Ute Indians inhabit mountain areas of southern Rocky Mountains since around
1500 A.D. making these Native Americans the oldest continuous residents of
Colorado. The Present day Ute are in three groups; The
who live on the Uintah-Ouray Reservation in Utah;
The Southern Ute
who live on the Reservation near Ignacio, in the Southwest Corner of Colorado;
The Moutian Ute who live on the Western end of the Southern Ute Reservation
near Towaoc, Colorado. There is also the White Mesa Utes in Blanding, Utah.
Judy Knight-Frank, Chairperson -Ute Mountain Ute Tribe
Other Native American tribes that have live in the Colorado area are; the Crow, Cheyenne, Arapahoe, Sioux, Ute, Kiowa, Comanche, Apache, Caddo, Wichita, Navajo, Hopi, Nez Pierce, Shoshoni, Shebits, Kaibab, Utah, Ouray, and Paiute.
All lived in various areas of what is present day Colorado. All of these tribes are no longer located in Colorado.
Since most Indians were not recognized as citizens until 1924 and not represented in Congress, the United States Government did a special census enumerating the Native Americans who lived on reservations. These census rolls were submitted annually by the reservations' agent/superintendent as required by an act of July 4, 1884.
The records found at the Colorado State Archives are the Native American / Indian Census Rolls from 1885 - 1944. Before 1930 the census provides information on the person's name, date of birth, gender, and relationship to the head of the family. After 1930 the census provided information on the individual's degree of Indian blood, marital status, ward status, place of residence, and also included miscellaneous commentary.
"Our way of doing genealogy does not always fit the Indian way. They may take into their home an orphan, the homeless of any age, a widow or other stray and call them "brother, sister, aunt" etc... and there may be no blood relationship at all. It was also an accepted practice to use the mother's family name and she could be listed as head of household. An Indian name generally does not tell you if the person is male or female." 1
Colorado Native History
1833 Ouray born near Taos.
On November 29-30, 1864 the massacre (Sand Creek Massacre) of Native American men, women and children in a Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indian encampment by soldiers and settlers stirs Native Americans to fresh violence.
Scattered Indian raids had caused much ill-will between the white settlers and the Native Americans. After beign offered amnesty , Black Kettle with many Cheyennes and a few Arapahos, believing themselves to be protected, established a winter camp about 40 miles from Fort Lyon.
In spite of the American flag and a white flag flying over the camp, the US. troops attacked, killing and mutilating about 200 of the Indians, two-thirds of whom were women and children.
Black Kettle miraculously escaped harm at the Sand Creek Massacre, even when he returned to rescue his seriously injured wife. And perhaps more miraculously, he continued to counsel peace when the Cheyenne attempted to strike back with isolated raids on wagon trains and nearby ranches.
1868 - "A delegation of Ute Indians from Colorado came to Washington, D.C., to work out an agreement regarding the disposition of their ancestral lands."
1880 -Great Ute Chief, Ouray, dies.
1881-Ute tribes are removed onto reservations.
1888 -Band of Utes from Utah under Colorow make last Indian raid into
Colorado; they are defeated and returned to the reservation.
1895 Hunter Act repeals 1888 treaties and establishes permanent reservation as outlined by 1880 treaties.
1896 Land allotments distributed to Southern Utes.
1906 Agreement to trade Utes out of Mesa Verde National Park for land on Utah border.
1910 Ignacio founded.
1918 Consolidated Ute Indian Reservation established.
1924 American Indians become U.S. citizens.
1934 Wheeler-Howard Act inaugurates the "Indian New Deal".
1936 Buckskin Charlie, one of the last traditional chiefs dies at 96.
1936 Southern Utes adopt a constitution and tribal council.
1937 Restoration Act returns 222,000 acres to Southern Utes.
1938 30,000 acres returned to Ute Mountain Utes.
1940 Ute Mountain Utes adopt constitution.
1950 U.S. Court of Claims awards the Confederated Bands of Colorado and Utah almost $32 million.
1971 Chief Jack House dies - the last traditional chief of the Utes.
1986-88 Colorado Ute Water Settlement