The Ute Indians were indigenous to the Great Basin region of the United States, the area between the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada. These Native Americans
lived primarily in Colorado but tribes also lived in parts of Utah, Nevada, and New Mexico. It is a fact they are the only Native Americans indigenous to Colorado,
where many of them still live today. Montrose, Colorado is now home to the Ute Indian Museum. This museum showcases the story of who the Ute were, how they lived in
ancient times compared to how they live today, what their clothing was like, what Ute craftspeople made, as well as an impressive artifact collection. Below we have
listed many interesting Ute Indian Facts.
General Ute Indian Facts
Utah was actually derived from the name Ute, which means "Land of the Sun".
The seven original Ute bands were the Mouache, the Parianucs, the Yampa, the Capote, the Weeminuche, the Tabeguache and the Uintahs.
It is believed that the Ute Indians were the first or one of the first tribes to use horses in their everyday life. After acquiring horses from the Spanish in the
1600's. It had a profound impact on their lifestyle. Horses were used as their main means of transportation, for hunting, and during war times. It also became a
status symbol showing power and wealth.
Another interesting fact is that the Ute were the last of the western tribes to be forced onto a reservation (1882). A small group of Ute's retaliated due to poor
treatment in 1879 called “Meeker Massacre” which resulted in their confinement to a reservation.
Like many other Indian tribes, they lived off the land. The animals they hunted were used for many purposes. Animals were their main source of food, animal skins were used for clothing and houses, and animal teeth and claws were used for jewelry.
Facial art, such as tattoos and paint were often worn for religious ceremonies and times of war.
Facts about Ute Indian Houses
The Western Ute lived in shelters called wickiups, while the Eastern Ute lived in Tipis.
Wickiups were either round or in the shape of a cone with a brush covered frame made of willow.
Tipis were more of a tall cone shape supported by several poles and covered with the skins of buffalo or other animal.
Facts about the Ute Religion
The Ute were both religious and spiritual people.
Annual ceremonies revolving around their hunting and gathering seasons were held for the purpose of keeping harmony with nature so that food would be plentiful.
The Bear Dance, held each Spring, was the most important ceremony and lasted for four days. It's purpose was to awake the bear from it's winter sleep so the bear could lead them to food.
Ute Indian Clothing Facts
Ute women typically wore long dresses made of deerskin. Basket hats were worn by some women. The women's early dress shirts were fringed and accessorized with jewelry such as beads and elk teeth.
Men wore buckskin shirts and breechcloths. Leather leggings helped to keep them warm.
Both men and women wore their hair in a similar fashion. It was either worn in a pair of braids or just loose. The braids were sometimes covered in fur.
ome Ute people did go barefoot, others wore traditional moccasins or sandals.