Termination’s Legacy by R. Warren Metcalf describes how the federal policy of termination irrevocably affected the lives of a group of mixed-blood Ute Indians who made their home on the Uintah-Ouray Reservation in Utah.
Following World War II many Native American communities were strongly encouraged to terminate their status as wards of the federal government and develop greater economic and political power for themselves. During this era, the rights of many Native communities came under siege, and the tribal status of some was terminated. Most of the terminated communities eventually regained tribal status and federal recognition in subsequent decades. But not all did.
The mixed-blood Utes fell outside the formal categories of classification by the federal government, they did not meet the essentialist expectations of some officials of the Mormon Church, and their regaining of tribal status potentially would have threatened those Utes already classified as tribal members on the reservation.
Skillfully weaving together interviews and extensive archival research, R. Warren Metcalf traces the steps that led to the termination of the mixed-blood Utes’ tribal status and shows how and why this particular group of Native Americans was never formally recognized as “Indian” again. Their repeated failure to regain their tribal status throws into relief the volatile key issue of identity then and today for full- and mixed-blood Native Americans, the federal government, and the powerful Mormon Church in Utah.