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The Utah, Yuta, or Ute, as the name is variously written, are a large tribe belonging to the great Shoshone family* and who occupy the mountainous portion of Colorado, with portions of Utah, New Mexico, and Nevada. Those living in the mountains where game abounds have a fine physical development, are brave and hardy, and comparatively well to do; while those who inhabit the sterile plains of the Salt Lake Basin are miser ably poor, and spiritless. We derive our first knowledge of the Utah from the early Spanish explorers, who came in contact with them on the upper waters of the Rio Grande del Norte, and who gave them the reputation of being a brave and war like tribe. Their country bordered that of the Navajos of the south (the Rio San Juan now dividing them), who formerly ranged as far north as the waters of the Grand, but were crowded back by the Utah. A continuous warfare was kept up between the tribes, in which the Navajo were worsted. The Utah were employed against them by the Government at the time of their expulsion from their country in 1863. The tribe is divided into many bands, which are continually changing, but as now recognized are as follows: Capote, Weeminuche, Tabeguache, Muache, Grand River, Yampa, Uintah, Peah, Goship, and Mouache. The tribe now numbers in the aggregate 5,260. The Pi-Ute, Pi-Ede, Timpanago, San-pitche, and others in Utah are kindred tribes.
The Utah have generally been friendly to the whites, although there was some fighting in 1859 and 1860 about Pike’s Peak, many emigrants plundered at various times, and stray miners cut off by disaffected bands. The Capotes, Weeminuche, and others in the southern portion of the Territory have been more troublesome than those of the north.
Treaties were made in 1863 and 1868, giving them 18,320 square miles of reservation in the western part of the Territory.
The southern portion of it, known as the San Juan region, was found to be rich in precious metals, and as it was already attracting a large influx of miners, additional treaties were made in 1872 for the cession of that part of their reservation. In 1874 the tribe consented to the sale of about 6,000 square miles for $25,000 a year forever. Much dissatisfaction ensued from the failure of the Government to promptly carry out the provisions of the treaty, and from the fact that much of their most valuable agricultural lands were unwittingly included in the purchase.
“Though holding a hereditary friendship for the white people and acknowledging the supremacy of the Government, and for the most part included under agencies and receiving Government rations to a greater or less extent, no tribe in the country is more averse to manual labor, or has yielded less to civilizing influences, partly because of the abundance of game and partly because of their remoteness from settlements.’ 7
List of illustrations.
765-7, Ouray. Arrow. Tabeguache
Ouray was born in 1834, in Taos, ET. Mex., his father being a Ute, and his mother a Jicarilla Apache. He attended the Mexican school at Taos, under the tuition of Jesuit priests, and acquired there a perfect knowledge of the Spanish language. In 1850, he married, and joined his tribe as a warrior, it being then at war with the Navajos of New Mexico, and the Cheyenne and Arapahos of Colorado. Soon after, in a fight with the Arapahos, his only son was captured and carried off by the enemy, and since then he has never ceased, nor allowed his tribe to rest, from hostilities against these Indians. In 1856, his knowledge of the Spanish language and superior executive ability secured him the position of Government interpreter, which position he has held ever since, and through the same means he has gradually risen from a simple warrior to be the principal chief of the nation. In 1863, he accompanied, as interpreter, a delegation of his tribe to Washington, when their first treaty with the Government was made. In 1868, he again, as chief of the Tabeguache, in company with the chiefs of the other tribes, visited Washington, and it was mainly through his influence and eloquence a treaty was made, whereby the Ute ceded a large portion of their country in Colorado. Soon after his return, the principal chief of Ute, Nevava, died, and he became the acknowledged leader. In 1873, when the discovery of rich mines upon their lands (the San Juan region) was very near involving the Ute in war with the miners, he avoided this by agreeing to a cession of the lands in dispute, and against a strong opposition from the greater portion of the nation. Asa chief he is very strict with his people, punishing all crimes, and sometimes simple disobedience, with death; but he is very kind never the less, and has gained his influence more through moral suasion than command. He is a steadfast friend of the whites, and has never lifted his hand against any of them, though some of his people have at times been on the point of making war. Ouray is quite wealthy, owning a herd of several hundred horses, among which are some famous racers, and also large flocks of sheep. He lives at the Government agency in a comfortable house, in a somewhat civilized style, and has a carriage with driver, while his people live altogether in tents. The Government places great confidence in his ability and suggestions, and he has managed to keep the Ute at peace with the fast-encroaching people of Colorado.
Present chief of the Tabeguache Ute. Guero be longs to that class of chiefs among the Indians who generally succeed their fathers as leaders of a band which hunts and fights in a separate party. He has about 50 lodges in his band, and therefore has considerable influence. When younger he distinguished himself in the wars against the Navajos, but in later years has abandoned his warlike proclivities. He is a staunch supporter of Ouray’s peace policy with the Government, and generally lives at the agency, assisting the agent in the distribution of the annuity goods and provisions.
