The story of the Latter-day Saints and Native Americans is kept alive in inispiring artwork.
When Latter-day Saints arrived “in the top of the mountains” (Isa. 2:2) in 1847, a number of Native American tribal groups already lived in some of its valleys. Regarding their new neighbors, President Brigham Young taught that kindness and cooperation were the goals. Among the Shoshone Indians near today’s Utah-Idaho border, missionaries found some success, and Chief Washakie was one of those baptized. In addition, some Utes, Piutes, Gosiutes, and Navajos joined the Church in the years ahead.
In the 1860s, President Young sent Jacob Hamblin and others to southern Utah to begin missionary work among Native Americans. The missionaries, including some new Piute converts, taught the gospel to the more populous Hopi, Navajo, Apache, and Pueblo tribes of Arizona and New Mexico.
Hopi leader Chief Tuba and his wife were among the earliest Hopi converts. They spent several months in pioneer settlements of southern Utah seeking to learn from the Latter-day Saints. Subsequently, Chief Tuba invited some of them to bring their families and settle next to his village of Moencopi in what is now Arizona. The pioneers named it Tuba City in honor of this faithful Hopi convert.
Today the American Southwest is one of the great art-producing areas of the world. Native American art includes pottery, weaving, and jewelry. Among the most talented artists are Latter-day Saints who express their testimonies through their work.
Following is some artwork focusing on the story of the Latter-day Saints and Native Americans.
Excellence in Art
“We must recognize that excellence and quality are a reflection of how we feel about ourselves and about life and about God. … Real craftsmanship … reflects real caring, and real caring reflects our attitude about ourselves, about our fellowmen, and about life.”—President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985), “The Gospel Vision of the Arts,” Ensign, July 1977, 5.