Ute Tribe
Overview
 
The Ute are an American Indian
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 people now living primarily in Utah
Utah
Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...

 and Colorado
Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

. There are three Ute tribal reservations
Indian reservation
An American Indian reservation is an area of land managed by a Native American tribe under the United States Department of the Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs...

: Uintah-Ouray
Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation
The Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation is located in northeastern Utah, USA. It is the homeland of the Northern Ute Tribe, and is the largest of three Indian reservations inhabited by members of the Ute Tribe of Native Americans. It lies in parts of seven counties; in descending order of land area...

 in northeastern Utah (3,500 members); Southern Ute
Southern Ute Indian Reservation
The Southern Ute Indian Reservation lies in southwestern Colorado, USA, along the northern border of New Mexico. Its territory consists of land from three counties; in descending order of surface area they are La Plata, Archuleta, and Montezuma Counties. The reservation has a land area of 1,058.785...

 in Colorado (1,500 members); and Ute Mountain
Ute Mountain Ute Tribe
The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe is one of three federally recognized tribes of the Ute Nation, and are mostly descendants of the historic Weeminuche Band who moved to the Southern Ute reservation in 1897...

 which primarily lies in Colorado, but extends to Utah and New Mexico (2,000 members). The name of the state of Utah was derived from the name Ute. The The University of Utah, the state's flagship university, has adopted the Ute name as its mascot.
Encyclopedia
The Ute are an American Indian
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 people now living primarily in Utah
Utah
Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...

 and Colorado
Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

. There are three Ute tribal reservations
Indian reservation
An American Indian reservation is an area of land managed by a Native American tribe under the United States Department of the Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs...

: Uintah-Ouray
Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation
The Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation is located in northeastern Utah, USA. It is the homeland of the Northern Ute Tribe, and is the largest of three Indian reservations inhabited by members of the Ute Tribe of Native Americans. It lies in parts of seven counties; in descending order of land area...

 in northeastern Utah (3,500 members); Southern Ute
Southern Ute Indian Reservation
The Southern Ute Indian Reservation lies in southwestern Colorado, USA, along the northern border of New Mexico. Its territory consists of land from three counties; in descending order of surface area they are La Plata, Archuleta, and Montezuma Counties. The reservation has a land area of 1,058.785...

 in Colorado (1,500 members); and Ute Mountain
Ute Mountain Ute Tribe
The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe is one of three federally recognized tribes of the Ute Nation, and are mostly descendants of the historic Weeminuche Band who moved to the Southern Ute reservation in 1897...

 which primarily lies in Colorado, but extends to Utah and New Mexico (2,000 members). The name of the state of Utah was derived from the name Ute. The The University of Utah, the state's flagship university, has adopted the Ute name as its mascot. The word Ute means "people of the mountains" in their language.

Language

The native Ute language
Ute language
Colorado River Numic , of the Numic branch of the Uto-Aztecan language family, is a dialect chain that stretches from southeastern California to Colorado...

 belongs to the Numic division of the Uto-Aztecan family of languages and is a dialect of Southern Numic. However, most current Utes speak only English. Peoples speaking Shoshone
Shoshone
The Shoshone or Shoshoni are a Native American tribe in the United States with three large divisions: the Northern, the Western and the Eastern....

an dialects of the Numic family include the Bannocks
Bannock (tribe)
The Bannock tribe of the Northern Paiute are an indigenous people of the Great Basin. Their traditional lands include southeastern Oregon, southeastern Idaho, western Wyoming, and southwestern Montana...

, Comanches, Chemehuevi
Chemehuevi
The Chemehuevi are a federally recognized Native American tribe enrolled in the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe of the Chemehuevi Reservation. They are the southernmost branch of Paiutes.-Reservation:...

, Goshute
Goshute
The Goshutes are a band of Western Shoshone Native American. There are two federally recognized Goshute tribes today: the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation and Skull Valley Band of Goshute Indians of Utah of the Skull Valley Indian Reservation.-Name:The name Goshute derived either from...

s, Paiutes and Shoshone
Shoshone
The Shoshone or Shoshoni are a Native American tribe in the United States with three large divisions: the Northern, the Western and the Eastern....

s. They share an individual language with Shoshonean.

History


Prior to the arrival of Mexican settlers, the Utes occupied significant portions of what are today eastern Utah, western Colorado, including the San Luis Valley
San Luis Valley
The San Luis Valley is an extensive alpine valley in the U.S. states of Colorado and New Mexico covering approximately and sitting at an average elevation of above sea level. The valley sits atop the Rio Grande Rift and is drained to the south by the Rio Grande River, which rises in the San Juan...

, and parts of New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

 and Wyoming
Wyoming
Wyoming is a state in the mountain region of the Western United States. The western two thirds of the state is covered mostly with the mountain ranges and rangelands in the foothills of the Eastern Rocky Mountains, while the eastern third of the state is high elevation prairie known as the High...

. The Utes were never a unified group within historic times; instead, they consisted of numerous nomadic bands that maintained close associations with other neighboring groups. The 17 largest known groups were the Capote, Cumumba, Moache, Moanumts, Pah Vant, Parianuche, San Pitch, Sheberetch, Taviwach, Timanogots, Tumpanawach, Uinta
Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation
The Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation is a federally recognized tribe of Ute Indians in Utah. The Uintah are a western band of Ute.-Government:The Uintah and Ouray Reservation headquarters is located in Fort Duchesne, Utah....

