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Native groups migrated in and out of Utah for millennia. In the 1800s the Utes, Shoshones, Paiutes, Goshutes, and Navajos--all immigrants at one time or another--lived here.
Mormons became the first surge in a continuous stream of non-native immigration. Many were from Europe. These settlers took control of the land and its resources.
people from Asia, Europe, Mexico, and the South Pacific immigrated here, along with African Americans. Often they came to find work in mines, on railroads, on farms, or elsewhere.
Maybe it’s human nature, but when new peoples arrived, the earlier immigrant groups often despised and oppressed the newcomers.
Some more-recent immigrants are refugees from violence in places like Bosnia, Sudan, Burma, and Tibet. And of course lots of people still come here simply in order to work—and help their families survive. No one knows how many of these have come illegally.
so today's difficult immigration issues are not particularly new. From the entry of the Latter-day Saint pioneers into Utah until now, immigration has always rattled the status quo and caused tensions.
The Otanez family lived in a boxcar on the Salt Flats in the 1920s. At the age of five, Lupe Otanez was caring for her younger siblings and helping to clean and cook. Read about Lupe’s life.
We all have our own “tribe”—and it’s easy to look down on people who are different. Read more.
Read Pamela Atkinson’s comments on how to overcome “tribalism.”
See Helen Papanikolas’s superb essay on Utah immigrants.
Immigrants to Utah slideshow