Written In The Land: Ute Voices, Ute History


Maiku! That is hello in Ute. You can learn common words in the Ute language and much more about the Utes at History Colorado in Denver at a cool exhibit called Written in the Land: Ute Voices, Ute History.

The exhibit had many interactive displays, maps, artifacts, and pictures, including one showing how these native Coloradans turned animal skin into leather.  Who knew deer brains were a good leather conditioner? Animals are an important part of Ute living, and there was another interactive display teaching you how to dress a horse. You will also learn what the Utes wore, what they hunted with, and find out the Utes’ creation story (how they believe humans first came to live on Earth).

One of my favorite exhibits was a football helmet from the University of Utah. The University of Utah and the Ute people made an agreement to respectfully use the Ute name and symbol for the school’s mascot, which is a rare among Native American themed mascots.

There were also many sad, yet informative, exhibits about how the Utes were forced off their land and into reservations.  When you visit the exhibit, a computer screen illuminates how quickly American settlers took Ute land away. The Utes used to live on a vast land covering Texas, Oklahoma, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado.  They now have three reservations in Southern Colorado and Utah. When you go to the museum you will also discover who went to Washington, D.C. to negotiate with the United States government about the Ute lands.

Like many Colorado kids today, the Ute life revolved around the seasons. Today we enjoy the summer months off from school and ski or snowboard in the winter. The Utes moved their dwelling with the seasons throughout the Rocky Mountains in small groups but came together in the winter.  The exhibit will teach you how Utes took advantage of the seasons in Colorado.

Overall, I had a good time at the exhibit and would definitely recommend it to other kids so they can learn more about our State’s history and about the longest group of people who have continuously lived in Colorado.