Southern Ute Indian Tribe

By: Mariah Aerts

Background Information

The Southern Ute Indian tribe is located on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation in southwest Colorado. This reservation covers an area of 1,059 square miles. It also covers three countries. The head quarters are located in Ignacio, Colorado.

Tribe History

The Ute tribe are the oldest people to live in Colorado, along with Utah, Wyoming, Eastern Nevada, Northern New Mexico, and Arizona. as you can see, they were a very large tribe. The Ute speak a language known as Shoshonean. The inhabited the mountains until late in the fall. At this time, they would leave the mountains and head to sheltered areas. During the 1600s, spainards began to inhabit New Mexico, changing the way the Ute people live. They now have livestock along with some unwanted diseases.


The Southern Ute tribe performs many dances through out the year. One of these is the Bear Dance. This is performed when the first thunder of spring is heard to welcome spring. Another dance they perform is the Sun Dance. This dance is performed in the summer and is a spiritual dance. During this dance, the dancer only dances once he gets a command to dance through a dream. The Southern Ute tribe also holds an annual powwow.

Bear Dance

Reservation Today

The reservation is located in southwest corner of Colorado. The total area of land covered is 1,059 square miles. The Southern Ute Indian Tribe was established is 1873. It has a population of 11,259 Ute Indians.