, Uncompahgre, White River, Weeminuche, and Yamperika. Unlike many other tribal groups in this region, they have no tradition or evidence of historic migration to the areas now known as Colorado and Utah — ancestors of the Ute appear to have occupied this area for at least a thousand years. The last time the Ute ever migrated was in the year 1885.

Treaties between The United States and the Utes

Following acquisition of Ute territory from Mexico by the Treaty of Guadelupe-Hidalgo the United States made a series of treaties with the Ute:

Contact

Contact with Spanish explorers

The Utes' first contact with Europeans was with early Spanish explorers in the 1630s. They adopted the horse, obtaining mounts through trading with the Spanish colonists in New Mexico or theft from those settlements. As a result of the new mobility, Ute culture changed dramatically in ways that paralleled the Plains Indian cultures of the Great Plains
Great Plains
The Great Plains are a broad expanse of flat land, much of it covered in prairie, steppe and grassland, which lies west of the Mississippi River and east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and Canada. This area covers parts of the U.S...

. The social upheaval resulted in various degrees of consolidation, political realignment and tension between the various Ute groups. The Utes were for the most part enemies of the Spanish and the conquered Pueblo
Pueblo
Pueblo is a term used to describe modern communities of Native Americans in the Southwestern United States of America. The first Spanish explorers of the Southwest used this term to describe the communities housed in apartment-like structures built of stone, adobe mud, and other local material...

 towns. They engaged in a long series of wars, in some cases three-sided, with the Navajo
Navajo people
The Navajo of the Southwestern United States are the largest single federally recognized tribe of the United States of America. The Navajo Nation has 300,048 enrolled tribal members. The Navajo Nation constitutes an independent governmental body which manages the Navajo Indian reservation in the...

, various other Apache
Apache
Apache is the collective term for several culturally related groups of Native Americans in the United States originally from the Southwest United States. These indigenous peoples of North America speak a Southern Athabaskan language, which is related linguistically to the languages of Athabaskan...

 tribes, and the Comanche, especially in the plains of eastern Colorado and northeastern New Mexico.

Contact with other European settlers

The Ute experience with European-American settlers is similar to that of many other Native American groups: competition, confrontation and eventual coerced relocation to reservations
Indian reservation
An American Indian reservation is an area of land managed by a Native American tribe under the United States Department of the Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs...

. Of particular interest are the Walker War (1853–54) and Black Hawk War
Black Hawk War (Utah)
The Black Hawk War, or Black Hawk's War, from 1865 to 1872, is the name of the estimated 150 military engagement between Mormon settlers in the Four Corners region and members of the Ute, Paiute, Apache and Navajo tribes, led by a local Ute chief, Antonga Black Hawk...

 (1865–72) in Utah.

Over the years, friction between recently arrived white settlers and goldseekers in Utah and Colorado and local Ute groups resulted in several skirmishes and incidents. In the same period, the Ute sometimes allied with the United States in its wars with the Navajo, for example in 1863, and with the Apache.

A series of treaties established a small reservation
Indian reservation
An American Indian reservation is an area of land managed by a Native American tribe under the United States Department of the Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs...

 in 1864 in northeast Utah, and a reservation in 1868, which included the western third of modern Colorado. The latter included land claimed by other tribes. Their lands were whittled away until only the modern reservations were left: a large cession of land in 1873 transferred the gold-rich San Juan area, which was followed in 1879 by the loss of most of the remaining land after the "Meeker Massacre".

Eventually, the various bands of Utes were consolidated onto three reservations. Several of these bands maintain separate identities as part of the Ute tribal organizations. Although initially large and located in areas that white settlers deemed undesirable (occupying parts of Utah and most of western Colorado), the territory of the reservations was repeatedly reduced by various government actions, and encroachment by white settlers and mining
Mining
Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, from an ore body, vein or seam. The term also includes the removal of soil. Materials recovered by mining include base metals, precious metals, iron, uranium, coal, diamonds, limestone, oil shale, rock...

 interests. In the 20th century, several U.S. federal court decisions restored portions of the original reservation land to the Ute Tribes' jurisdiction and awarded monetary compensations for losses.

Northern Ute culture

The Northern Utes, consisting of the Whiteriver, Uintah, and Uncompahgre bands, are exceptional artists and produced extraordinary examples of religious and ceremonial beadwork, unusual art forms, and designed and decorated weapons of war in their traditional culture. The Ute obtained glass beads and other trade items from early trading contact with Europeans and rapidly incorporated their use into religious, ceremonial, and spartan objects.

Like their southern neighbors, the Diné (Navajo), today a large percentage of Northern Ute are members of the Native American Church
Native American Church
Native American Church, a religious denomination which practices Peyotism or the Peyote religion, originated in the U.S. state of Oklahoma, and is the most widespread indigenous religion among Native Americans in the United States...

 and participate in sacred ceremonies that use peyote
Peyote
Lophophora williamsii , better known by its common name Peyote , is a small, spineless cactus with psychoactive alkaloids, particularly mescaline.It is native to southwestern Texas and Mexico...

