This page is devoted to American Indians of the Pikes Peak Region and is sourced primarily from the book of the same name by Celinda R. Kaelin and the Pikes Peak Historical Society
It was inconceivable for me to create a site about Colorado Springs and its surrounding areas without mention of the Native Americans who inhabited this land all those years ago.
Nuche is a derivative of the Shoshone word Tsiyuta which means ”rabbit hunters”. Ute Indians are unique among American Indians as they have no migration legend and believe they were created at Pikes Peak Colorado and have always been here. They also believe in a creator “everywhere and within everything," including animals.
Ute American Indians
Courtesy Trials & Errors
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For some amazing old photos of American Indians please visit this Facebook Page!
Ute Native Americans harvested the abundant Colorado Wildlife, and paid homage to the powerful spirits at the now popular tourist attractions Garden of the Gods and Manitou Springs.
Before European invasion, the Ute American Indians land comprised all of Colorado, the greatest part of Utah and Northern New Mexico. The state of Utah is named for the Ute nation.
The Ute people also wintered in Royal Gorge for its protection from wind and relatively mild climate. The Comanche, Kiowa, Sioux and Cheyenne used Royal Gorge on buffalo hunting expeditions as an access point to mountain meadow regions.
There were as many as one million Ute before European contact; however exposure to foreign diseases reduced the population to approximately 10,000.
Rare White Bison
Royal Gorge Animal Park
Once forced to live on reservations, the Ute Nation were no longer free to roam their ancestral lands and forced to adapt to European values.
They were also not permitted to exercise their traditional spiritual practices as it became a federal crime.
The characteristic dance of the Ute Indians is the “Bear Dance” which is held every year in early spring. “It is an honoring and thanking of Mother Earth,” and is unique to the Ute culture.
Today the Ute Indians return to Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak each year to perform their sacred Sundance Ceremony with respect to their ancestral land in a time gone but not forgotten!
Native American Arts & Culture
The Denver Office of Cultural Affairs provide many Native American Events. You may view art at the Denver Museum, historical artifacts at the Colorado History Museum...
Courtesy Son of the South
Tin-ne-ah means “The People” however their common name is believed to have originated from the Zuni word for enemy, “apachu.”
In ancient times, Apache Indians settled into two main divisions, the western and eastern. The western includes Jicarillas, most closely associated with Pikes Peak.
In the 1700s Comanche’s forced the Apaches from their hunting grounds along the Arkansas River and into Northwestern New Mexico.
But in 1779 Apache warriors and their Ute allies joined the Spanish army in a decisive battle against the Comanche’s. Today there are approximately 3,300 members of the Jicarilla Apache Nation.
"Lords of the Plains” – The Comanche Indians were outstanding horsemen and first appeared as their own nation along the Front Range of the Rockies in the early 1700s.
The Comanche were fiercely patriotic and unwavering in their attempt to drive the Spanish back into Mexico – a feat they almost accomplished.
However, with the help of their Ute and Apache allies, the Spanish won a decisive battle against the Comanche’s in 1779.
They were attacked in their village at the union of Fountain and Monument Creeks in what is now known as Colorado Springs.
The Comanche Nation is now confined to a reservation in southwestern Oklahoma where they reside with Kiowas and Apaches. Their current national enrollment is 13,391.
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