Brigham Young believes mistreatment of Indians led to their violent behavior towards emigrants and others.

Jan 6, 1858
Brigham Young

Brigham Young, Letter to James W. Denver, January 6, 1858, CR1234 1, Church History Library

Brigham Young, James W. Denver, John Gunnison, John Doyle Lee
James W. Denver

I quote from a letter written to me by John D. Lee, Farmer to the Indians in Iron and Washington Counties. "About the 22nd. Of Sept. Capt. Franchers & Co. fell victims to the Indian's wrath near Mountain Meadows; their cattle and horses were shot down in every direction; their wagons and property mostly committed to the flames." Lamentable as this case truly is, it is only the natural consequence of that fatal policy which treats the Indians like the wolves or other ferocious beasts. I have vainly remonstrated for years with travellers against pursuing so suicidal a policy, and repeatedly advised the Government of its fatal tendency. It is not always upon the heads of the individuals who commit such crimes that such condign punishment is visited, but more frequently the next company who follow in their fatal path become the unsuspecting victims, through peradventure entirely innocent. Of this character was the massacre of Capt. Gunnison and party in 1853. He was friendly and <un>suspecting, but the emigrant company, who immediately preceded him, and had committed a most flagrant act of injustice and murder upon the Indians, escaped unscathed causing the savage feeling and vengeance which they had so wantonly provoked to be poured upon the head of the lamented Gunnison. Owing to these causes the Indians upon the main traveller's roads leading from this Territory to California have become quite hostile so that it has become quite impossible for a company of emigrants to pass in safety. The citizens of this Territory have frequently compromised their own safety and otherwise peaceful relations which the Indians by interposing in behalf of travellers, nor can they be expected to be otherwise than hostile so long as the travelling community persist in the practice of indiscriminately shooting and poisoning them as above set forth.

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