. Traditional Ute healers use peyote to treat infections, and a variety of other plants, including Elk Root, Bear Root (Ligusticum porteri), and tobacco sage. The Ute have integrated peyote religion into their culture; its artistic and expressive influences pervade their art and rich cultural and ceremonial objects. There is evidence the Ute have used peyote obtained through trade and other potent ceremonial plants used as entheogen
Entheogen
An entheogen , in the strict sense, is a psychoactive substance used in a religious, shamanic, or spiritual context. Historically, entheogens were mostly derived from plant sources and have been used in a variety of traditional religious contexts...

s since ancient times, such as the dried leaves of Larb (a species of Manzanita
Manzanita
Manzanita is a common name for many species of the genus Arctostaphylos. They are evergreen shrubs or small trees present in the chaparral biome of western North America, where they occur from southern British Columbia, Washington to California, Arizona and New Mexico in the United States, and...

), tobacco sage collected from the Escalante area (a mild hallucinogen when smoked), and the potent and narcotic White Uinta water lily. Tobacco Sage was also brewed into a tea with Elk Root and the root of the Yellow Uinta water lily, and used to treat tumors and cancer. (While the root of the Yellow Uinta water lily is toxic in large amounts, small amounts can be used to strengthen the heart muscle in people with heart ailments.).

Ute religious beliefs borrowed much from the Plains Indians after the arrival of the horse. The Northern and Uncompahgre Ute were the only group of Indians known to create ceremonial pipes out of salmon alabaster
Alabaster
Alabaster is a name applied to varieties of two distinct minerals, when used as a material: gypsum and calcite . The former is the alabaster of the present day; generally, the latter is the alabaster of the ancients...

, as well as a rare black pipestone found only in the creeks that border the southeastern slopes of the Uinta Mountains in Utah and Colorado. Although Ute pipe styles are unique, they resemble more closely the styles of their eastern neighbors from the Great Plains. The black pipestone is also used to make lethal war clubs that warriors used to great effect from the back of a horse. The Ute have a religious aversion to handling thunderwood (wood from a tree struck by lightning) and believe that the thunder beings would strike down any Ute Indian that touched or handled such wood. This is also a Diné (Navajo) belief. There is extensive evidence that contact between the two groups existed since ancient times.

Each spring the Utes (Northern and Southern) hold their traditional Bear Dances. Origin of the Bear Dance can be traced back several centuries. Each year, a mid-summer fasting ceremony known as the Sun Dance
Sun Dance
The Sun Dance is a religious ceremony practiced by a number of Native American and First Nations peoples, primarily those of the Plains Nations. Each tribe has its own distinct practices and ceremonial protocols...

 is held; this ceremony has important spiritual significance to the Ute.
The Uncompahgre Ute Indians from central Colorado are one of the first documented groups of people in the world known to utilize the effect of mechanoluminescence
Mechanoluminescence
Mechanoluminescence is light emission resulting from any mechanical action on a solid. It can be produced through ultrasound, or through other means.* Fractoluminescence is caused by stress that results in the formation of fractures....

 through the use of quartz
Quartz
Quartz is the second-most-abundant mineral in the Earth's continental crust, after feldspar. It is made up of a continuous framework of SiO4 silicon–oxygen tetrahedra, with each oxygen being shared between two tetrahedra, giving an overall formula SiO2. There are many different varieties of quartz,...

 crystals to generate light, likely hundreds of years before the modern world recognized the phenomenon. The Ute constructed special ceremonial rattles made from buffalo
American Bison
The American bison , also commonly known as the American buffalo, is a North American species of bison that once roamed the grasslands of North America in massive herds...

 rawhide which they filled with clear quartz crystals collected from the mountains of Colorado and Utah. When the rattles were shaken at night during ceremonies, the friction and mechanical stress of the quartz crystals impacting together produced flashes of light which partly shone through the translucent buffalo hide. These rattles were believed to call spirits into Ute Ceremonies, and were considered extremely powerful religious objects.

Historic Ute bands

The Ute were divided into several larger and smaller bands, which today mostly are organized as the Northern Ute Tribe, Southern Ute Tribe and Ute Mountain Ute Tribe:

Northern Ute Tribe (Uinta Utes)

  • Yapudttka (Yampadttka, Yamparka, Yamparika, lived in the Yampa River Valley
    Yampa River
    The Yampa River is a tributary of the Green River, approximately 250 mi long, in the U.S. state of Colorado. It's located in the Southwestern United States...

     and the adjacent regions, known today as White River Utes or Yamparika Utes)
  • Pahdteeahnooch (Pahdteechnooch, Parianuc, Parianuche, later called Uncompahgre, lived along the Grand River
    Colorado
    Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

     in Colorado and Utah, known today as Grand River Utes or Parianuche Utes)
  • Taveewach (Taviwach, Taviwac, Tabeguache, later called Uncompahgre, lived in river valleys of the Gunnison River
    Gunnison River
    The Gunnison River is a tributary of the Colorado River, long, in the Southwest state of Colorado. It is the fifth largest tributary of the Colorado River, with a mean flow of 4320 ft³/s .-Description:...

     and Uncompahgre River
    Uncompahgre River
    The Uncompahgre River is a tributary of the Gunnison River, approximately 75 mi long, in southwestern Colorado in the United States. Lake Como at 12,215 ft in northern San Juan County, in the Uncompahgre National Forest in the northwestern San Juan Mountains is the headwaters of the...

