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Washakie Letters Of Willie Ottogary

Northwestern Shoshone Journalist and Leader, 1908-1929

edited by Matthew Kreitzer

Publication Year: 2000

Writings by American Indians from the early twentieth century or earlier are rare. Willie Ottogary's letters have the distinction of being firsthand reports of an Indian community's ongoing social life by a community member and leader. The Northwestern Shoshone residing at the Washakie colony in northern Utah descended from survivors of the Bear River Massacre. Most had converted to the Mormon Church and remained in northern Utah rather than moving to a federal Indian reservation. For over twenty years, local newspapers in Utah and southern Idaho regularly published letters from Ottogary reporting happenings-personal milestones and health crises, comings and goings, social events, economic conditions and activities, efforts at political redress-at Washakie and other Shoshone communities in the intermountain West. Matthew Kreitzer compiled and edited the letters of Ottogary and added historical commentary and appendices, biographical data on individuals Ottogary mentioned, and eighty-five rare historical photographs.

Published by: Utah State University Press

Title Page

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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-xiii


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pp. xiv


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pp. xv-xviii

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pp. 1-21

"The buffalo were long gone. As Mormons and other non-Indian settlers had expanded their respective kingdoms throughout the Great Basin, indigenous seeds and other food sources had rapidly disappeared or become unavailable. The native Shoshone bands had to adapt to the settlers’ intrusion as best they could. Some fought back against the tide of immigrants, but none were able to stop the..."

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1 “I Will Write a Few Line,” 1906–1910

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pp. 23-40

"'Tremont Times1' Tremonton, Box Elder County, Utah, August 23, 1906. Washakie, Utah, August 20, 1906. Mr. Sherman,2 Dear Sir.— I will write a few line, But I not to much writing for them because I am so busy to write one story. Well we have good condition so far. No one sick. Our harvesting is over last week, and soon start up threshing probably next..."

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2 “Willie Ottogary Breaks Silence,” 1911–1913

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pp. 41-64

"'Willie Ottogary Breaks Silence' Washakie, January 25, 1911. Now then I will write a few lines for the Journal. But we all well and happy as ever, and school is very nicely this winter, and boys and girls are learning pretty fast. But they are much [more] number as used to be, about 3 or 4 years ago. Mr. James Joshua built nice home this fall. . . . We have raise a good crop this..."

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3 “I Am Going Tell Some News,” 1914–1920

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pp. 65-98

"Washakie, January 13, 1914. Our boys been rabbit hunting every day, They slaughter. . . about 3 or 4,000 thousand rabbit. They was hunting for scalp. They made pretty good money. Well, Mr. George P. Sam nearly done his house. I hope he will have a good home, and Mr. Thomas Tybooty [Thomas Tyboatz] helping him on his house every since before Xmas and N. Year. . . . Mr. Quarretz Wongan sick in bed. He was..."

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4 “I Will Start on My Stories,” 1921–1922

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pp. 99-124

"Washakie, January 7, 1921. The people at Washakie are good condition. But some of the boys was big rabbit hunt out there to Blue Creek before the Christmas time.. . . Mr. Lewis Corsium lost his son before Christmas time. He was died at Garland and under care such long time. He was buried 27 day of December in Washakie cemetery. Our people didn’t celebrate on the Christmas time on account the boy been..."

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5 “We Expect Get Some Land from Our Big White Pop in Future Time,”1 1923–1924

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pp. 125-155

"Washakie, January 4, 1923. . . . We had a very nice New Year’s programme. . . .After the programme was close have children dance in the ward meeting house. And evening was a grand ball for the old folks, and the very body is enjoyed. But our days school is running very nice. Well sir, Mr. Yeager Timbimboo and his wife went up Idaho on the New Year..."

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6 “You People May Read My Writing Long as I Work,” 1925–1926

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pp. 156-198

"Washakie, January 7, 1925. The weather getting warmer here . . . [but] the snow good enough good sleighing for this winter. This will be a last about two month or more. I expect we have a good crop of wheat next year. But the lot more snow up on the mountainside yet. We haven’t got much hay for our stock this winter. We might lost some of our stock. . . . Some of us not got money to buy hay with because our crop is fail last year. The people is very poor this winter. Well some our people..."

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7 “Our People Haven’t Got Any Land for Their Own,”1 1927–1929

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pp. 199-241

"Washakie, January 5, 1927. We have a lovely weather here yesterday. It is feel all most like spring weather. But the night is pretty cold now. The is five inch snow here now. We held New Year programme here . . . and evening was a big dance for every body. . . . We haven’t fighting down Salt Lake City for such long time. But..."

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pp. 242-248

"When I read Mark Twain’s classic yarn of the West, Roughing It, I found it entertaining reading but negative in its treatment of the Shoshoneans of Utah and Nevada, whom he called 'the wretchedest type of mankind . . . ever seen.'1 Twain’s perspective was undoubtedly influenced by late nineteenth century Social Darwinism, which viewed Indians and other ethnic groups collectively as lower..."


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pp. 249-265


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pp. 266-279


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pp. 280-284

Biographical Register and Index

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pp. 285-321

Subject Index

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pp. 322-331

E-ISBN-13: 9780874218558
Print-ISBN-13: 9780874214017

Page Count: 400
Illustrations: 85 photos
Publication Year: 2000

Edition: 1st Edition