Ute Tribe

Ute Native American Indian Tribe

Ute Native American Indian

This article contains interesting facts, pictures and information about the life of the Ute Native American Indian Tribe.

The Ute Tribe
Summary and Definition: The Ute tribe were nomadic hunter gatherers who inhabited lands occupied by the Great Basin cultural group but then migrated to the Plains. The Ute tribe resisted the white encroachment of their lands and came into particular conflict with the Mormons. The names of the most famous chiefs of the Ute tribe included Ouray, Guero, Shavano, Sobita, Tapuche, Mautchick and Buckskin Charley.

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Facts about the Ute Native Indian Tribe
This article contains fast, fun facts and interesting information about the Ute Native American Indian tribe. Find answers to questions like where did the Ute tribe live, what clothes did they wear, what did they eat and who were the names of their most famous leaders? Discover what happened to the Ute tribe with facts about their wars and history.

What was the lifestyle and culture of the Ute tribe?
The Ute tribe were originally hunters, traders and seed gathers from the Great Basin cultural group of Native Indians. The word Ute means "Land of the sun" in their language. The Great Basin social and cultural patterns were those of the non-horse bands often referred to as the Desert Culture. However, with the acquisition of the horse many Utes migrated to the Great Plains where their way of life changed to that of hunter gatherers adopting the lifestyle and culture of the horse-riding bison-hunting Native Indians. For full details of the lifestyle, clothes, wikiups and grass houses of the Great Basin Shoshone refer to the article on the Bannock Tribe. For information about the lifestyle of the Plains Native Indians, their clothes and their tepees refer to the Kiowa Tribe.

What language did the Ute tribe speak?
The Ute tribe spoke in a Numic language, formerly called Plateau Shoshonean which was a division of the Uto-Aztecan language.


Ute Cultural Groups
The Utes were originally people of the Great Basin Native American cultural group. The Ute tribe originally lived in the American Great Basin region but with the advent of the horse many migrated to the Great Plains.

  • The location of their homelands are shown on the map.  The geography of the region in which they lived dictated the lifestyle and culture of the Ute tribe

  • The Ute tribe originally lived in the American Great Basin region but with the advent of the horse many migrated to the Great Plains

  • Tribal Territories:  Colorado, with portions of Utah, New Mexico, and Nevada

Map showing Native American Indians Cultural Groups

Map of Native American Cultural Groups

The Great Basin Ute Tribe

The Ute tribe of the Great Basin
The Great Basin with its very hot summers, cold winters and very low levels of rainfall resulted in desolate and difficult living conditions in which the people had to work hard to survive due to limited resources.

  • Food: The food of the Great Basin Ute tribe consisted of rice, pine nuts, seeds, berries, nuts, roots etc. Fish and small game was also available and Indian rice grass was harvested

  • Shelter: The temporary shelters of the Great Basin Utes were were a simple form of Brush shelter or dome-shaped Wikiups

  • Clothes: The Great Basin Utes wore clothes made of twined sagebrush bark with robes typically made of rabbit furs

  • Weapons: The weapons used by the Great Basin Ute tribe were primitive and included bows and arrows, stone knifes, spears, rabbit sticks and digging sticks

The Great Plains Ute Tribe

The Ute tribe of the Great Plains
The migration of the Ute Tribe from the harsh conditions in the Great Basin required a totally different lifestyle to suit the climate and natural resources of the area. The lives of the Utes changed from nomadic seed gathers to hunter gatherers who followed the great herds of buffalo. The buffalo was the main source of subsistence on the Plains and the food, weapons, houses and style of clothes worn by the Utes changed accordingly.

  • Food: The food of the Plains Ute tribe was predominantly buffalo but also they also hunted deer, elk, bear and wild turkey. Their diet was supplemented with roots and wild fruit and vegetables

  • Shelter: The shelters of the Utes were tepees, tent-like shelters constructed from wooden poles that were covered with buffalo hides

  • Culture: The Ute tribe adopted a warrior-like culture

  • Clothes: Breechcloths, fringed buckskin tunics or shirts and leggings with warm buffalo robes to protect against the rain and the cold

  • Weapons: Their range of weapons were extended to include spears and lances, hatchets and axes together with the use of shields

Who were the most famous leaders and chiefs of the Ute tribe?
The most famous leaders and chiefs of the Ute tribe included Chief Ouray, Chief Quiziachigiat, Antonga, or Black Hawk, Chief Moara, Chief Pinto, Guero, Shavano, Sobita, Tapuche and Chief Mautchick. The most famous wars that involved the Ute tribe were the 1849 Jicarilla War, 1853 Walker War, 1865 Black Hawk's War led by Antonga and the 1879 Meeker Massacre.

