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Ouray, Chief of the Ute

The Ute seldom visited Colorado City and the region round about in the early days, except in the winter, which was the only time they could do so with a fair degree of safety. A majority of the tribe had been on friendly terms with the English-speaking people from the time of their earliest contact with that race. It is true that straggling bands of Ute occasionally committed acts of depredation, and such bands on one or two occasions killed white people, but these acts were not approved by the majority of the tribe. One of these exceptions occurred on Christmas day, 1854, at Fort Napesta, on the present site of the city of Pueblo. It is said that the men who occupied the fort were celebrating the day with the liquid that both cheers and inebriates, and in the midst of their jollity, a band of wandering Ute came by and was invited to join in the revelry. The Indians, nothing loath, partook of the white man’s Taos lightning, the product of a distillery at Taos, New Mexico, and the natural consequence was an attack upon the whites which resulted in all the latter being killed. In 1866, a small, band of Ute began a raid upon the settlers on Huerfano Creek, but when the news reached Ouray, the head chief of the tribe, he sent runners out at once to warn the settlers and then went to the scene of action with a band of his faithful warriors. He soon afterwards took the hostile Indians prisoners and compelled them to go to Fort Garland and remain there, in this manner...

Old Indian Trails of Pike’s Peak

The principal Indian trail into the mountains from the plains to the northeast of Pike’s Peak came in by way of the Garden Ranch, through what used to be known as Templeton’s Gap. It crossed Monument Creek about a mile above Colorado Springs, then followed up a ridge to the Mesa; then it went southwest over the Mesa and across Camp Creek, passing just south of the Garden of the Gods; from there it came down to the Fountain, about a mile west of Colorado City, and there joined another trail that came from the southeast up the east side of Fountain Creek. The latter trail followed the east side of the Fountain from the Arkansas River, and crossed Monument Creek just below the present Artificial Ice Plant in Colorado Springs, from which point it ran along the north side of the Fountain to a point just west of Colorado City, where it crossed to the south side, then up the south side of the creek to the Manitou Springs. From this place it went up Ruxton Creek for a few hundred yards, then crossed over to the west side, then up the creek to a point just below the Colorado Midland Railway bridge; thence westward up a long ravine to its head; then in the same direction near the heads of the ravines running into the Fountain and from a quarter to a half of a mile south of that creek for two miles or more. The trail finally came down to the Fountain again just below Cascade Canon and from there led up the Fountain to its...

Ute Indians Use of Fire as a Defensive Weapon

After Ruxton had been camped near Manitou Springs for two or three weeks, while out hunting one day, he ran across an Indian camp, which startled him very much. No Indians were in sight at the time, but later he got a glimpse of two carrying in a deer which they had killed. The next morning Ruxton concluded that as a matter of safety, he had better remove his camp to some more secluded spot. The following day a fire was started on the side of the mountain to the south of the springs, which rapidly spread in every direction. He says: I had from the first no doubt that the fire was caused by the Indians who had probably discovered my animals, and thinking that a large party of hunters might be out, had taken advantage of a favorable wind to set fire to the grass, hoping to secure the horses and mules in the confusion, without risk of attacking the camp. In order to be out of reach of the fire, Ruxton moved his camp down the Fontaine qui Bouille six or seven miles. He says: All this time the fire was spreading out on the prairies. It extended at least five miles on the left bank of the creek and on the right was more slowly creeping up the mountainside, while the brush and timber in the bottom was one mass of flame. Besides the long, sweeping line of the advancing flame the plateaus on the mountainside and within the line were burning in every direction as the squalls and eddies down the gullies drove the fire...

