Southern Ute Indian Tribe
Culture & Traditions
The Ute enjoy singing, and most songs revolve around the Bear dance and Sun dance. They also enjoy dancing for entertainment. Rock art was another form of expression. Many of their works have been documented and can even be seen today.
Dancing is a form of public entertainment for the Ute. They wear every extravagant costumes when they perform.
The Ute have different singing and drumming contests at their fairs and powwows.
The artistic works of Ute tribes can be seen on rock surfaces today.
The Bear Dance is a social dance that is held usually is late March to welcome spring. The origin of the Bear Dance can be traced all the way back to the 15th century. The men usually prepare the Bear Dance corral and it is the women's job to prepare the clothing worn by the family during the Bear Dance.
Religion was a very important part of Ute daily life and was practiced at the level of the individual, rather than through a group activity. Senawahv is named the Ute creator of land, animals, food, plants, and even the Ute themselves. Animals, such as the wolf and coyote, were often depicted in myths and usually had human like traits and mystical powers.
Death and Afterlife
Years ago, when a member of the Ute tribe died, morning lasted up to a year. Care was taken to ensure the ghost of the deceased did not return, although the Ute believed the ghost hung around the body for several days after death. All souls went on into an afterlife similar to this world. Burial and funeral customs included burning the house in which the death occurred and destruction of all personal property of the deceased. Bodies were washed, dressed, wrapped and buried in a grave in the mountains.