Monday, September 16, 2013
The Utes were the indigenous Native American tribe to most of Colorado and several of its neighboring states. They were not a large cohesive tribe but numerous nomadic bands that followed the migration of the herds. The Utes lived primarily in the Four Corner states but roamed further out when hunting buffalo, antelope, deer or elk. Many of the roads and highways in these regions follow old Ute migratory paths.
It is estimated that the Utes have lived in this area for a thousand years, having migrated from regions of northern Mexico. Their language belongs to the Uto-Aztecan language found in that same region. The Utes were skilled warriors who specialized in horse mounted combat.
Chief Ouray and his wife Chepeta are two of the more famous Utes. The town of Ouray in western Colorado is named after this Ute Chief. Chief Ouray was known as the Great Peacemaker and he negotiated several treaties with the U.S. Government.
The Tabeguache Band of the Ute traveled through the Pikes Peak region. They called Pikes Peak, Tava, which means "Sun" and took their name from the same word. Thus they were known as "People of the Sun or People of Sun Mountain". They are one of a few tribes which have an emergence myth rather than a creation myth. The Utes believe they originally came from the Pleiades constellation and emerged into this world on the slopes of Pikes Peak.