    , as well in the Elk Mountains
    Elk Mountains (Colorado)
    The Elk Mountains are a high, rugged mountain range in the Rocky Mountains of west-central Colorado in the United States. The mountains sit on the western side of the Continental Divide, largely in southern Pitkin and northern Gunnison counties, in the area southwest of Aspen, south of the Roaring...

     west toward the City of Grand Junction
    Grand Junction, Colorado
    The City of Grand Junction is the largest city in western Colorado. It is a city with a council–manager government form that is the county seat and the most populous city of Mesa County, Colorado, United States. Grand Junction is situated west-southwest of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver. As...

    , known today as Taviwach Utes)
  • Muhgruhtahveeach (include all Northern Utes, who lived in Utah, known today as Utah Utes or Unita)
    • Cumumba (also called Weber Utes, lived along the Weber River
      Weber River
      The Weber River is a c. long river of northern Utah, USA. It begins in the northwest of the Uinta Mountains and empties into the Great Salt Lake. The Weber River was named for American fur trapper John Henry Weber.-Weber River:...

      , intermarried with the Western Shoshone
      Western Shoshone
      Western Shoshone comprises several Shoshone tribes that are indigenous to the Great Basin and have lands identified in the Treaty of Ruby Valley 1863. They resided in Idaho, Nevada, California, and Utah. The tribes are very closely related culturally to the Paiute, Goshute, Bannock, Ute, and...

      , known today as Cumumba Utes)
    • Toompahnahwach (Tumpanuwac, Tumpanawach - ‘Fish-eaters’, also called Tumpipanogo or Timanogot, lived in the Wasatch Range
      Wasatch Range
      The Wasatch Range is a mountain range that stretches approximately from the Utah-Idaho border, south through central Utah in the western United States. It is generally considered the western edge of the greater Rocky Mountains, and the eastern edge of the Great Basin region...

       centered around Mount Timpanogos
      Mount Timpanogos
      Mount Timpanogos, sometimes informally referred to as Timp, is the second highest mountain in Utah's Wasatch Range. Timpanogos rises to an elevation of 11,749 feet above sea level in the Uinta National Forest...

      , along the southern and eastern shores of Utah Lake
      Utah Lake
      Utah Lake is a freshwater lake in the U.S. state of Utah. On the western side of Utah Valley, the lake is overlooked by Mount Timpanogos and Mount Nebo. The lake's only river outlet, the Jordan River, is a tributary of the Great Salt Lake and is highly regulated with pumps. Evaporation accounts...

       of the Utah Valley
      Utah Valley
      Utah Valley is a valley in North Central Utah located in Utah County, and is considered part of the Wasatch Front. It contains Provo, Orem, and their suburbs, including Highland, Eagle Mountain, Saratoga Springs, Mapleton, Spanish Fork, Lindon, Pleasant Grove, Springville, Lehi, Payson, and...

      , and in Heber Valley, Uinta Basin and Sanpete Valley, utilized the river canyons of the Spanish Fork, Diamond Fork, Hobble Creek, American Fork and Provo River, in Spanish
      Spanish language
      Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

       called Lagunas - ‘Lake People’, Come Pescados - ‘Fish-eaters’, known today as Timpanog Utes)
    • Sahpeech (Sanpeech, Sanpits, lived in the Sanpete Valley and Sevier River Valley
      Sevier River
      The Sevier River , extending , is the longest Utah river entirely in the state and drains an extended chain of mountain farming valleys to the intermittent Sevier Lake...

       and along the San Pitch River, today known as San Pitch Utes)
    • Pahvant (lived west of the Wasatch Range in the Pavant Range
      Pavant Range
      The Pavant Range is a mountain range in central Utah east of Fillmore. The range is named for the Pahvant tribe, a branch of the Ute Indians. The tallest peak is Mine Camp Peak at . Most of the land in the Pavant range is part of Fishlake National Forest.-Transportation:The mountain range is...

       towards the Nevada border along the Sevier River in the desert around Sevier Lake
      Sevier Lake
      Sevier Lake is an intermittent and endorheic lake which lies in the lowest part of the Sevier Desert, Millard County, Utah. Like Great Salt Lake and Utah Lake, it is a remnant of Pleistocene Lake Bonneville. Sevier Lake is fed primarily by the Beaver and Sevier rivers, and the additional inflow...

       and Fish Lake, therefore they called themselves Pahvant - ‘living near the water’, in their way of living they resembled their neighbors, the Kaibab Paiute, and intermarried just like the Sahyehpeech with neighboring Goshute
      Goshute
      The Goshutes are a band of Western Shoshone Native American. There are two federally recognized Goshute tribes today: the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation and Skull Valley Band of Goshute Indians of Utah of the Skull Valley Indian Reservation.-Name:The name Goshute derived either from...

       and Paiute
      Paiute
      Paiute refers to three closely related groups of Native Americans — the Northern Paiute of California, Idaho, Nevada and Oregon; the Owens Valley Paiute of California and Nevada; and the Southern Paiute of Arizona, southeastern California and Nevada, and Utah.-Origin of name:The origin of...

