Ethnie: UTE
Language: Southern Numic
Family: Numic
Stock: Uto-Aztecan
Phylum: Aztec-Tanoan
Macro-Culture: Great Basin
Speakers 1,984 in U.S. incl. Ute      1990 Census
     The Ute were a nomadic hunter/gatherer dialectic division. They occupied a large arid area which included central and western Colorado, Utah including the eastern part of Salt Lake Valley, and Utah Valley extending into the upper drainage area of the New Mexico San Juan River. 
     The tribes had a warlike disposition accentuated by the introduction of horses and were known to have traded slaves.  They were predatory toward many of the Pueblo villages to the south, and were at war with the Southern Arapaho and Cheyenne to the north and east.  The Ute, under Chief Ouray,  allied with the Americans against the Navajo and Apache.  They suffered in conflicts arising out of the Colorado statehood movements.
Aboriginal Locations
Subdivisions:  CO (3), NM (3), Ut (8)
Present Locations
CO  Southern Ute Reservation, Ignacio
        Ute Mountain Reservation, Towanac, CO, NM, & UT
UT   Uintah and Ouray Reservation, Fort Duchene
Year History
1598 New Mexico settled by Spanish ... began contact with Utes
1626 Traditional beginning of Ute-Hopi conflicts, earliest reference to the Utes by the Spanish
1637 First known conflict between Spanish and Utes. Spaniards under Luis de Rosas, Governor of New Mexico 1637-41, captured about 80 Utacas and forced them into labor work-shops in Santa Fe
1670 First Treaty between Utes and Spaniards.
1692 Alliance between Paiutes, Apaches, and Hopis, to counter Spanish aggression and expansion.
1700 Beginnings of raids upon Pueblos and Spanish in New Mexico by Utes, Apaches, and Comanches often working in concert.
1706 Expedition of Juan de Ulibarri through southeastern Colorado.
1716 Spanish campaign against Utes and Comanches not successful in preventing raids.
1720 Expedition of Pedro de Villasur.
1730-50 Utes continue raids upon settlements in new Mexico. In 1747, Ute forays caused the abandonment of the frontier town of Abiquiu. It was reoccupied in 1748 by the Spaniards.
1746 Spanish defeat a combination of Utes and Comanches above Abiquiu.
1747 Spanish carry on a campaign against the Capote Utes.
1752 Ute leaders, Chiquito, Don Tomas, and Barrigon meet with the governor of New Mexico. Spanish indicate a desire to cultivate trade with the Utes especially for deerskins and to avoid a confrontation with the Mouache, Capotes, and Chaguaguas.
1760s Spanish-Ute relations friendly enough to permit Spanish trading ventures into Ute territory as far north as the Gunnison River.
1765 Juan Maria de Rivera leads first official Spanish expedition into southwestern Colorado through lands of the Utes.
1770s Utes and Navajos at war with the Hopis.
1775 Second expedition into southwestern Colorado led by Rivera.
1776 Dominguez-Escalante expedition through Ute territory. Lands of the Utes mapped by Miera y Pacheco.
1778 Spanish law prohibits Spaniards and Christianized Indians from trading with the Utes. The ban was largely ineffectual since some traders continued to visit the Utes.
1779 Mouache Utes and Jicarilla Apaches joined New Mexico Governor Juan Bautista de Anza in a campaign against the Comanches. Comanche forces under Cuerno Verde were defeated.
1786 Utes represented by Chiefs Moara and Pinto protest the proposed peace treaty between the Comanches and the Spanish. However, at the insistence of Juan Bautista de Anza, they finally agreed. Peace negotiations were carried on at Pecos between the Mouache Utes, the Comanches, and the Spanish and a treaty was concluded.
1789 Treaty of peace between the Spanish and Utes and promise of Ute aid against the Comanches and Navajos. At this time also, the Spanish took precautions against an alliance between the Mouache Utes and the Lipan Apaches.
1804 Utes and Jicarilla Apaches joined the Spanish in a campaign against the Navajos.
1809 About 600 Mouache Utes and some Jicarilla Apaches were attacked on the Arkansas River by Comanches, Cuampes, and Kiowas. Killed were the major Mouache chief, Delgadito, along with the other leaders, Mano Mocha and El Albo.
1821 Independence of Mexico from Spain did not change the relations between the Utes and the settlements in New Mexico; beginning of the Santa Fe trade.
