Well, here is my modest and somewhat impromptu contribution to this most excellent series. Pratt’s Autobiography offers the reader some interesting perspectives about his views on race and native populations. This great series inspired me to dust off my copy of the Autobiography and give a brief look at how Pratt deals with these issues on his Chilean Mission. For time and other constraints, I have not done the extensive reading or thought that this topic merits, but I offer the following, very preliminary, observations as food for thought.
Parley P. Pratt was set apart as President of the Pacific mission in 1851 and left for Chile via California on March 16, 1851 in company with other missionaries. Pratt?s description of the Indians they encounter on the route to California illustrates a hierarchy of civilization and savagery perceived by the Mormon travelers. In Southern Utah, the company stopped at the Red Creek settlement (present day Paragonah) which was buzzing with activity according to Pratt. Pratt observed that the Indian servants there were ?just being tamed and initiated into the first rudiments of industry.?
Moving on from Red Creek, Pratt observed that ?The country through which we have passed is a worthless desert, consisting of mountains of naked rock and barren plains, with the exception of here and there a small stream, with feed sufficient for our cattle.? In this wilderness, the company missed two head of cattle. Pratt attributed it to Indian theft. Moving out to the Muddy River, and a more inviting terrain, Pratt observed that the Indians in that area ?already? grew wheat and corn. These Indians had advanced farthest in their progress toward ?civilization.? Pratt and his company would soon encounter, however, an untamed contingent of Indians as their camp came under attack by a barrage of arrows from ?the savage mountain robbers.?  The language he employs is perhaps an allusion to the Gadianton Robbers of Book of Mormon fame who, it was believed, had inhabited (and still haunted) that region of Southern Utah. As further evidence of their savagery, their arrows fell ?promiscuously among men, women, children, and cattle.? From ?savage? and ?promiscuous? to ?just being tamed? to ?already? cultivating the ground, Pratt reveals a progression of redemption for the Indians of southern Utah–a redemption that was tied more to (at least in this instance) cultural expectations than to religious.
At times, it seems, Pratt seemed to tie his notions of landscape with that his views of its inhabitants. The naked, barren mountains invoke images of the practically naked, shorn-headed Gadianton Robbers and their modern descendants while the fertile, comely, and industrious oases with their ?tame? and industrious Indians hearken back to the Nephites who were industrious and labored with their hands and to the People of Alma, who were industrious and tilled the soil in the land of Helam (Mosiah 23:5).
Pratt’s view of his world was steeped in cultural attitudes which may have often been reinforced as well as shaped by his reading of scripture.
 Parley Parker Pratt, Autobiography, Scot and Maurine Proctor, eds., 476.
 Pratt, Autobiography, 478.
 See W. Paul Reeve, ??As Ugly as Evil? and ?As Wicked as Hell?: Gadianton Robbers and the Legend Process among the Mormons,? Journal of Mormon History 27:2 (2001), 125-149.