772-3, 781. Shavano. Tabeguache
War chief of the Tabeguache, and the most prominent warrior among the Ute. The Arapahoe and Cheyenne fear and hate him; he never goes on the war-path but brings back a scalp of his enemies. Has distinguished himself often by the fierceness of his attack, generally going into a fight naked, and has been wounded several times in such encounters. In the council he is always for peace with the whites, and has used his influence to make those treaties whereby all difficulties were obviated. He is an eloquent orator, and when speaking is often applauded by his people.
751. Tapuche. Capote
A young chief of the Capote band of Ute, son of Sobita, their principal chief. The latter is now very old, and does not attend to the duties of his office, his son taking his place. Both are strong supporters of Ouray and his peace-policy. Tapuche was the delegate of his tribe to visit Washington and confirm the treaty of 1873.
752. Mautchick. Muache
A young chief of the Muache Ute, who has during the last few years gained considerable influence, and is now considered the war chief of his baud in place of Curacanto. Was also delegate to Washington in 1873.
754. Co-Ho. The Lame Man. Muache
756-758. Antero. Graceful Walker.
759-760. Wa-Ne-Ro. Yellow Flower.
761-762. Tabiyuna. One Who Wins the Race.
An intelligent young Indian of the Uiuta band, who was brought east by Major Powell, of the Colorado exploring expedition, who educated him, and then employed him as a clerk in his office in Washington, but died suddenly a short time since.
769. John. Yampah
A young warrior of the Yampah Ute, well known among] the people of Colorado by the soubriquet of “John,” and as a particularly good friend of the white settlers. Died suddenly at the Hot Springs in Middle Park in 1873.
770. Kwa-Ko-Nut. A King, and Mose. Muache
771. Cu-Ra-Can-Te. Muache
The old war chief of his band, and in former days quite noted for his independent raids into the country of the Cheyenne and their allies. In the winter of 1868-’69 he organized a body of 100 warriors, and, as leader of these, was attached to the column under Colonel Evans, operating against the Kiowa and Comanche, which campaign ended in the surrender of these Indians. He is now quite old and has lost much of his influence, his son Maut chick succeeding him.
774. Wa-Rets And Shavano. Tabeguache
775. Group Representing
776. Group of Seven, Representing “John.”
Ma-Ku-Tcha-Wo or Sa-Pe-A.
To-Shi-My, or Black Bear.
Kwa-Ko-Nut, or A King.
777. Suriap. Yampah
A son of Lodge Pole, a prominent chief and a warrior in his band. Was one of a delegation to visit Washington in 1868 to make the treaty with the Government. He has not, however, come up to the expectations of his people, as, although a young man, he has not distinguished himself in any way, so that he remains a simple warrior to this day.
778. Chippin. Always Riding.
779. Little Soldier.
780. Squaw Of Little Soldier..
782. Lovo. The Wolf.
Lovo was noted among the Ute for his ability in following the trail of man or beast, hunting, or on the war-path, and had gained the name of being the best scout. Was frequently employed as “runner n by the Government in carrying dispatches, and was noted for his promptness in executing these commissions. Is a brother of the chief Guero, and died in October, 1874, while hunting on the Republican River.
784. Nick-A-A-God. Green Leaf. Yampah
A chief of the Yampah and formerly a man of considerable influence, which he has lost, however, through several petty thieving excursions which he has led against the whites. He has but few followers left, and is one of the few mischievous Ute. In 1868, was delegated to go to Washington, and while there was considered to have equal influence with Ouray, both being in favor of the treaty made that year. Speaks English well, has considerable intelligence, and a good knowledge of the customs of the whites, but since his repudiation by his tribe he has not come in contact with them much.
785. Pe-Ah, or Black-Tail Deer.
A young chief of the Grand River band of Ute. As a delegate of his tribe, he helped to make the treaty of 1868 in Washington, and signed it; but since then he has never acknowledged it, and, with his baud, has kept off the present reservation, camping generally near Denver. He has about 35 lodges, or 250 people, with him. He is a nephew of the late principal chief Nevava, who died in 1868. He is quite a young man, very adroit and ambitious, and possessed of considerable ability. Has distinguished himself as a warrior in contests with the Arapahoe. He has many enemies among the Ute on account of his over bearing disposition and pride of birth and position, but manages to gain in influence, so that the Government has been obliged to establish a special agency for his band at Denver.
787. Sappix and Son.
790-6, 965-74. Miscellaneous groups, all copies 5 a portion of the original Blackmore collection.
955-9. Ute Encampment on the plains near Denver.
960-3. Camp Scenes among the Ute at Los Pinos.
520. Group of Peah and his head men.