      , known as Pahvant Utes, today absorbed into the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah
      Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah
      The Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah is a federally recognized tribe of Southern Paiute and Ute Indians in southwestern Utah.-Reservation:The Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah has a reservation composed of ten separate parcels of land, located in four counties in southwestern Utah.-History:Two Ute bands were...

      )
    • Yoowetum (Yoovwetuh, Uinta-at, later called Tavaputs, lived in the Uintah Basin
      Uintah Basin
      The Uintah Basin, also spelled Uinta Basin, is a physiographic section of the larger Colorado Plateaus province, which in turn is part of the larger Intermontane Plateaus physiographic division. It is also a geologic structural basin in eastern Utah, east of the Wasatch Mountains and south of the...

      , Uinta Mountains
      Uinta Mountains
      The Uinta Mountains are a high chain of mountains in northeastern Utah and extreme northwestern Colorado in the United States. A subrange of the Rocky Mountains, they are unusual for being the highest range in the contiguous United States running east to west, and lie approximately east of Salt...

      , including the Utah Lake and Great Salt Lake
      Great Salt Lake
      The Great Salt Lake, located in the northern part of the U.S. state of Utah, is the largest salt water lake in the western hemisphere, the fourth-largest terminal lake in the world. In an average year the lake covers an area of around , but the lake's size fluctuates substantially due to its...

      , along the Strawberry River
      Strawberry River (Utah)
      The Strawberry River is an river located in eastern Utah, United States.Strawberry River's headwaters are located in the Wasatch Mountains of the western Uintah Basin...

       in the west and the Tavaputs Plateau in the Green River
      Green River (Utah)
      The Green River, located in the western United States, is the chief tributary of the Colorado River. The watershed of the river, known as the Green River Basin, covers parts of Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado. The Green River is long, beginning in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming and flowing...

      -Colorado River
      Colorado River
      The Colorado River , is a river in the Southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico, approximately long, draining a part of the arid regions on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains. The watershed of the Colorado River covers in parts of seven U.S. states and two Mexican states...

      -system in the east, known today as Uinta-Ats Utes)
    • Sahyehpeech (Sheberetch, lived in the vicinity of today Moab
      Moab, Utah
      Moab is a city in Grand County, in eastern Utah, in the western United States. The population was 4,779 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat and largest city in Grand County. Moab hosts a large number of tourists every year, mostly visitors to the nearby Arches and Canyonlands National Parks...

      , had almost no direct contact with Europeans until 1850 Mormons penetrated into their territory, about 1870 by war and disease decimated Sahyehpeech joined other Ute bands, known today as Sheberetch Utes)
    • Moanunts (Moanumts, lived in the Upper Sevier River Valley in central Utah, in the Otter Creek region south of Salina
      Salina, Utah
      Salina is a city in Sevier County, Utah, United States. The population was 2,393 at the 2000 census.-History:The first permanent settlers moved into the area in 1864 at the direction of leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints...

       and in the vicinity of Fish Lake, today absorbed into the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah
      Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah
      The Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah is a federally recognized tribe of Southern Paiute and Ute Indians in southwestern Utah.-Reservation:The Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah has a reservation composed of ten separate parcels of land, located in four counties in southwestern Utah.-History:Two Ute bands were...

      )

Southern Ute Tribe

  • Capote Band of Utes (Kapota, Kahpota) lived east of the Great Divide south of the Conejos River
    Conejos River
    The Conejos River is a tributary of the Rio Grande, approximately long, in south-central Colorado in the United States. It drains a scenic area of the eastern San Juan Mountains west of the San Luis Valley.-Description:...

     and east of the Rio Grande
    Rio Grande
    The Rio Grande is a river that flows from southwestern Colorado in the United States to the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way it forms part of the Mexico – United States border. Its length varies as its course changes...

     towards the west site of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains
    Sangre de Cristo Mountains
    The Sangre de Cristo Mountains are the southernmost subrange of the Rocky Mountains. They are located in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico in the United States...

    , they were also living in the San Luis Valley
    San Luis Valley
    The San Luis Valley is an extensive alpine valley in the U.S. states of Colorado and New Mexico covering approximately and sitting at an average elevation of above sea level. The valley sits atop the Rio Grande Rift and is drained to the south by the Rio Grande River, which rises in the San Juan...

    , along the headwaters of the Rio Grande and along the Animas River
    Animas River
    Animas River is a river in the western United States, a tributary of the San Juan River, part of the Colorado River System. The Spanish named the river "Rio de las Animas Perdidas", "River of the Lost Souls". It is also the last free-flowing river in Colorado. The river's free-flowing status...

    , centered in the vicinity of today Chama
    Chama, New Mexico
    Chama is a village in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, United States. The population was 1,199 at the 2000 census. It is a small village, but tourism is starting to help the town's economy .-Geography:...

     and Tierra Amarilla
    Tierra Amarilla, New Mexico
    Tierra Amarilla is a small unincorporated town near the Carson National Forest in the northern part of the U.S. state of New Mexico. It is the county seat of Rio Arriba County.-History:...

     of Rio Arriba County
    Rio Arriba County, New Mexico
    -2010:Whereas according to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau:*51.6% White*0.5% Black*16.0% Native American*0.4% Asian*0.0% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander*3.3% Two or more races*28.2% Other races*71.3% Hispanic or Latino -2000:...

