Editor’s Note: Phillip B. Gottfredson in a volunteer historian for the Timpanogas nation. He is the author of “Black Hawk’s Mission of Peace,” published in 2019. He lives in Arizona but spends summers in Utah.
Contrary to statements when the Sanpitch monument was unveiled and the report on the unveiling in the Sanpete Messenger, Sanpitch was not Ute!
Chief Sanpitch (Tenaciono) was a son of Chief Moonch. He became the father of Black Hawk, and was a brother of Timpanogos leaders Wakara, Sowiette, Arapeen, Ammon, Tobia (Tabby) and Grospeen.
Tabby was the principal chief of the Timpanogos at the time when Sanpitch was killed. Sanpitch was a sub-Chief of Tabby.
The Timpanogos Tribe was first discovered in Utah Territory by Spanish explorers Juan Rivera in 1765 and later by Dominguez and Escalante in 1776.
They describe coming in contact with “the bearded ones,” the Eutahs, who spoke the lan- guage of the Snake-Shoshone and called themselves “Tim- panogostzis.” They lived by a lake (Utah Lake) they named Timpanogos.
Dominguez and Escalante named the area “El Valle de Nuestra Señora de la Merced de Los Timpanogos” (translation: The valley of our Lady of Mercy of the Timpanogos). (Source: “Dominguez Escalante Journal, Their Expedition Through Colorado Utah Arizona and New Mexico in 1776,” by Ted J. Warner, Timpanogos Nation).
“Turunianchi the Great” was the leader of the Timpanogostzis. Cuitza-pun-inchi, Pan-chu-cun- quibiran and Picu-chi were his brothers. Turunianchi had a son named Moonch. Moonch was the father of Chiefs Sanpitch, Yah-Keera (Walker), Arapeen (father of Jake Arapeen), Tabby, Ammon, Sowiette, Kanosh, and Grospeen, who were known as the “Royal Bloodline.”
Six of the eight brothers were the uncles of Black Hawk, who was the son of Sanpitch.
The Timpanogos are indigenous to the Wasatch of Utah. Chief Executive Mary Murdock Meyer of the Snake-Shoshone Timpanogos Nation, who is a direct descendent of Chief Arapeen, generously provided proof that the Timpanogos are the living descendants of the “Royal Bloodline’” of Chiefs San- pitch, Wakara, Arapeen, Tabby, Ammon, Sowiette, Grospeen, Black Hawk and other acclaimed leaders in the Utah Black Hawk War such as Kanosh and Tintic.
Their lineage is documented by birth and marriage records, death certificates, Indian Agency records and treaties. And the Timpanogos have filed thousands of pages of historical records with the U.S. Department of the Interior going back to 1765.
The Timpanogos are not Ute. The Timpanogos and Ute are distinctly different Tribes in origin, ancestral bloodlines, language and customs. The Utes are not Shoshone and are not related to the Timpanogos, a centuries-old band of the Shoshone.
The Black Hawk War ended in 1872. In 1879, the Colorado Ute Tribe killed a corrupt U.S. Indian agent Nathan Meeker. In 1881, as punishment for the “Meeker Massacre,” Congress forced the Colorado Ute Tribe to leave their home and assigned them to the Uintah Valley Reservation in Utah as “prisoners of war.”
The Ute Nation does not recognize Sanpitch, Wakara, Arapeen, Tabby, Ammon, Sowiette, and Grospeen as their Chiefs. Why would they? They were principal Chiefs of the Timpanogos. They do, however, recognize Chief Ouray, Chief Colorow and Chief Ignacio, who were the principal chiefs of the Colorado Utes.
Phillip B Gottfredson