9780874216370

Publication Year: 2006