    , like the Mahgrahch the Kahpota maintained trade relations to Puebloan peoples and came into conflict with southern plains people because of their alliance with the Jicarilla Apache
    Jicarilla Apache
    Jicarilla Apache refers to the members of the Jicarilla Apache Nation currently living in New Mexico and speaking a Southern Athabaskan language...

    .
  • Muache Band of Utes (Mouache, Mahgruhch, Mahgrahch, Muwac) lived along the eastern foothills of the Rocky Mountains from Denver, Colorado in the north to Las Vegas
    Las Vegas, New Mexico
    Las Vegas is a city in San Miguel County, New Mexico, United States. Once two separate municipalities both named Las Vegas, west Las Vegas and east Las Vegas , divided by the Gallinas River, retain distinct characters and separate, rival school districts. The population was 14,565 at the 2000...

    , New Mexico in the south, traded with northern Puebloan peoples, especially with Taos Pueblo
    Taos Pueblo
    Taos Pueblo is an ancient pueblo belonging to a Taos speaking Native American tribe of Pueblo people. It is approximately 1000 years old and lies about north of the modern city of Taos, New Mexico, USA...

    , therefore often called Taos-Ute, ranged after adoption of the horse with their allies, the Jicarilla Apache
    Jicarilla Apache
    Jicarilla Apache refers to the members of the Jicarilla Apache Nation currently living in New Mexico and speaking a Southern Athabaskan language...

    , southeastward as far as the Texas Panhandle
    Texas Panhandle
    The Texas Panhandle is a region of the U.S. state of Texas consisting of the northernmost 26 counties in the state. The panhandle is a rectangular area bordered by New Mexico to the west and Oklahoma to the north and east...

    .

Ute Mountain Ute Tribe

  • The Weminuche Band of Utes ("Weeminuche", Weemeenooch, Wiminuc, Guiguinuches) lived west of the Great Divide along the Dolores River
    Dolores River
    The Dolores River is a tributary of the Colorado River, approximately 250 mi long, in the U.S. states of Colorado and Utah....

     of western Colorado, in the Abajo Mountains
    Abajo Mountains
    The Abajo Mountains, also called the Blue Mountains, is a small mountain range west of Monticello, Utah, south of Canyonlands National Park and north of Blanding, Utah. The mountain range is located within the Manti-La Sal National Forest...

    , in the Valley of the San Juan River and its northern tributaries and in the San Juan Mountains
    San Juan Mountains
    The San Juan Mountains are a high and rugged mountain range in the Rocky Mountains in southwestern Colorado. The area is highly mineralized and figured in the gold and silver mining industry of early Colorado. Major towns, all old mining camps, include Creede, Lake City, Silverton, Ouray, and...

     including the mesa
    Mesa
    A mesa or table mountain is an elevated area of land with a flat top and sides that are usually steep cliffs. It takes its name from its characteristic table-top shape....

    s and plateau
    Plateau
    In geology and earth science, a plateau , also called a high plain or tableland, is an area of highland, usually consisting of relatively flat terrain. A highly eroded plateau is called a dissected plateau...

    s of eastern Utah.

Contemporary times

Present-day Utes occupy a small fraction of their former territories.

Northern Ute Tribe

The largest tribes are the Northern Ute, which live on the Uintah and Ouray Reservation in northeastern Utah. It is the largest of several groups of Ute and Shoshone Indians that were relocated to the Northern Ute Indian Reservation during the late 19th and early 20th century, including the Northern Shoshone, Uintah, Uncompahgre, White River, and Southern Ute.

Some believe that the Northern Ute disfranchised the other Ute groups when they reorganized during the mid-20th century and gained control of the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation as a result. The people of the U & O reservation are well aware of their own ancestries. Lawsuits and litigation have been commonplace between mixed-blood
Mixed-blood
The term mixed-blood in the United States is most often employed for individuals of mixed European and Native American ancestry who are not of Hispanic descent . Some of the most prominent in the 19th century were mixed-blood or mixed-race children born of marriages and unions between fur traders...

 Utes and the Northern Ute Tribe for rights to tribal enrollment and privileges. The Northern Ute Tribe has a 3/4 blood quantum
Blood quantum laws
Blood Quantum Laws or Indian Blood Laws is an umbrella term that describes legislation enacted in the United States to define membership in Native American tribes or nations...

 requirement for tribal membership, higher than most tribes. Mixed-blood Utes with a lower percentage of Ute ancestry have accused the tribe of disfranchisement in terms of rights to tribal lands and equal legal treatment.

Some affiliates, descendants of certain Northern Ute families who in earlier years decided against enrollment and federal recognition of their native ancestry, live on the reservation land holdings owned by particular families since the Federal government forced relocation in 1881. The Affiliate Utes have recently applied for federal recognition and are involved in litigation with the United States and the Northern Ute tribe. The Affiliates should not be confused with other mixed-blood Utes, which families did not choose to be unrecognized. Some Utes of partial descent are enrolled as Northern Utes, but are also active members of the Affiliates.

Northern Utes can be found all over the world. They have learned to adapt to various societies. A northern Ute is also called Nuchu. Various bands have more complex names and each name has a meaning. Over the years the Northern Ute language has changed extensively with the combinations of different dialects and English language influences.

