White River War

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The White River War, also known as the Ute War, was fought between the White River Utes and the United States Army in 1879, resulting in the forced removal of the White River Utes and the Uncompahgre Utes from Colorado,David Rich Lewis, Neither Wolf nor Dog: American Indians, Environment, and Agrarian Change (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), 48. and the reduction in the Southern Ute bands' land holdings within Colorado. The war signalled the final defeat of the Utes in Colorado, and opened millions of new acreage to white settlement.Dee Brown, Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1971), 387-89.


Maj. Thomas Thornburgh led a command of three cavalry companies (about 150 men) in response to a request for assistance by the US Indian Agent of the White River Agency, Nathan C. Meeker. Meeker had been attempting to convert the White River Utes to agriculture and Christianity, and had angered the Utes by plowing a field they used to graze and race horses. After an altercation with some Utes, Meeker had sent to the army for assistance.Peter R. Decker, "The Utes Must Go!": American Expansion and the Removal of a People, (Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing, 2004), pp. 115-19.

The main incidents of the war took place on September 29, 1879. Maj. Thornburgh advanced with his command across Milk Creek onto the White River...
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