The most recent issue of Mormon Historical Studies arrived in the mail today (Fall 2011, 12:2). I was thrilled to see that one of the essays included is Elder Marlin K. Jensen’s July 24, 2010 Sons of the Utah Pioneers Sunrise Service lecture which we drew attention to here nearly two years ago (also, see David G.’s related post about Remembering and Forgetting Utah’s Indian Wars). At the time, many expressed a hope that his remarks would be published in full, and thanks to Mormon Historical Studies, that hope is reality. I will be providing a longer review of the issue in the next few days, but I wanted to note the inclusion of this talk and provide this excerpt which is given under a bolded heading:
The Loss of a Birthright
“The mere rehearsal of the history of federal management of Utah’s Indian affairs only adds to the sadness in telling the rest of the story. Regardless of how one views the equities of Indian-Mormon relations in those times, the end result was that the land and cultural birthright Indians once possessed in the Great Basin were largely taken from them. It is important to acknowledge and appreciate the monumental loss this represents on the part of Utah’s Indians–that loss and its 160-year aftermath are the rest of the story. I feel it our duty now–from a distance of 160 years–to work until the rest of the story becomes an integral part of the [italicized] story; until Sagwitch, Wakara, Washakie, and Little Soldier take their appropriate places in Utah’s history books alongside Brigham, Heber, and Parley; until Utah’s history includes Indian history and July 24th commemorates everyone’s contribution to our state’s unique past.” (p. 24)
As another Pioneer Day draws near, it is worth taking a moment to think about the implications of Elder Jensen’s call for greater integration of the Indian story into Utah history and, even more broadly, about expanding the Mormon Pioneer story beyond the traditional narrative of the trek west.