The Northern Ute Tribe began repurchasing former tribal lands following the Indian Reorganization Act
Indian Reorganization Act
The Indian Reorganization Act of June 18, 1934 the Indian New Deal, was U.S. federal legislation that secured certain rights to Native Americans, including Alaska Natives...

 of 1934. They gained return of the 726000 acres (2,938 km²) Hill Creek Extension by the federal government in 1948. More recent court decisions of the 1980s have granted the Northern Utes "legal jurisdiction" over three million acres (12,000 km²) of alienated reservation lands. Discoveries of oil and gas on Ute land in Utah hold the promise of increased living standards for tribal members.

In 1965, the Northern Tribe agreed to allow the US Bureau of Reclamation to divert a portion of its water from the Uinta Basin (part of the Colorado River
Colorado River
The Colorado River , is a river in the Southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico, approximately long, draining a part of the arid regions on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains. The watershed of the Colorado River covers in parts of seven U.S. states and two Mexican states...

 Basin) to the Great Basin
Great Basin
The Great Basin is the largest area of contiguous endorheic watersheds in North America and is noted for its arid conditions and Basin and Range topography that varies from the North American low point at Badwater Basin to the highest point of the contiguous United States, less than away at the...

. The diversion would provide water supply for the Bonneville Unit of the Central Utah Project
Central Utah Project
The Central Utah Project is a United States federal water project. It was authorized for construction under the Colorado River Storage Project Act of April 11, 1956 as a participating project...

. In exchange, the Bureau of Reclamation agreed to plan and construct the Unitah, Upalco, and Ute Indian Units of the Central Utah Project to provide storage of the tribe's water. By 1992, the Bureau of Reclamation had made little or no progress on construction of these facilities. To compensate the Tribe for the Bureau of Reclamation's failure to meet its 1965 construction obligations, Title V of the Central Utah Project Completion Act
Central Utah Project Completion Act
The Central Utah Project Completion Act , enacted on October 30, 1992, removed responsibility for completing the Central Utah Project , a federal water project, from the United States Bureau of Reclamation...

 contained the Ute Indian Rights Settlement. Under the settlement, the Northern Tribe received $49.0 million for agricultural development, $28.5 million for recreation and fish and wildlife enhancement, and $195 million for economic development.

Southern Ute Tribe

The Southern Ute Indian Reservation
Southern Ute Indian Reservation
The Southern Ute Indian Reservation lies in southwestern Colorado, USA, along the northern border of New Mexico. Its territory consists of land from three counties; in descending order of surface area they are La Plata, Archuleta, and Montezuma Counties. The reservation has a land area of 1,058.785...

 is located in southwestern Colorado, with its capital at Ignacio
Ignacio, Colorado
The Town of Ignacio is a Statutory Town located in La Plata County, Colorado, United States. The population was 669 at the 2000 census.Located within the boundaries of the Southern Ute Indian Reservation, the town is the capital of the Southern Ute Indian tribe. It was named for their...

. The area around the Southern Ute Indian reservation are the hills of Bayfield
Bayfield, Colorado
Bayfield is a Statutory Town in La Plata County, Colorado, United States. The population was 1,549 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Bayfield is located at , along U.S...

 and Ignacio, Colorado.

The Southern Ute are the wealthiest of the tribes and claim financial assets approaching $2 billion. Gambling, tourism, oil & gas, and real estate leases, plus various off-reservation financial and business investments, have contributed to their success. The tribe owns the Red Cedar Gathering Company, which owns and operates natural gas pipelines in and near the reservation. The tribe also owns the Red Willow Production Company, which began as a natural gas production company on the reservation. It has expanded to explore for and produce oil and natural gas in Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas. Red Willow has offices in Ignacio, Colorado
Ignacio, Colorado
The Town of Ignacio is a Statutory Town located in La Plata County, Colorado, United States. The population was 669 at the 2000 census.Located within the boundaries of the Southern Ute Indian Reservation, the town is the capital of the Southern Ute Indian tribe. It was named for their...

 and Houston, Texas
Houston, Texas
Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States, and the largest city in the state of Texas. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the city had a population of 2.1 million people within an area of . Houston is the seat of Harris County and the economic center of , which is the ...

. The Sky Ute Casino and its associated entertainment and tourist facilities, together with tribally operated Lake Capote, draw tourists. It hosts the Four Corners Motorcycle Rally each year. The Ute operate KSUT, the major public radio station serving southwestern Colorado and the Four Corners.

Ute Mountain Ute Tribe

The Ute Mountain Ute
Ute Mountain Ute Tribe
The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe is one of three federally recognized tribes of the Ute Nation, and are mostly descendants of the historic Weeminuche Band who moved to the Southern Ute reservation in 1897...

 are descendants of the Weminuche band, who moved to the western end of the Southern Ute Reservation in 1897. (They were led by Chief Ignacio
Chief Ignacio
Chief Ignacio was a chief of the Weeminuche band of the Ute tribe of American Indians, also called the Southern Utes, located in present-day Colorado north of the San Juan River....

, for whom the eastern capital is named). The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe
Ute Mountain Ute Tribe
The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe is one of three federally recognized tribes of the Ute Nation, and are mostly descendants of the historic Weeminuche Band who moved to the Southern Ute reservation in 1897...

