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The Utes Must Go!: American Expansion and the Removal of a People Paperback – April 1, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

Review

a powerful story, told with craft and gripping narrative -- Syd Nathans, Associate Professor of History, Duke University

About the Author

Peter R. Decker was a professor of history and public policy at Duke University before becoming a prominent western rancher, with holdings in Ridgway, Colorado, and Lewellen, Nebraska. He is the director of the renowned National Western Stock Show in Denver and serves as the chair of the board of trustees for Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. He is also the author of Old Fences, New Neighbors, a book about the San Juan Mountain region of Colorado.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Fulcrum Publishing (April 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555914659
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555914653
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #746,093 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Written by Peter R. Decker (Professor of History and Public Policy at Duke University), "The Utes Must Go!": American Expansion And The Removal Of A People encompasses three centuries of Ute Indian history, as it chronicles the involuntary removal of the Ute Indians from Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming. Its title drawn from a newspaper advertisement championing the removal of Utes in the Denver Tribune, "The Utes Must Go!" is a powerful true drama of a proud people who suffered from pioneer settlement and racisim, and who also experienced tragedy from misguided intentions, such as Indian Agent Nathan Meeker's ill-fated attempt to turn Indian hunters into farmers, which brought about tragedy at Milk Creek in 1879. A colorful and detailed account, offering glimpses into figure thats made their mark on history such as Colorado Governor Frederick Pitkin, General William T. Sherman, newspaperman Horace Greeley, and much more. A well-researched, fact-filled, and undeniably attention-gripping in its depiction of raw territorial and colonial greed.
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Peter R. Decker has written a magisterial, riveting work about the removal of the Ute Indians from Colorado. He paints the American West of the mid-to late-19th century with such colorful, vivid strokes that one can't help but be transported to the "scene of the crime."
This is truly an impressive and important accomplishment of documentation and narrative. Decker's biographical sketches of the key players in the drama -- from Ute leaders Ouray and Captain Jack to hapless Indian agent Nathan Meeker, to Interior Secretary Carl Schurtz, are masterly in themselves. For sheer energy and artistry, nothing I've read on the subject approaches it.
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A searing indictment of white racial hatred, gross stupidity, avarice, and a cultural superiority complex bordering on madness, which forced Colorado's Ute people, like other Native people, off their ancestral homelands. White American history has too often had a grandiose view of its origins, conveniently omitting or minimizing duplicitous government policies and the general mood of the populace, with a few exceptions, calling for the extermination of the Utes and other tribes to make Western expansion and wealth possible. This book reveals these omissions in gripping detail and sets the historical record straight. Our children need to know that having fought and won freedom from the British and for black slaves, the US fell flat on its face and became the very tyrants they despised when dealing with Native people. This book should be mandatory reading for every high school student.
We all live on both forcefully taken and sacred ground long inhabited and revered before any white man set foot on these shores. We know where the Utes and Lakota are, but where are the Agawam & Nipmuc (MA), the Ponca & Kansa, the Chinook (WA)? Native people today have yet to fully recover from the sordid beginnings of the US. We owe an immeasurable debt to them, not only financially for treaty funds mismanaged but spiritually as we belatedly see the wisdom in their deep respect for the land that guided them to live in harmony with it and the greater circle of life, of which humans are but one member. I pray we wake up as a people before the initial and unabated greed for short-term profits fouls our nest irreversibly.
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Format: Paperback
F. Gaia has said what needs to be said far more eloquently than I can hope to, but I want to give an independent review simply to add another 5 stars to the rating of this remarkable book. Too many Americans view the settlement of the West as John Wayne riding through Monument Valley rescuing distressed maidens in wagon trains from the depredations of red-skinned savages. This book is grounded in actual history: corrupt and greedy politicians and thugs bent on cheating the Native Americans out of the land they had occupied for centuries, signing treaties which they immediately broke,

It is of course utopian to suppose that the Native Americans could be permitted to continue to use these lands once the waves of Anglo settlers saw that there was money to be made from them, whether from corrupt agency operations, ranching, creating townships, or mining, but at least we should have the honesty to admit that the official policy of many good Christian folk was nothing short of genocide, as soon as possible. Failure to provide the food or compensation promised under the treaties, preventing the Native Americans from having access to arms and ammunition so that they could hunt, establishing reservations in areas ill-suited to agriculture (the only means of survival once the Native Americans were relocated away from their traditional hunting grounds), invading their reservations with settlements and railroads, curtailing the reservations because no one could control the Anglo invasion, and taking away Native American children to off-reservation schools where they succumbed to the white man's diseases were all effective tools in this destruction of a culture and mass extermination.
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