Published on October 22, 2012 by Amy
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. Their reservation is headquartered at Towaoc, Colorado on the Ute Mountain Ute Indian Reservation in southwestern Colorado, northwestern New Mexico and small sections of Utah.
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The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe are descendants of the Weeminuche band who moved to the Southern Ute reservation in 1897. Two thousand years ago, the Utes lived and ranged in the mountains and desert over much of the Colorado Plateau: much of present day eastern Utah, western Colorado, northern Arizona and northwestern New Mexico. The use of lands in the Four Corners area, where the Ute Mountain Ute tribe now live, though, came later. Most anthropologists agree that Utes were established in the Four Corners area by 1500 A.D. The Ute people were hunters and gatherers who moved on foot to hunting grounds and gathering land based upon the season. The men hunted animals, including deer, antelope, buffalo, rabbits, and other small mammals and birds. Women gathered grasses, nuts, berries, roots, and greens in woven baskets; They also processed and stored meat and plant materials for winter use. Ute in the western part of their territory lived in wickiups and ramadas; Hide tipis were used in the eastern reaches of their territory.
The Ute Mountain Utes adopted a constitution in 1940. In 1990 the tribe had 1,262 enrolled members.
The Ute Mountain Ute Indian Reservation is located in southwestern Colorado and northwestern New Mexico consisting of 553,008 acres belonging to the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, but held in trust by the U.S. Government. The reservation is located in the counties of Montezuma and La Plata in Colorado and San Juan County, New Mexico. There are also individually owned lands at Allen Canyon and White Mesa totally 8,499 acres, and 40 acres of school property, in San Juan County, Utah. Most of the people on the reservation live in the town of Towaoc which is also the site of the Ute Mountain Indian Agency.
The elevation of the reservation varies from about 4,600 feet along the San Juan River near Four Corners to about 9,977 feet at the peak of the Ute Mountain. The reservation lands consist of Sleeping Ute Mountain, the Mancos River and canyons, a high mesas and semi-desert grassland. U.S. Highways 160 and 666 and State Highways 41 and 789 cross the reservation. In addition, there are two maintained gravel roads, one that follows the Mancos River Canyon and another from Towaoc to the Cache oilfield and Aneth, Utah, and off-road trails.
The population was 1,687 as of the 2000 census.
The Ute Mountain Tribal Park, part of the Ute Mountain Ute Indian Reservation, is approximately 125,000 acres (51,000 ha) of land along the Mancos River. Hundreds of surface sites, cliff dwellings, petroglyphs and wall paintings of Ancestral Puebloan and Ute cultures are preserved in the park. Native American Ute tour guides provide background information about the people, culture and history who lived in the park lands. National Geographic Traveler chose it as one of “80 World Destinations for Travel in the 21st Century,” one of only 9 places selected in the United States.
In 1880 Chief Ouray went to Washington, D.C. as part of the Ute delegation to negotiate a treaty. He made it to Washington, but died that year at 47 years of age. Chief Jack House, the last traditional chief of the Utes, died in 1971.