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The Timpanogos Tribe

The Timpanogos


Long before Spanish explorers ventured North and exiled Mormons migrated West, Utah Valley was home to the Timpanogos Nuche (people). They lived, for the most part, to the east of what is now known as Utah Lake (it was first known as Lake Timpanogos). The fresh water lake was bursting with fish -- trout, chubs, and June suckers. 

Much of that water came from the Wasatch Mountains -- down snow-blanketed slopes, dissolving into the Provo River (then called the Timpanogos River), and finally into the sprawling, sparkling 24-mile lake. 

The Timpanogos band was small but fierce. At their peak -- an estimated 1,000 in total -- however, they were one of the larger groups of Native Americans in the Mountain West. 

They were known, first and foremost, as a fishing people, forming small clusters alongside the river and the lake.


While one of its most prominent chiefs in the mid-1800s, Chief Walkara, was more nomadic -- commonly seen on horseback with a rifle and great pageantry, leading a band of followers across the Great Basin, pulling off heists, making deals with Spanish and Mormon leaders, most Timpanogos remained closer to home. 

It was understandable why. Not only was Utah Lake and the Provo River brimming with fish, the mountains provided additional food sources -- game and berries -- as well as a kind of fortress from outsiders.




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