The Ute Indians

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The Ute Indians The Ute Indians were a group of Indians that lived mostly around the mountainous area of Utah and Colorado near the Colorado River. But they sometimes lived in dessert areas also. The word Ute comes from the word eutaw or yuta which means dwellers on the top of mountains. Although it is not certain where they originated but it is assumed that they arrived to the Colorado and Utah area around 1000 A.D. The Ute Indians spoke a part of the Uto-Aztecan language called Numic. The Utes were divided into bands or a subdivision of a tribe. There were at one time eleven different bands of Ute Indians. The type of housing in each band depended on the material available. They lived in teepees, lodges, and domed shaped structures. The lodge shaped structure was the Ute's traditional mean of shelter. These home were temporary because the Utes moved every season to hunt. The dome shelters were built out of willow branches over a pole frame. They were eight feet high and fifteen feet in diameter. They usually built their homes on a river or stream valley and were scattered to take advantage of wood, shade and other resources. In the winter they moved into lower elevations for the milder weather there. Children were very important in the Ute Indian tribe. Every member was responsible for caring and the education of the youth. Babies were held in cradle boards that were either made of willow branches bundled together or a solid piece of wood. Willow bark was often used as diapers. Babies were cared for by girls nine and up. The babies were delivered in a special shelter that was set aside for giving birth. During the birth the mother is usually assisted by another female tribe member. The husband was expected to help the wife by keeping her warm by bringing lots of firewood. The umbilical cord was cut off with a stone knife. When the remaining part fell off the mother always saved it in a special pouch that was attached to the babies cradle board. When the baby learned to walk the mother placed the umbilical cord on a red ant hill. They thought that would help the ants industrious ways to rub off. The children were given many names and nicknames in their life. These names were given to them during various occasions during their life, like when they were born and when they learned how to walk. The children were educated by watching and helping their elders. Everything that the Ute needed could be found in their territory.
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