Overview & Statistics

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The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe
Towaoc, CO   81334

The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe's reservation lies in southwest Colorado, southeast Utah, and northern New Mexico. There are two communities on the Ute Reservation; the tribal headquarters in Towaoc, Colorado and the small community at White Mesa, Utah.
This area known as the Four Corners is rich in culture and history.
  • There is the prehistory of "The Anasazi", the ancient ones, who lived here nearly 1000 years ago. They left the area long before the Ute Bands and the Plains Indians roamed the mountains and vast plains, now Eastern Colorado.
  • The stories and legends of early Spanish priests and travelers who introduced horses to the Ute people while camped in the Dolores River Valley are fascinating. They were actually looking for a short cut to California to visit the missions.
  • There are historical chronicles of early settlers who came here to the lush, fertile Montezuma Valley instead of going further west. Water is this valley's history and future.
The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe has lived on this land for over 100 years, and through economic development, planning, and use of natural resources, they are building for the future.

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Demographics

Historically, the Ute Nation roamed throughout Colorado, Utah, and northern New Mexico in a hunter-gatherer society, moving with the seasons for the best hunting and harvesting. Their dealings with the government were not to their benefit and in the late 1800's, treaties with the Untied States forced the three bands of Southern Utes into southwestern Colorado.

   

The bands within the Ute Nation divided and today the homelands for the Weeminuche , or Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, total about 597,000 acres in southwestern Colorado, southeastern Utah, and northern New Mexico. The White Mesa community of the Tribe lives in Utah, where most of the housing is on tribal lands. The majority of lands there are allotted to tribal members and are laid out in a checkerboard design.
The tribal lands are on what's known as the Colorado Plateau, a high desert area with deep canyons carved through the mesas. This is a harsh land and there are no cities to provide services for the tribe. So the tribe must be self-sufficient by looking for other means of implementing progress and creating successful enterprises to serve the needs of the tribal members as well as create a healthy economy in which to live. The natural resources of the land provide the tribe income. These resources include oil and gas, grazing land for herds of tribal members, and land and water for the new Farm & Ranch project south of the Sleeping Ute Mountain.
After over 100 years of no water, the Colorado Ute Water Settlement Act of 1988 brought an end to years of legal battles for the tribe's water rights. Under that agreement, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe brought the first piped drinking water to the reservation and irrigation water the the Farm & Ranch project. This project was mandated within the Dolores Project (McPhee Dam).
Today the tribe employs over 900 people in its enterprises and departmental programs. These employees include tribal members, other Native Americans, and Anglos, thus making the tribe the second largest employer in the Four Corners area.
The per capita enrollment for the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe is 1,968, as of January, 1999. The majority of the members live on the reservation in Towaoc with a smaller in the White Mesa community. The tribal census shows the largest part of the membership is in the twenties and younger age group.
Because the Ute tribe is so young, the members must be ready to take up the reins of leadership for the future of the tribe. As the tribal membership grows, the planning for the 21st century has to be done with care to enable the tribe to grow economically with the times, but retain and preserve the culture and ways of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. The achievements, goals, and objectives of the tribe for the future will be carried out by the strong wills of the future leaders.

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Tourist Attractions on the Ute Reservation

The Ute Mountain Casino opened in September of 1992, creating 271 new jobs for the tribe and other people of the Four Corners area. At the opening, over 50% of the employees were Native American. Now, out of about 380 employees, 78% are Native Americans. When the Casino opened that year, the Ute Mountain Gaming Commission was already in place. This Commission, mandated under the Tribal Gaming ordinance of November 1991, is responsible for the complete regulation and control of gaming on all reservation lands for the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. After expenses, the Casino revenues are allotted  to the Tribal Programs and Operations, Education, Economic Development, and Social and Family programs.
Tel: 1-970-565-8800 or 1-800-258-8007

Sleeping Ute RV Park opened in April of 1994 within a short walking distance of the Casino. The 84 site park hosts full-service RV sites as well as tent and teepee areas. This tribal enterprise was funded in part by a Bureau of Indian Affairs Business Development Grant and in part by Economic Development funds.
Tel: 1-970-565-6544 or 1-800-889-5072
Ute Mountain Tribal Park sees visitors from all over the world both at their visitor's center and on tours. The Tribal Director and his staff show guests the wonders of the Pueblo culture and tell them of the Ute Mountain Ute history. Education plays an important role in the park tour, whether it is a tourist group or students from Colorado schools. The tribal park has a non-profit foundation set up with the support of the Ute Mountain Tribe and the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs for ruins' stabilization. The Park Director and staff feels that a low impact type of tourism will protect the natural resources, preserve the ruins and environment, yet give the visitor a quality experience while on the lands of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. Tel: 1-970-565-3751 Ext. 282 or 1-800-847-5485
Sleeping Ute Pottery Factory Outlet has been a tribal enterprise since 1970 and came under new management in 1992. The Towaoc pottery outlet employs 24 people, 90% of whom are tribal members. The White Mesa wholesale pottery plant averages 8-9 jobs and has been in operation since 1994. The tribal pottery outlet produces approximately 50,000 pieces a year. Each piece is uniquely designed, painted, signed, ad sometimes carved by its artist. The factory outlet has a showroom that offers pottery to the resident and traveling public. The new wholesale pottery catalog introduces a new  of painted and carved red pottery, as well as the traditional Sleeping Ute designs and unique pottery.
Tel: 1-970-565-8548 or 1-800-896-8548
Casino Shuttle. The shuttle serves a dual purpose transporting area visitors to and from the Casino and other facilities, and transporting tribal Casino employees from both Towaoc and Cortez. The shuttle runs 24 hour a day.
Tel: 1-970-565-8800

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