Geneal Anderson was born in 1952 and grew up in Cedar City, Utah and Las Vegas, Nevada. She was born into the Paiute tribe of Native Americans. Just two years after her birth, a law was passed declaring the Paiute tribe was no longer recognized nationally and their lands were no longer protected. This was part of the belief that Native Americans should assimilate to American culture. They would no longer have sovereign status and would not receive any federal benefits.
Geneal attended Brigham Young University, where she earned a bachelor degree in Administration Management. She then served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in South Dakota.
When she returned from her mission, Geneal helped fight for the Paiute tribe to be recognized by the federal government again. They achieved this on April 3, 1980. That day is now celebrated as Independence Day and elections are even held the same day. After the tribe was recognized, Geneal was elected to the Interim Tribal Council. While she held this office, she helped create founding documents for her tribe, including the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah Constitution.
In 1984, the Paiute tribe elected Geneal as Tribal Chairperson. While she served in the executive position of government for her tribe, she was asked to sit on the Governor’s Indian Affairs Board for Utah Governor Bangerter in 1991. She did this to advocate for the needs of her people directly to the agency that controlled state benefits.
In 1998 she was asked to serve on the Indian Cooperative Council. Both of these positions allowed Geneal to fight for issues important to her people in the state government. She passionately fought against nuclear testing because of the fallout that affected her tribespeople.
Anderson retired from politics in 2001 and died in 2005. The night before her funeral, the Paiutes spent the entire night honoring her memory and reminiscing about her impact on their tribe.
Geneal held the office of Tribal Chairperson for over a decade. During that time she raised awareness about Native American issues both in the state of Utah and nationally.
Borchardt-Slayton, Tamra. “Geneal Anderson, Leader of the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah.” Better Days. Accessed November 10, 2020. https://www.utahwomenshistory.org/bios/geneal-anderson/
“Geneal Anderson: Paiute pioneer.” Deseret News. Feb 15, 2003. https://www.deseret.com/2003/2/15/19704342/geneal-anderson-paiute-pioneer
“Paiute Geneal Anderson dies.” Deseret News. Feb 12 2003. https://www.deseret.com/2003/2/12/19703973/paiute-geneal-anderson-dies