Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation

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Ute Indian Tribe
Ute warrior.jpg
Uintah Ute couple, northwestern Utah, 1874
Total population
2,647 (1990)[1]
Regions with significant populations
United States United States (Utah Utah)
English, Ute language
Christianity, Sun Dance, Native American Church, traditional tribal religion
Related ethnic groups
other Ute Tribes

The Ute Indian Tribe of the Uinta and Ouray Reservation is a Federally Recognized Tribe of Indians in northeastern Utah, United States. Three bands of Utes comprise the Ute Indian Tribe: the Whiteriver Band, the Uncompahgre Band and the Uintah Band. The Tribe has a membership of more than three thousand individuals, with over half living on the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation.[2][better source needed] The Ute Indian Tribe operates its own tribal government and oversees approximately 1.3 million acres of trust land which contains significant oil and gas deposits.[2][better source needed]

Historic bands[edit]

The Northern Ute tribe, which was moved to the Uintah Ouray Reservation, is composed of a number of bands. The tribes at the reservation include the following groups:

  • Uintah tribe, which is larger than its historical band since the U.S. government classified the following bands as Uintah when they were relocated to the reservation:


Utes have lived in the Great Basin region for over 10,000 years. From 3000 BCE to around 500 BCE, they lived along the Gila River in Arizona. People of the Fremont culture lived to the north in western Colorado, but when drought struck in the 13th century, they joined the Utes in San Luis Valley, Colorado. Utes were one of the first tribes to obtain horses from escaped Spanish stock.

Spanish explorers traveled through Ute land in 1776. They were followed by an ever-increasing number of non-Natives. The Colorado Gold Rush of the 1850s flooded Ute lands with prospectors. Mormons fought the Utes from the 1840s to 1870s. In the 1860s the US federal government created the Uintah Reservation. Utah Utes, including the Timpanogos or Timpanog tribe from Central Utah, settled there in 1864, and were joined in 1882 by eight bands of Northern Utes.

The US government tried to force the Utes to farm, despite the lack of water and unfavorable growing conditions on their reservation. Irrigation projects of the early 20th century put water in non-tribal hands. Ute children were forced to attend Indian boarding schools in the 1880s and half of the Ute children at the Albuquerque Indian School died.[9]


The Tribal Business Committee is the governing council of the Tribe and is located in Fort Duchesne, Utah.[10]


The Uinta and Ouray Indian Reservation is the second-largest Indian Reservation in the US – covering over 4,500,000 acres (18,000 km2) of land.[2][11] Tribal owned lands only cover approximately 1.2 million acres (4,855 km2) of surface land and 40,000 acres (160 km2) of mineral-owned land within the 4 million acres (16,185 km2) reservation area.[11] Founded in 1861, it is located in Carbon, Duchesne, Grand, Uintah, Utah, and Wasatch Counties in Utah.[1]

Raising stock and oil and gas leases are important revenue streams for the reservation. The tribe is a member of the Council of Energy Resource Tribes.


The Ute language is a Proto-Numic language within the Uto-Aztecan language family.[12] The language is still widely spoken. In 1984, the tribe declared the Ute language to be the official language of their reservation, and the Ute Language, Culture and Traditions Committee provides language education materials.[13]


  1. ^ a b Pritzker, 245
  2. ^ a b c "Home". www.utetribe.com. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  3. ^ a b c d "History of the Southern Ute". Southern Ute Indian Tribe. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  4. ^ Simmons, Virginia McConnell (September 15, 2001). The Ute Indians of Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico. University Press of Colorado. p. PT33. ISBN 978-1-60732-116-3.
  5. ^ "The Timpanogos Nation: Uinta Valley Reservation". www.timpanogostribe.com. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  6. ^ Bakken, Gordon Morris; Kindell, Alexandra (February 24, 2006). Encyclopedia of Immigration and Migration in the American West. SAGE. p. PT740. ISBN 978-1-4129-0550-3.
  7. ^ Carson, Phil (1998). Across the Northern Frontier: Spanish Explorations in Colorado. Big Earth Publishing. p. 103. ISBN 978-1-55566-216-5.
  8. ^ "Frontier in Transition: A History of Southwestern Colorado (Chapter 5)". National Park Service. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  9. ^ Pritzker, 243
  10. ^ "Business Committee". www.utetribe.com. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  11. ^ a b UINTAH AND OURAY RESERVATION (PDF) (PDF), Bureau of Indian Affairs, n.d.
  12. ^ Pritzker, 242
  13. ^ "Ute Language Policy." Cultural Survival. Issue 9.2, Summer 1985 (retrieved 5 May 2010)


  • D'Azevedo, Warren L., Volume Editor. Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 11: Great Basin. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1986. ISBN 978-0-16-004581-3.
  • Pritzker, Barry M. A Native American Encyclopedia: History, Culture, and Peoples. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. ISBN 978-0-19-513877-1.
  • Ute Indian Tape Recordings Collection; MSS 855; 20th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts; L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.
  • The Ute; MSS SC 1162; Newsletters of the Uintah and Ouray Indian Agency (1937-1941); 20th Century Western and Mormon Manuscripts; L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.

External links[edit]