The Uintah & Ouray Indian Reservation

Published on June 3, 2012 by Amy

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Uintah And Ouray Dancers
Uintah And Ouray Dancers

This is a map of the Uinta Valley Reserve, which was established in 1864 superimposed over the State of Utah. The U.V.R. was established when the then Territorial Governor Brigham Young ask the Federal Government for a reservation to forcefully remove the Indian’s who were living in the area of the Salt Lake and Utah Valley’s in what is now central Utah, to a land that the Mormon’s thought, at that time, was unfit for white settlement!

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The dark blue outline is the original Boundary of the Reservation in the 1880′s.
The gold area is the present day Uintah and Ouray Ute Indian Reservation which was formally known as the Uinta Valley Reserve.
The green area is now National Forrest.
The yellow area is B.L.M. or Non-Indian Land.

It all began with Abraham Lincoln’s Executive Order and a promise. In the midst of history’s greatest test of presidential mettle, Lincoln took time in 1864 to establish the Uinta Valley Reservation for the Indians of Utah.

Before he wrote the order, however, the federal government asked Mormon leader Brigham Young if the Uinta Valley was appropriate for a reservation. Young reported that the land was so utterly useless that its only purpose was to hold the other parts of the world together. In other words, it was perfect for an Indian reservation.

Congress then passed a law that declared the new reservation was “for the permanent settlement and exclusive occupation” of the Utah Indians. Finally the Utah Indian’s had a refuge from Anglo settlers, or so it seemed.

FORCED TOGETHER; Most of the Utah Indian’s, the Sahyehpeech, Pahvant, Sahpeech, Toompanawach, Cumumba and Yoovwetuh were forced on to this Reservation by 1867 and would become known as the Uinta Indians.

The northern and central Colorado Ute’s (Noochew) were marched at gun point by the U.S. Army to the Uinta Valley Reservation in 1882, the Pahdteeahnooch and Taveewach are known as the Uncompahgre Band. The Yampadttka are the Whiteriver Band. In 1886 Congress authorized an addition, which created a homeland for the Utes from Colorado of over 4 million acres. This Reservation became known as the Uncompahgre Reservation. It was during this time period that the (H) was added to Uinta and started to appear on official document’s.

In 1937, the Indian Re-organization Act was adopted and the segregated Uinta(h), Whiteriver and Uncompahgre Band’s were consolidated together and became known as the Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation. The Reservation expanded to include the Hill Creek Extension in 1948.

The other Colorado Ute Bands, the Mahgruhch, and Kapota became known as the Southern Utes at Ignacio near Durango, Colorado. And the Weemeenooch are now called the Ute Mountain Utes at Towaoc near Cortez, Colorado.

Today the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation is one-fourth its original size. In a series of unilateral land takings by the U.S. Congress, the reservation was gradually reduced piece by piece in the early part of this century. Beginning in the late 1800′s and the early part on the 1900′s, parts of the reservation were allotted – carved into individual chunks of land – and much of the remaining land was sold as “surplus,” (under the homestead act,) which included the best agricultural lands along the Duchesne River. Then the far western portion of the reservation was taken to build Strawberry Reservoir. At about the same time, the northern tier of the reservation was taken to create a national forest; today these former forest lands comprise most of the High Uinta Wilderness Area.

Source: undeclaredutes Unabridged
Based on the collective work of, © 2015 Native American Encyclopedia.
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