Published on August 26, 2013 by Amy
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.
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The Uintah and Ouray Reservation headquarters is located in Fort Duchesne, Utah.
“I can tell you what I hope for, that is unity. I’d like to see people helping one another. Maybe people can come together and realize it’s for the benefit of the tribe as a whole.Rather than one individual here or one family over here.” –Luke Duncan, 1989
The Utes have a complex government system that works closely with US Federal and Utah state governments.
The Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation is the second-largest Indian Reservation in the US – covering over 4,500,000 acres (18,000 km2) of land. Founded in 1863, it is located in Carbon, Duchesne, Grand, Uintah, Utah, and Wasatch Counties in Utah.
Raising stock and oil and gas leases are important revenues streams for the reservation. The tribe is a members of the Council of Energy Resource Tribes.
The Ute language is a southern Numic language within the Uto-Aztecan language family. The language is still widely spoken. In 1984, the tribe declared the Ute language to be the official language of their reservation, and the Ute Language, Culture and Traditions Committee provides language education materials.
Utes have lived in the Great Basin region for over 10,000 years. From 3000 BCE to around 500 BCE, they lived along the Gila River in Arizona. People of the Fremont culture lived to the north in western Colorado, but when drought struck in the 13th century, they joined the Utes in San Luis Valley, Colorado. Utes were one of the first tribes to obtain horses from escaped Spanish stock.
Spanish explorers traveled through Ute land in 1776. They were followed by an ever-increasing number of non-Natives. The Colorado Gold Rush of the 1850s flooded Ute lands with prospectors. Mormons fought the Utes from the 1840s to 1870s. In the 1860s the US federal government created the Uintah Reservation. Utah Utes settled there in 1864, and were joined in 1882 by eight bands of Northern Utes.
The US government tried to force the Utes to farm, despite the lack of water and unfavorable growing conditions on their reservation. Irrigation projects of the early 20th century put water in non-tribal hands. Ute children were forced to attend Indian boarding schools in the 1880s and half of the Ute children at the Albuquerque Indian School died.