Harvey Natchees

A hero of World War II, he believed in education.

One of the first Americans to enter Berlin in the final days of World War II was Harvey Natchees, a Ute Indian. Born on May 26, 1920, in Altonah, Duchesne County, to Edward and Vera Loney Natchees, he attended Roosevelt High School and was reportedly its first Indian graduate. On June 29, 1940, he married Clara Areep at Fort Duchesne.

In 1942 Harvey enlisted in the U.S. Army and was on his way to France shortly after D-Day. As a member of a reconnaissance battalion in the 3rd Armored Division, he participated in many battles. His valor was recognized with a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, and a Purple Heart with oak leaf cluster. When the German capital fell to Allied forces in spring 1945, Natchees was featured in many newspapers as the first American in Berlin. He later took United Press journalists on a jeep tour of conquered territory.

Discharged from the Army in October 1945, Natchees returned to the Uintah-Ouray Reservation. On July 24, 1946, this war hero and his wife, Clara, rode in the Pioneer Day parade in Salt Lake City and received the cheers of thousands.

A rancher, a member of the Ute Tribe business committee, and superintendent of the tribe’s water department, Natchees also worked to promote education as a solution to many problems facing his people. He died on June 15, 1980, of a heart attack and was buried in the Fort Duchesne Cemetery with military honors.