Legend of the Separation of the Comanche and Ute Tribes

The large spring referred to by Dr. James, Sage, Fremont, Ruxton, and the other writers whom I have quoted, is the one now enclosed and used by the bottling works at Manitou. Ruxton says the two springs were intimately connected with the separation of the Comanche and the Snake, or Ute tribes, and he gives the following legend concerning the beginning of the trouble: Many hundreds of winters ago, when the cottonwoods on the Big River were no higher than an arrow, and the red men, who hunted the buffalo on the plains, all spoke the same language, and the pipe of peace breathed its social cloud of kinnikinnik whenever two parties of hunters met on the boundless plains – when, with hunting grounds and game of every kind in the greatest abundance, no nation dug up the hatchet with another because one of its hunters followed the game into their bounds, but, on the contrary, loaded for him his back with choice and fattest meat, and ever proffered the soothing pipe before the stranger, with well-filled belly, left the village, it happened that two hunters of different nations met one day on a small rivulet, where both had repaired to quench their thirst. A little stream of water, rising from a spring on a rock within a few feet of the bank, trickled over it and fell splashing into the river. To this the hunters repaired; and while one sought the spring itself, where the water, cold and clear, reflected on its surface the image of the surrounding scenery, the other, tired by his exertions in the chase,...

Tribes of the Pike’s Peak Region

It would be interesting to know who were the occupants of the Pike’s Peak region during prehistoric times. Were its inhabitants always nomadic Indians? We know that semi-civilized peoples inhabited southwestern Colorado and New Mexico in prehistoric times, who undoubtedly had lived there ages before they were driven into cliff dwellings and communal houses by savage invaders. Did their frontier settlements of that period ever extend into the Pike’s Peak region? The facts concerning these matters, we may never know. As it is, the earliest definite information we have concerning the occupants of this region dates from the Spanish exploring expeditions, but even that is very meager. From this and other sources, we know that a succession of Indian tribes moved southward along the eastern base of the Rocky Mountains during the two hundred years before the coming of the white settler, and that during this period, the principal tribes occupying this region were the Ute, Comanche, Kiowa, Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Sioux; and, further, that there were other tribes such as the Pawnees and Jicarilla Apache, who frequently visited and hunted in this region. Jicarilla Apache Indians of Colorado The Jicarilla Apaches are of the Athapascan stock, a widely distributed linguistic family, which includes among its branches the Navajos, the Mescalaro of New Mexico, and the Apaches of Arizona. Notwithstanding the fact that they were kindred people, the Jicarilla considered the latter tribes their enemies. However, they always maintained friendly relations with the Ute, and the Pueblos of northern New Mexico, and inter-marriages between members of these tribes were of frequent occurrence. The mother of Ouray, the noted Ute...

Treaty of March 2, 1868

Articles of a treaty and agreement made and entered into at Washington City, D. C., on the second day of March, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-eight, by and between Nathaniel G. Taylor, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Alexander C. Hunt, governor of Colorado Territory and ex-officio superintendent of Indian affairs, and Kit Carson, duly authorized to represent the United States, of the one part, and the representatives of the Tabaquache, Muache, Capote, Weeminuche, Yampa, Grand River, and Uintah bands of Ute Indians, (whose names are hereto subscribed,) duly authorized and empowered to act for the body of the people of said bands, of the other part, witness: Article 1. All of the provisions of the treaty concluded with the Tabequache band of Utah Indians October seventh, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, as amended by the Senate of the United States and proclaimed December fourteenth, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-four, which are not inconsistent with the provisions of this treaty, as hereinafter provided, are hereby re-affirmed and declared to be applicable and to continue in force as well to the other bands, respectively, parties to this treaty, as to the Tabequache band of Utah Indians. Article 2. The United States agree that the following district of country, to wit: Commencing at that point on the southern boundary-line of the Territory of Colorado where the meridian of longitude 107° west from Greenwich crosses the same; running thence north with said meridian to a point fifteen miles due north of where said meridian intersects the fortieth parallel of north latitude; thence due west to the western boundary-line of said Territory;...

