Sunday, July 3, 2016

Native American Biographies: Chief Walkara (Shoshone or Ute)

Chief Walkara was chief of the Sanpete, Timpanogos band of Indians.  There is some confusion as to whether this group was Shoshone or Ute.  Walkara means hawk in Shoshone.  This group spoke a mixture of both languages.
Walkara lead his people on a very wide migration.  He was referred to as the greatest horse thief in history.  This was a great honor among Indian people based on a society of stealing horses from one another.  Walkara's travels put him in contact with Spaniards, California Indians, Apache, Navajo and many other groups.  He gained his fame as a great horse theif by stealing many horses from the Spaniards.
With the advent of the Mormon pioneers Walkara favored driving them out of the area.  However the views of his brother, Sowiette won out.  Walkara met with Brigham Young and they negotiated a peace.  Walkara was baptized.
However, subsequent to this there was a disagreement and Walkara was involved in Walker's War.  This name refers to James Walker Ivie who killed several members of Walkara's tribe in a conflict.  This war involved raiding of several Mormon settlements.  Brigham Young asked members to move from outlying farms into forts.  However the War was short lived, and after the war, 120 members of Walkara's band were baptized into the Mormon Church.  Walkara was likely rebaptized.
Walkara died of a lingering illness, likely pneumonia, in 1855.

Sanpitch was a brother of Walkara.  He was also the father of Black Hawk.  His murder in 1866 was one of the things which sparked the Black hawk War.

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