Robert Gehrke on YouTube: Wellsville Sham Battle 2017

Northwestern Band wants city to stop fake 'battle' with residents dressed as 'Indians'

The Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation is calling on a city in Utah to stop hosting a fake "battle" in which residents dress up as "Indians" and attack settlers.

The so-called "Sham Battle" has taken place every year in Wellsville for more than a century but is receiving renewed attention after columnist Robert Gehrke wrote about it in The Salt Lake Tribune. A video he posted on YouTube shows locals riding horses -- some with paint on their faces and bodies and others in headdresses -- who terrorize a group of "pioneers" until others waving the American flag stop the purported attack.

“Enough’s enough today,” Northwest Band Chairman Darren Parry told The Tribune of the event.

The Ute Tribe, through its Ute PAC, the Utah League of Native American Voters and the Peaceful Advocates for Native Dialogue and Organizing Support are staging a demonstration in Wellsville to call attention to the display. The Rally Against Racism, Ignorance, and False History takes place on September 20, during the next meeting of the city council.

Gehrke's name may be familiar to some in Indian Country during his days as a reporter for The Associated Press. He covered the Cobell trust fund lawsuit and other Indian issues when he was based in Washington, D.C.

Read More on the Story:
Northwest Shoshone want American Indian vs. Mormon ‘Sham Battles’ to stop, but Wellsville mayor hopes for ‘compromise’ (The Salt Lake Tribune September 9, 2017)
Native American groups call Wellsville Sham Battle an ‘ignorant’, ‘racist portrayal’ (Fox News September 7, 2017)
Wellsville Sham Battle draws criticism, debate over history (The Idaho State Journal September 9, 2017)
A column ignites controversy over a local tradition (The Cache Valley Daily September 11, 2017)

The Opinion:
Robert Gehrke: It’s 2017, but people in Utah still put on ‘redface’ for an inaccurate re-creation of an American Indian vs. Mormon battle (The Salt Lake Tribune September 6, 2017)