Tales from the Tread: Ute Indian event returns | SteamboatToday.com

Tales from the Tread: Ute Indian event returns

Tread of Pioneers
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
A Ute woman dances at the 2018 powwow event.
Tread of Pioneers Museum/Courtesy photo
A Ute woman dances at the 2018 powwow event.
Tread of Pioneers Museum/Courtesy photo

On Tuesday, April 11, the Tread of Pioneers Museum will once again proudly host the Ute Indian Powwow Dance Performance and History Presentation.

Members of the Ute tribe from the Uintah and Ouray Reservation will perform powwow dances and music and share the history and meaning of their dances and regalia in a public presentation at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Steamboat Springs High School and student assemblies in local elementary schools on Wednesday, April 12. All of the presentations are provided free to the public, courtesy of the Tread of Pioneers Museum and the Ute Indian Tribe.

“The Ute Indians were the original native inhabitants of the Yampa Valley, and the Tread of Pioneers Museum is thrilled to host these performers who will share their beautiful culture with our community,” said the event’s organizer and Tread of Pioneers Museum Executive Director, Candice Bannister. “This is our fifth year hosting the tribe for this event, and we look forward to continuing to strengthen the relationship between our communities.”

“This event allows us to come together to experience a part of our culture in powwow dancing,” said Kea Tarness, coordinator of the event representing the Ute tribe. “The students love to dance, and they love to go to different places to perform…and to help keep our traditions alive.” Tarness says this year, their focus is bringing back their art and culture, including beadwork, music, and traditional ways of life.

“It is important that we tell the story of local heritage through the voices and perspectives of the people who lived it,” Bannister said. “Through exhibits and programs, and events such as this, we want to create engaging opportunities for local residents and visitors to witness this powerful and beautiful culture and learn first-hand from the Ute people themselves.”

Bannister hopes to increase awareness and appreciation of Ute Indian history and culture while also providing an opportunity for Ute Indian youth to connect with their ancestral lands and the town of Steamboat Springs.

“We want to invite the entire community to join us in welcoming and hosting the Ute tribe. It is an honor and privilege for the museum to help connect our communities in this way.”

If you go

What: Ute Indian Powwow Dance Performance and History Presentation

When: 6 p.m., Tuesday, April 11

Where: Steamboat Springs High School, 45 E. Maple St.

Cost: Free

More info:  treadofpioneers.org

The powwow event is free but all voluntary donations will support the Ute language preservation project.

Local Ute Indian History courtesy of History Colorado Center

The Ute Indians, who call themselves “Nuche,” meaning “the people,” are Colorado’s oldest documented inhabitants. Written historical records indicate specific Ute presence in the Yampa Valley since the late 1500s, though linguistic evidence indicates the 1300s.

The Ute band of the Yampa Valley and Steamboat Springs was the “Yampatika” or “Yamparica” band. They spent the summers hunting game, gathering food, and soaking in the curative waters of the local mineral springs. They left the Yampa Valley in the winters to follow their food sources to lower elevations and milder climates.

Though contact with the earliest settlers in the Yampa Valley was considered peaceful, as more settlers arrived in the Yampa Valley and demands on the land increased, conflicts arose. The Ute tribes of Colorado were forcibly removed by the U.S government to reservations in the 1880s. Today, there are three Ute tribes in Colorado and Utah: the Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, and the Southern Ute Indian Tribe.

Candice Bannister is the executive director for the Tread of Pioneers Museum. For more, TreadOfPioneers.org.

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