Utah Stories from the Beehive Archive

Goshute Draft Resistance

Goshute Draft.jpg

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Goshute Draft Resistance


Goshute Indians in Utah were vocal resisters of the draft during World War I. 

In 1917, a little less than a month after the United States entered the maelstrom of World War One, a bill passed Congress requiring all male residents of the country between the ages of twenty-one and thirty-one to register for the draft. Indians on reservations, however, such as the Goshute Indians that lived on the Deep Creek reservation in extreme east central Utah, were exempt from military service, though they apparently were still required to register.

The irony of enrolling themselves for potential military conscription after years of federal neglect was not lost on the Deep Creek Goshutes. When Amos Frank, superintendent of the Deep Creek Indian Agency, pressed the issue of registration, the Goshutes armed themselves, prompting Frank to wire Washington for troops. In time, things quieted down, though when Indians from Nevada started appearing on the reservation, fears reached a boiling point and Frank brought troops in from Fort Douglas to quell what he had begun to characterize as a Goshute insurrection.

On February 20, 1918, the soldiers from Salt Lake motored into Ibapah on the Utah-Nevada border and soon were rounding up Goshutes suspected of rebellion. Come evening, the soldiers were on their way back to Salt Lake with a handful of prisoners, who, after several weeks in captivity, were eventually set free having pledged to respect Superintendent Frank’s authority.


Brandon Johnson Utah Humanities © 2009


Image: Salt Lake Tribune Photograph, Feb 22, 1918 identifies the men, left to right, as Jim Straight, alex steele, Lou Murphy, Marshal Aquila Nebeker, Tweedy Baker, Jack Tomoke, and Annie's Tommy thus leaving one unnamed, possibly man at left rear who appears to be a uniformed soldier. Courtesy of Utah State Historical Society.

See Dennis R. Defa. “The Goshute Indians of Utah,” in The History of Utah’s Indian Tribes, ed. Forrest Cuch (Salt Lake City: Utah Division of Indian Affairs and Utah State Division of History, 2000); David L. Wood, “Gosiute-Shoshone Draft Resistance, 1917-1918” Utah Historical Quarterly 49 (Spring 1981): 70-95.


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