Davis County project aims to preserve histories of area’s Indigenous people

Mar 13, 2024, 10:47 PM | Updated: 10:54 pm

SYRACUSE — A new project in Davis County is preserving the histories of the region’s Indigenous people.

The Davis County museums are asking for the public’s help in gathering stories and artifacts from the area’s first settlers.

“A lot of times Indigenous voices have kind of been buried or kept out of mention in historical records but a lot of times families will have them in their own personal records, in their journals rather than the historical record,” said Neldon Hamblin, museum curator at the Syracuse Regional Museum. “It’s really important that we include them in the history of the region since they were here long before us and it’s good to have their voices in the overall history of the area.”

The Indigenous Presence in Davis County project is compiling information from journal entries and artifact discoveries of the Shoshone, Ute, Paiute and Goshute people that lived in what became Davis County.

“Say your grandpa was ploughing his field and he dug up an arrowhead, if you have something like that, contact your local museums and we can talk about that with you and see if you want to put it on loan or donation,” Hamblin said.

The information is being uploaded to an interactive map that will launch in April for the public to access.

“We aren’t going to put exact locations to preserve artifacts if they are still things in those areas but it shows the general location of Indigenous sites whether it’s settlements or where artifacts were found … where Indigenous history lines up with Davis County,” Hamblin said.

He said many of the map’s data points have been contributed by Shoshone tribal historians who hope new submissions will help them trace the geographic locations of their ancestors.

Community members can contact the Davis County museums if they’ve discovered artifacts on their properties, found accounts in family histories, or have photographs that depict the presence of American Indians.

“The primary group in this area was the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone, who lived along the northern portion of present-day Utah, southern Idaho and Wyoming,” Hamblin said. “Alongside them we also had Utes towards the southern part of Davis County, as well as some Paiute and Goshute activity.”

man sits at a computer with a map of Davis County

Neldon Hamblin of the Syracuse Regional Museum is helping record and preserve the history of the region’s Indigenous people. (KSL TV)

Hamblin said the museums are not looking to repossess the artifacts, but they want to know “what they were and where they were found so we can paint the picture of where everyone was.”

Additionally, each of the county’s eight museums is planning exhibits that will showcase the history of Indigenous peoples in their city. Community members are welcome to contact their local museum if they have artifacts that they would like to loan for the display.

For more information you can email Neldon Hamblin at nhamblin@syracuseut.gov or visit the Davis County Museums’ Facebook page.

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Davis County project aims to preserve histories of area’s Indigenous people