45 years ago today - Jul 15, 1975-Tuesday

[Leonard Arrington]

Floyd O'Neill and [Greg] Thompson from the University of Utah Western Study Center came in my office this morning to bring copies of Utah: A Hispanic History. I presented to Floyd the matter of Brigham Young's letters to Indian chiefs and asked his advice on publishing them. He counseled me not to publish them. He said it would only bring trouble to the Church. The militant Indians would flay it as condescending and cultural imperialism. It could not do any good, he thought.

He said he was not familiar with Larry Coates or his work. He said he would also counsel me against publishing minutes and records of meetings between Brigham Young and Indian chiefs except that where there is no surface condescension. [H]e thought it might be desirable for us to publish some of these in professional historical journals but not submit it to Indian History, which is controlled by the militants../ He said the word Indian is a good one to use as a collective term. Native American people is also acceptable. The term Lamanite is objected to severely by the militant LDS and others[,] mildly disapproved by a large proportion even of LDS members. He said that LDS members will not complain about the term to Church officials, but they do privately to him-they do not see its appropriateness in this day and age. It is an ancient term pertaining to an ancient people. ...

He said the state of Indian-White relations today is such that "you're damned if you do and damned if you don't" and to get involved you have to have a pretty thick skin. He said his own skin was thick, but he attempted to use wisdom in all that he did.

[Confessions of a Mormon historian : the diaries of Leonard J. Arrington, 1971-1997, Gary James Bergera, editor, Signature Books, 2018]

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