Read more here.
Without the full text* it is hard to assess the totality of what Elder Jensen sought to convey, but the report suggests a deviation from the standard Pioneer Day fare and an effort to reach out a hand of compassion and remembrance to those that are so often the forgotten or misremembered [see yesterday’s post by David G. on Pioneer Day and remembering/forgetting Utah’s Indian Wars] in Utah Pioneer history. One section from the report stands out to me:
“Regardless of how one views the equities of Indian-Mormon relations in those times, the end result was that the land and cultural birthright Indians once possessed in the Great Basin were taken from them,” he said. “What we can do, the least we can do from a distance of 160 years, is to acknowledge and appreciate the monumental loss this represents on the part of Utah’s Indians. That loss and its 160-year aftermath are the rest of the story.”
If I understand his message correctly, Elder Jensen here takes the “monumental loss” of Utah’s Indians and positions it in a potentially uncomfortable (for some) place next to the triumphalist narrative of Utah Pioneering as “the rest of the story.” I take this as a very welcome invitation to broaden the collective memory of Utah’s Pioneer legacy. The result could only be, among other things, a greater sense of humility and compassion–attributes which I’m sure the Utah Pioneers strove to emulate, and which are much needed in a day when those two attributes are often sorely lacking.
Thank you, Elder Jensen, for these insightful remarks, and with my hope they will be had more fully.
*If anyone knows where the full text of this presentation can be found or if it is made available, please note it in the comments.