 Reservation is located near Towaoc, Colorado
Towaoc, Colorado
Towaoc is a census-designated place on the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe Reservation in Montezuma County, Colorado, United States. The population was 1,097 at the 2000 census. The Towaoc Post Office has the ZIP Code 81334....

. It includes small sections of Utah and New Mexico. The Ute Mountain Tribal Park abuts Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde National Park is a U.S. National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Montezuma County, Colorado, United States. It was created in 1906 to protect some of the best-preserved cliff dwellings in the world...

 and includes many Anasazi ruins. The White Mesa Community of Utah (near Blanding) is part of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe but is largely autonomous.

Modern challenges

Gradual assimilation into American culture has presented both challenges and opportunities for the Utes. The current conditions of the Utes are similar to those of many Native Americans living on reservations. Cultural differences between the Utes and the rest of America have contributed to pockets of poverty, educational difficulties and societal marginalization, although the Southern Ute Tribe is financially successful.

Notable Utes

  • R. Carlos Nakai
    R. Carlos Nakai
    Raymond Carlos “R.” Nakai is a Native American flautist of Navajo/Ute heritage.-Biography:Born Ray Carlos Nakai, in Flagstaff, Arizona, he released his first album, Changes, in 1983...

    , Native American flutist
  • Valerie Naranjo, percussionist
  • Chief Ouray
    Chief Ouray
    Ouray was a Native American chief of the Uncompahgre band of the Ute tribe, then located in western Colorado...

    , leader of the Uncompahgre band of the Ute tribe
  • Chipeta
    Chipeta
    Chipeta or White Singing Bird , was a Native American woman, and the second wife of Chief Ouray of the Uncompahgre Ute tribe. Born a Kiowa Apache, she was raised by the Utes in what is now Conejos, Colorado...

    , Ouray's wife and Ute delegate to negotiations with federal government
  • Joseph Rael
    Joseph Rael
    Joseph Rael is a Native American ceremonial dancer, shaman, writer, and artist. He is also known as the founder of a global network of Sound Peace Chambers...

    , (b. 1935), ceremonial dancer and shamanism writer
  • Raoul Trujillo
    Raoul Trujillo
    Born Jose Raoul TrujilloAlso known as Raul Trujillo and Max Cheblon|parents= Luis and Lorraine TrujilloHis official website is raoultrujilloinfo.com, created by Charmaine deValois in London....

    , dancer, choreographer, and actor

In popular culture

  • When the Legends Die
    When the Legends Die
    When The Legends Die is both a novel and a film.The novel was written in 1963 by Hal Borland, and has become young adult classic.The film was made in 1972, starring Richard Widmark and Frederic Forrest. It was directed by Stuart Millar from a screenplay written by Robert Dozier...

    (1963), by Hal Borland
    Hal Borland
    Hal Borland was a well-known American author and journalist. In addition to writing several novels and books about the outdoors, he wrote "outdoor editorials" for The New York Times for more than 30 years, from 1941 to 1978.-Early life and education:Hal Borland was born on the plains in Sterling,...

     is a story about a Ute boy growing up on a reservation after his parents die, and becoming a rodeo sensation. A film adaptation by the same name was released in 1972.
  • Hunting Badger
    Hunting Badger
    Hunting Badger is a 1999 novel by Tony Hillerman involving the armed robbery of a Ute Indian gambling casino by three men in which two security guards are shot....

    (2001), by Tony Hillerman
    Tony Hillerman
    Tony Hillerman was an award-winning American author of detective novels and non-fiction works best known for his Navajo Tribal Police mystery novels...

    , is a novel inspired by an attempted robbery of a Ute gambling casino.
  • Dr Quinn, a television series, mentions Utes in several episodes. The first episode of the 4th season, "A New Life," depicts a fictional Palmer Creek Reservation which is home to Ute and Cheyenne people.
  • In the prize-winning Charlie Moon series of mysteries by James D. Doss, the protagonist is a Southern Ute Indian who starts as a tribal policeman. He becomes a successful rancher and part-time investigator.
  • Bearstone by Will Hobbs is a young adult novel about a troubled Weeminuche Ute boy who goes to live with an elderly rancher; his caring ways help the boy become a man.
  • Beardance by Will Hobbs is a young adult novel set in the San Juan Mountains
    San Juan Mountains
    The San Juan Mountains are a high and rugged mountain range in the Rocky Mountains in southwestern Colorado. The area is highly mineralized and figured in the gold and silver mining industry of early Colorado. Major towns, all old mining camps, include Creede, Lake City, Silverton, Ouray, and...

    , where a Weeminuche Ute boy helps two orphaned bear cubs and, at the same time, completes his spirit mission.

See also

  • List of Indian reservations in the United States
  • Indian Campaign Medal
    Indian Campaign Medal
    The Indian Campaign Medal is a decoration established by War Department General Orders 12, 1907. The medal was retroactively awarded to any soldier of the U.S...

  • Ute Indian Museum
    Ute Indian Museum
    The Ute Indian Museum is a local history museum in Montrose, Colorado, USA. It is administered by History Colorado ....

  • Ute mythology
    Ute mythology
    The Ute mythology, is the mythology of the Ute Tribe, a tribe of Native Americans from the western United States.-Folk Tales:* Pokoh, the Old Man* Blood Clot* Porcupine Hunts Buffalo* Puma and the Bear* Two Fawns and a Rabbit* Two Grandsons*...


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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