Ute History Timeline: What happened to the Ute tribe?
The following history timeline details facts, dates and famous landmarks and battles fought by the Nation. The Ute timeline explains what happened to the people of their tribe.

Ute History Timeline

  • 1000: Woodland Period including the Adena and Hopewell cultures established along rivers in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States which included trade exchange systems

  • 1580: The Spanish make the first white contact with the Ute tribe

  • 1598: The Spanish settle and trade is established with the Ute tribe

  • 1626: Conflicts begin with the Hopi Native Indians

  • 1637: Conflicts between the Ute tribe and the Spanish led by Luis de Rosas (1637-1641)

  • 1637: It was about this time that the Ute tribe acquired their first horses

  • 1692: Alliance between the Hopi, Paiute, Comanche and Apache tribe against the Spanish and the Pueblo and Navajo tribes

  • 1730: The Comanche - Ute alliance collapses starting a 50-year between the tribes

  • 1781: Smallpox epidemic kills many people

  • 1789: Treaty of Peace between the Spanish and Ute tribe

  • 1800's: With the wide spread use of the horse the Ute tribe roamed the Southern area of the Great Plains living a nomadic way of life

  • 1821: Spanish rule is replaced by Mexico and the Santa Fe trail opens

  • 1840s: Constant attacks by the Utes on settlements in the Taos Valley and in New Mexico Several land grants began to erode the Ute land base

  • 1847: Mormons settled in the Great Salt Lake valley

  • 1848: Outbreak of a series of devastating cholera and smallpox epidemic

  • 1849: The Jicarilla War fought between the Jicarilla Apaches and Ute warriors against the United States

  • 1849: First treaty between Ute tribe, signed by Chief Quiziachigiat, and the United States at Abiquiu

  • 1850: Ute agency was opened at Taos

  • 1851: Fort Laramie Treaty with Plains Indian Tribes

  • 1853: The Walker War (1853–1854) with the Ute Indians begins over slavery among the Indians. Wakara (Walker) leads the Utes in Utah in a series of raids on Mormon settlements

  • 1854: The Ute War starts with an attack by Utes led by Chief Tierra Blanca on Fort Pueblo

  • 1860: Ute tribe join U.S. troops in campaigns against the Navajos

  • 1861: The American Civil (1861 - 1865)

  • 1863: Full scale war in the Great Plains by an alliance for Lakota Sioux, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Kiowa and Comanche

  • 1864: The First Battle of Adobe Walls - Kit Carson led a group of cavalry but was overwhelmed by the Comanche and forced to retreat

  • 1865: Ute Wars aka the Black Hawk War, or Black Hawk's War led by Antonga, or Black Hawk, from 1865 to 1872 broke out in Utah due to Mormon settlers taking over their lands

  • 1868: Treaty with the Ute tribe creating a reservationconsisting of approximately the western one-third of Colorado. Ouray selected as principal chief of the tribe

  • 1873: Weminuche, Mouache and Capote bands relocate to Pine River in southwestern Colorado. (today: Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Reservations)

  • 1874: President Grant signs the Brunot Agreement and thousands of miles of Ute lands are appropriated by the U.S. government

  • 1877 Establishment of the Southern Ute Agency at Ignacio to serve the Caputa, Mouache, and Weeminuche Ute bands

  • 1878: Ute Indians of Colorado relinquish their rights to 12 million acres of land

  • 1879: The Meeker Massacre resulted in cries for the removal of all Utes from Colorado

  • 1880: Ouray goes to Washington DC for treaty negotiations and more land is ceded by the Utes

  • 1895: Weminuche band moves to Southern Ute Reservation and become Ute Mountain

  • 1896: Land allotments are distributed to Southern Utes

  • 1905: Buckskin Charley and five other Native Sovereign leaders in Theodore Roosevelt’s Inaugural Parade

The Story of Ute
For additional facts and information about the Ute tribe refer to the legend and the Story of Ute Wars.


  • Interesting Facts and information about the way the people lived
  • The clothes worn by men and women of the Ute tribe
  • Description of the homes and the type of food the Ute would eat
  • Fast Facts and info about the Ute
  • Names of famous Ute chiefs and leaders
  • Interesting Homework resource for kids on the history of the Ute Native American Indians

Pictures and Videos of Native American Indians and their Tribes
The Ute Tribe was one of the most famous tribes of Native American Indians. Discover the vast selection of pictures on the subject of the tribes of Famous Native Americans such as the Ute nation. The pictures show the clothing, war paint, weapons and decorations of various Native Indian tribes, such as the Ute tribe, that can be used as a really useful educational resource for kids and children of all ages. We hope you enjoy watching the video - just click and play - a great social studies homework resource for kids .


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