1829 Opening of the Old Spanish Trail from Santa Fe to San Gabriel, California, partly through Ute territory.
1832 Bent's Fort established in southeastern Colorado.
1837 Philip Thompson and William Craig established a trading post (Fort Davy Crockett) on the Green River. (it was abandoned about 1840). At about the same time, Antoine Robidoux established Fort Uncompahgre at the junction of the Uncompahgre and Gunnison Rivers.
1844 Capote attack on Rio Arriba settlements after the altercation between the Utes and the Governor of New Mexico in Santa Fe,  John C. Fremont passed through Ute country.
1845 Capote Utes attacked the settlement of Ojo Caliente.
1846` Fremont's attempt to cross Colorado in winter ended in disaster.
1849 First treaty between Utes and the United States at Abiquiu. Chief Quiziachigiate, a Capote, signed as principal chief and 28 other Utes signed as subordinate chiefs.
1850 The Utes began to obtain arms from the Mormons at Salt Lake.
1853 Agency reopened at Taos and Kit Carson was agent 1853-59, Captain Gunnison killed near Sevier Lake in Utah. His expedition continued under Lt. Beckwith, an Indian Agent reports war between Mouache Utes and other Indians along the Arkansas River caused by the scarcity of game. The agent requested the U.S. Government to prevent other Indians from encroaching on Mouache lands.
1854 Ute War started by an attack by Utes on Fort Pueblo. The Utes were mainly Mouaches under the leadership of Chief Tierra Blanca. Several skirmishes resulted in the Indians suing for peace. From that time on, the Utes have been generally on friendly terms with U.S. Government.
1860 Utes join U.S. troops in campaigns against Navajos.
1877 Establishment of the Southern Ute Agency at Ignacio to serve the Capotes, Mouaches, and Weeminuches.
1879 Meeker Incident results in cries for the removal of the Utes from Colorado.
Death of Ouray.
1881 Tabeguache and White River Utes moved to the Uintah Reservation in Utah, Denver and Rio Grande Railroad went through Southern Ute land.
1886 Consolidation of the Uintah and Ouray Reservations for the Northern Utes.
1913 Death of Ignacio
1918 Consolidated Ute Indian Reservation established.
1937 Restoration Act returns 222,016 acres to the Southern Utes.
1938 Restoration Act returns 30,000 acres to the Ute Mountain Utes.
Year Total Population Nevada Estimate Source
1700 4,500 3,000 NAHDB calculation
1800 4,500 3,000 NAHDB calculation
1845 4,500 Mooney estimate
1870 4,000 Swanton
1885 3,391 Official records
1900 2,400 1,250 NAHDB calculation
1909 2,041 Official reports
1910 2,241 Census
1923 1,922 US Indian Office
1937 2,163 U. S. Indian Office
1981 4,525 BIA
1989 5,029 BIA
2000 5,800 3,300 NAHDB calculation
Other speakers of the same language:
Chemehuevi, Kawaiisu, Southern Paiute
Ute Sites
Archeology - Zion National Park
Arts and CUlture of the Ute Indians
Chemehuevi Closely related
Chief Walkara Ute Nation
Dixie National Forest
Fremont and Ute Indian Rock Art Replicas
The Future of Numic Ethnohistory ...
Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument, Utah
Great Basin Culture and Ethnobotany
Kawaiisu Closely related
Northern Ute Indians
Northern Ute Tribe of the Unintah and Ouray Reservation
Paiute Posey:  Last Indian Uprising
Posey:  Leader of the Witapunuche Utes
Rocky Mountain Culture and Ethnobotany
Southern Ute Flag
Southern Ute Indian Reservation
Southern Ute Tribe
Southern Ute Tribe of Colorado
Sugar and Salt
Uintah and Ouray Reservation Constitution and By-Laws
Uintah-Ouray Reservation
Ute Authors
Ute History
Ute Indian
Ute Indian Culture
Ute Indian Museum
Ute Indian Sun and Bear Dance Collection
Ute Mountain Ute
Ute Mountain Ute Tribal History
Ute Mountain Ute Tribe
Ute Nation
Ute Nation
Ute People of the Great Basin Desert
Ute-Southern Paiute Language
Ute-Southern Paiute Language
Ute-Southern Paiute Linguistic Lineage
Ute Tribes
Ute Tribes Join Forces

Last updated 02/15/05  Copyright 2005 by Four Directions Press