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On Zion's Mount

Mormons, Indians, and the American Landscape

On Zion's Mount

Mormons, Indians, and the American Landscape

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Paperback / softback

£24.95

Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674047433
Number of Pages: 472
Published: 10/05/2010
Width: 15.6 cm
Height: 23.5 cm
Shrouded in the lore of legendary Indians, Mt. Timpanogos beckons the urban populace of Utah. And yet, no "Indian" legend graced the mount until Mormon settlers conjured it-once they had displaced the local Indians, the Utes, from their actual landmark, Utah Lake. On Zion's Mount tells the story of this curious shift. It is a quintessentially American story about the fraught process of making oneself "native" in a strange land. But it is also a complex tale of how cultures confer meaning on the environment-how they create homelands. Only in Utah did Euro-American settlers conceive of having a homeland in the Native American sense-an endemic spiritual geography. They called it "Zion." Mormonism, a religion indigenous to the United States, originally embraced Indians as "Lamanites," or spiritual kin. On Zion's Mount shows how, paradoxically, the Mormons created their homeland at the expense of the local Indians-and how they expressed their sense of belonging by investing Timpanogos with "Indian" meaning. This same pattern was repeated across the United States. Jared Farmer reveals how settlers and their descendants (the new natives) bestowed "Indian" place names and recited pseudo-Indian legends about those places-cultural acts that still affect the way we think about American Indians and American landscapes.

Jared Farmer

Jared Farmer is Associate Professor of History at Stony Brook University and author of Glen Canyon Dammed: Inventing Lake Powell and the Canyon Country.

On Zion's Mount is a well-researched, thoughtful exploration of how landscape is produced by societies as a result of certain historical conditions. The book deserves praise for challenging memories that are built on first forgetting. -- Tom Harvey Salt Lake Tribune 20080628 This is not a conventional history of Mormon-Indian relations during the second half of the 19th century. Rather, Farmer offers an intellectual interpretation of the Utah Valley and its most identifiable landmark--Mount Timpanogos, which towers above Provo and Orem. He also explains how white people (mostly Mormons) created pseudo-Indian legends that strengthened white claims while reducing the indigenous Ute attachment to the landscape...[Farmer] compares similar legends throughout the nation and explains how they were created to reflect the prevailing ideologies of the day. As an intellectual and cultural investigation, this book ably weaves diverse fabrics of history and folklore into an understandable whole. -- M. L. Tate Choice 20090301 Just as Mt. Timpanogos is more than a simple landmark, this book is far more than the history of a mountain peak...Farmer weaves together multiple historical narratives to produce a book that is both intellectually rigorous and pleasurably accessible...This work is a study in American and Mormon pioneering and Mormon-Indian relations even as it serves to explicate the intricate relationship among geography, memory, and societal construction in the years following that initial pioneering...He has written a book that will engage historians of multiple fields and will make significant contributions to multiple historiographies. -- John P. Bowes American Historical Review 20081201 This splendid volume is a tour-de-force of historical scholarship that all lovers of Utah history will want to read...Ambitious, imaginative, theoretically sophisticated, and highly engaging, this volume tells the story of the creation of Mount Timpanogos as a cultural landmark and the concomitant fading of Utah Lake and the Lake Utes from most Utahns' historical memory...This book's breadth, wit, eloquence, and creative reinterpretation of local history in light of key developments in American cultural history make it a must-read. -- Brian Q. Cannon Utah Historical Quarterly 20090101 On Zion's Mount is an important book for historians of the American West and the nation as a whole. It offers an engaging look at how twentieth-century American popular culture configures, and then reconfigures, place as the stage upon which all history takes place. -- Richard G. Francaviglia Journal of American History 20090301

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