The Ute have always been a strong people. For hundreds of years they bartered or negotiated with outsiders in their territory, and fought when necessary. They maintained their homeland and hunting grounds, which ranged across the basin and plains that would one day become Utah and Colorado and into parts of Wyoming and New Mexico. But on July 24th, 1847, everything changed. Mormon pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley and began settling the region. Hunting grounds and game dried up. The Utah fought back, but the tide of settlers was too great, and the Ute were marginalized onto reservations. The government tried to make the Ute farmers, but it went against their way of life. The final Ute resistance came in 1879 on the White River Agency near present-day Meeker, Colorado. The Ute won the battle but lost the war. More than 1,500 men, women and children were ordered to leave their homeland and were marched to Utah’s Uintah and Ouray reservation. Once again, the Utes were forced off their ancestral land -- land that was integral to their spirituality and way of life.
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