Treaty of October 7, 1863

Whereas the Tabeguache band of Utah Indians claim as against all other Indian tribes an exclusive right to the following-described country as their lands and hunting grounds within the territory of the United States of America, being bounded and described as follows, to wit: “Beginning on the 37th degree of north latitude, at the eastern base of the Sierra Madre Mountain; running thence northerly with the base of the Rocky Mountains to the forty-first parallel of north latitude; thence west with the line of said forty-first parallel of north latitude to its intersection with the summit of the Snowy range northwest of the North Park; thence with the summit of the Snowy range southerly to the Rabbit-Ear Mountains; thence southerly with the summit of said Rabbit-Ear range of Mountains, west of the Middle Park, to the Grand River; thence with the said Grand River to its confluence with the Gunnison River; thence with the said Gunnison River to the mouth of the Uncompahgre River; thence with the said Uncompahgre River to its source in the summit of the Snowy range, opposite the source of the Rio Grande del Norte; thence in a right line south to the summit of the Sierra La Plata range of mountains, dividing the waters of the San Juan River from those of the Rio Grande del Norte; thence with the summit of said range southeasterly to the thirty-seventh parallel of north latitude; thence with the line of said parallel of latitude to the place of beginning:” The President of the United States of America, by John Evans, governor of Colorado Territory, and ex-officio superintendent...

Ute Tribe

Ute Indians. An important Shoshonean division, related linguistically to the Paiute, Chemehuevi, Kawaiisu, and Bannock. They formerly occupied the entire central and west portions of Colorado and the east portion of Utah, including the east part of Salt Lake valley and Utah valley. On the south they extended into New Mexico, occupying much of the upper drainage area of the San Juan. They appear to have always been a warlike people, and early came into possession of horses, which intensified their aggressive character. None of the tribes practiced agriculture. Very little is known of their social and political organization, although the seven Ute tribes of Utah were at one time organized into a confederacy under chief Tabby (Taíwi). Dialectic differences exist in the language, but these do not appear to be great and probably presented little difficulty to intercourse between the several bands or geographical bodies. In the north part of their range, in Utah, they appear to have become considerably intermixed by marriage with their Shoshoni, Bannock, and Paiute kindred, and on the south with the Jicarilla Apache. Ute Tribe History The first treaty with the Ute, one of peace and amity, was concluded Dec. 30, 1849. By Executive order of Oct. 3, 1861, Uintah valley was set apart for the Uinta tribe and the remainder of the land claimed by them was taken without formal purchase. By treaty of Oct. 7, 1863, the Tabeguache were assigned a reservation and the remainder of their land was ceded to the United States. On May 5, 1864, various reserves, established in 1856 and 1859 by Indian agents, were ordered vacated...

Southern Ute Reservation

Report of Special Agent George D. Meston on the Indians of Southern Ute, reservation, Southern Ute agency, Archuleta, La Plata, and Montezuma counties, Colorado, September and October 1890. Names of Indian tribes or parts of tribes occupying said reservation: (a) Kapoti, Muachi, and Wiminuchi Ute. The unallotted area of this reservation is 1,094,400 acres, or 1,710 square miles. It has been partially surveyed and subdivided. It was established, altered, or changed by treaties of October 7, 1883 (13 U. S. Stats., p. 673), and March 2, 1868 (15 U. S. Stats., p. 610) ; act of Congress approved April 29, 1874 (18 U. S. Stats., p. 36); executive orders, November 22, 1875, August 17, 1876, February 7, 1879, and August 4, 1882; and acts of Congress approved June 15, 1880 (21 U. S. Stats., p. 199), and July 28, 1882 (22 U. S. Stets., 178). Indian population 1800: 085. Southern Ute Reservation The Utes are as a rule extremely suspicious and inclined to be non-communicative. The reason given for this is the failure of the government to act on the agreement made in 1888, by which the Utes were to be removed to the new reservation in Utah, and the Indians think that they have been deceived, not only in this, but in several minor matters. On account of the many recent interviews and conferences held with the Southern Utes by commissions and special agents regarding the proposed removal to Utah these Indians now begin to think themselves very important and assume arrogant and self-important airs, their every action betraying a race of spoiled children. Their duplicity of character...
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