Opinion: A history of Ute Tribe in Utah, Colorado, New Mexico

"Long ago, Ute Indians originally came north into the desert of what is now southeastern California and southwestern Arizona. Then they spread north and east until, about 800 years ago, they occupied what is now eastern Utah, Colorado’s mountains and foothills, and northernmost New Mexico. They even hunted across the plains as far as Kansas.

Linguists call their language the Numic branch of Uto-Aztecan, which tells us something about their origins. Often, they are popularly called “mountain Utes,” which tells us something about where many lived but how they adapted their lifestyle to the available resources.

Not all Ute Indians were alike. It’s true that the Utes in the mountains most often lived in conical shelters made of poles or of animal skins, but in some dry areas brush had to serve as building material, and at Utah Lake they lived in huts made of the abundant tule. And nomadic Utes depended on the game they hunted with bows or trapped and they ate seeds, fruit, and nuts they gathered, but at Utah Lake they also built rafts and trapped fish.

Most Utes were fierce warriors. When members of other tribes entered Ute territory, they soon were sent packing."

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Rabbitbrush Rambler - Ute Indian neighbors (The Alamosa Valley Courier 1/16)

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