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Lambs of Sacrifice:
Termination, the Mixed-blood Utes,
and the Problem of Indian Identity


Volume 64 Number 4, Fall 1996

In 1954 the BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS ATTEMPTED to implement policies that would halt federal supervision and trust responsibilities over several tribes of American Indians. These new policies, collectively known by the rather ominous sounding name "termination," followed the will of Congress as expressed in ²House Concurrent Resolution 108. Passed in the preceding year, this document succinctly stated the determination of Congress to make Indians subject to the same laws and privileges as other U.S. citizens and to "end their status as wards of the United States, and to grant them all the rights and prerogatives pertaining to American citizenship." "The resolution further declared that all of this was to be accomplished "as rapidly as Possible."

In due course, more than a hundred tribal groups would be subjected to the termination process. The question of how the mixed-blood Utes of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation of Utah came to be terminated is the subject of this study. These people were members for the most part, of the Uintah Band of the Ute Tribe. Their story is little known for several reasons—not the least being that scholars of American Indian history have not considered them sufficiently "Indian" to merit study. In regard they are like other mixed-blood people who have been neglected simply because they do not fall within traditional areas of inquiry. As ³Jennifer S. H. Brown recently pointed out. Anglo-American thought contains a deeply embedded kind of "racial dualism" which carries over into scholarly Dichotomies of "Indian" and "White."

The mixed-blood Ute story has also been neglected because it does not precisely fit the pattern in which Indians serve as the victims of the dominant Culture.

¹ Dr. Metcalf is an adjunct assistant professor of history at Idaho State University.
² House Concurrent Resolution 108. U.S. Statutes at Large, vol. 67, 1953.
³ Jennifer S. H. Brown. Metis Halfbreeds. and Other Real People Challenging Cultures and Categories,
     "The History Teacher 27 (November 1993): 21-2.

Read Metcalf's Full Report

NOTE:  This article lead to the publication, by the University of Nebraska Press, of the book "TERMINATION'S LEGACY, The Discarded Indians of Utah." By: R. Warren Metcalf.

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