Alvin Richardson Denver

Terminated Mixed Blood Uinta, Roll #87

Read the Native Voice Article

Alvin (Sonny) Richardson Denver was born June 24, 1920 in Fort Duchesne on the Uintah and Ouray Reservation. As a child He spoke the language of the Uinta's until He was forced to attend the local Government school in Whiterocks Utah, where as a child He was punished for speaking his native language and for having long hair and braids, which they cut off!

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Alvin at the age of 12

At this time of His life He was enrolled as a full blood member of the Ute Indian Tribe. After completing elementary school in Whiterocks, He was sent to the Sherman Indian school near Fallbrook, California where He spend two years. From there they sent him to a Trade school near Phoenix, Arizona, where He was taught to operate heavy equipment.

After completing training in Arizona, he returned to the U & O Reservation where in 1938, He met and married Naomi May Houtz of Roosevelt, Utah. Right around 1939 or 1940 He went to the Shivwitts (Southern Piute) Reservation in southwestern Utah and operate heavy equipment. In January 1942, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Alvin enlisted in the military, as did quite a number of the young men from the U & O Reservation. He signed up with the Navy's newly formed Construction Battalion (Seabee's.) After his training, He was sent to the South Pacific with the 116th Construction Battalion to the Island of New Guinea, where he worked on the build up for the invasion of the Philippines. After the War ended, the Navy sent him to Shoemaker, Calif. where he was discharged. The Navy offered Alvin the rank of Chief Petty Officer (E7) if he would re-enlist. But he told them no, where I'm going they got lot's of Chief's.

In 1948, Alvin was given an assignment of land by the Ute Tribe south of Mt. Emmons, Utah, for his service in the war. For some nine years, He tried to build Him and his Family a Ranch. But after the passage of "The Ute Partition Act" in 1954, His dream was shattered. He tried for about three year after that event to make it work, but in 1957 the land that was assigned to him was sold out from under him with out his knowledge and they were forced off this land. In the years that followed Alvin worked on construction project building roads thru out Utah and Wyoming operating heavy equipment mainly on interstate 15 and 80.

In 1965 after the work on the Interstate highway system was almost completed, Alvin and Naomi moved to Taft, California where their oldest Daughter Flora and her Husband were living. While living is Taft, he made quite a name for himself as one of the best equipment operators and Mechanics in the area. Naomi and Alvin made many close friends and was active in the Veteran of Foreign Wars (V.F.W.) where they traveled extensively thru out California attending different events for all the Veterans of War.

Alvin and Naomi spent 19 years living in Taft, CA, which were the most productive and happiest years of their lives. In 1984 at the age of 64 Alvin and Naomi retired and moved from Taft to Texas so they could be near their youngest Daughter Sheila. Then in 1986, they returned to the Land of their birth, the Uintah Basin, where they plan to live out their lives. Alvin and Naomi has five children two boys, Alvin Richard (not junior) and Earl Stanley. Three Girls, Flora Jean, Roberta Lee and Sheila. 19 Grandchildren, 42 great grandchildren and 4 great-great grandchildren. On September 18, 2004, they celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary

Alvin (Sonny) Denver
Alvin, Age 83,
June 2003

If it hadn't been for Termination, Who knows what their lives could have turned out to be. After being forced to moving off His land in Mt. Emmons, Oil was discovered. Alvin's oldest Son was the only one of his kids that was enrolled as a member of the Ute Tribe when "the Ute Partition Act was passed, The other four, born between 1940 and 1950 on the Reservation, were not included when the final roll was published! Alvin wasn't aware of this until after it was too late to do anything about having his four younger children's names listed on the final roll!

Cut off from his identity as an Indian and branded a Mixed Blood because of the Ute Partition Act of 1954 (H.R. 671.) This was the thanks given to Him as a veteran of World War II. He not only had His Identity and Dignity taken away, but also His land and was forced to move from the land of his birth and has had to endure the discrimination forced upon him and his Children! On November 20, 2004 Alvin (Big Sonny) left this world and walked the Spirit trail.

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