A Ute Indian
Picture courtesy of the Ouray Historical Society

The Ute Indians lived in Ouray in the summers for hundreds of years. In the 1770’s, the Utes got horses from the Spanish. They were the first Native Americans to acquire horses. In the 1870’s and 1880’s silver and gold brought settlers and miners to Ouray. This caused problems between the Utes and settlers. Utes gave up the San Juan Mountains in the Treaty of Brunot in 1873. They did not want a war. Chief Ouray kept the peace. In 1879, Nathan Meeker, an Indian agent in northwest Colorado, wanted the Utes to become farmers.


Drawing of a Ute Indian
Picture by Marco Nandin
He plowed up their horse racing field because they weren’t farming. The Utes got angry and massacred him in the Meeker Massacre. This was not a good event for the Utes. In 1880, Chief Ouray died. In 1881, almost all the Utes were removed from Ouray. They were moved to a reservation in Utah. It is sad that the Utes lost their homes.

by Marco Nandin

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