of the Ute Indians of Colorado and Utah
February 24, 2013
The Ute are a large tribal nation that is now separated into three tribes that now reside in Colorado and Utah. Historically, they did not have a unified government. Instead, they used a band system of government in which the tribe separated into 7 tribes each composed of several bands. They lived primarily in small groups due to their nomadic lifestyle. They are a people of strong traditions and even hundreds of years later hints of their older ways remain ingrained in their current government.
Prior to the colonization of the current United States, tribes of the country each had their own unique governmental structures. The Ojibwe used the clan system, a system in which each clan had different duties that benefited the tribe as a whole. Specific gender roles were clearly defined in early Lakota society where men were in charge of the politics of the tribe. The Ute tribe of Colorado and Utah were a prominently nomadic tribe, similar to the Lakota but governed themselves quite differently. Although the Ute were a tribe with common practices and languages, it was not a traditional unified tribe. The tribe was rather a collection of many small nomadic groups or bands. The band system was adaptable to their needs and circumstances and was based largely on survival. The Ute are said to be the oldest residents of Colorado, but it is unknown exactly how long the Ute have actually been in the area. Ute oral history suggests that the Ute came from the south and were brought to the area by a god named Sinauf. Some anthropologists have disputed that story and claim that the Ute came from the north some 2,000 years ago. (Utah American Indian Digital Archives, 2008) The Ute also roamed through eastern and central Utah and parts of Wyoming, and New Mexico following seasonal food sources. During the warmer seasons, they lived in...