History ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 7-2022


This project uses the Bluff War of 1915 and the Posey War of 1923—both of which took place in southeastern Utah—to look at the complex relationship between race, religion, and culture in American Indian policy at the beginning of the twentieth century. It shows how White Mesa Utes, local Mormon settlers, the federal government, and Progressive activists used the conflicts to argue the place of Indians in a “frontier-less” America. It also examines the complex relationship between Mormons and Indians and draws conclusions on how that relationship was influenced by an American government which sought to assimilate “others” into the American mainstream at the turn of the twentieth century. This project draws on the ideas of settler colonialism to evaluate the extent to which federal power and religion contributed to American race-making projects in the Progressive Era.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Samuel Truett

Second Committee Member

Durwood Ball

Third Committee Member

David Prior

Fourth Committee Member

Todd Kerstetter




American West, Indigenous, Mormon, Religion, Progressive Era, Settler Colonialism

Project Sponsors

Charles Redd Center, Bilinski Foundation, UNM History Department, Institute for American Indian Research, Center for Regional Studies

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