Ute Tribal Paths

We Are Still Here-Ute Mountain Ute Tribe

Ute Mountain Ute-The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe’s reservation includes 575,000 contiguous acres in Colorado, Utah and New Mexico and includes two main communities. The larger community is in Towaoc, near Cortez, and is the location of the tribal headquarters. A smaller community is at White Mesa, Utah. The Tribe has 2,060 enrolled members who live both on and off the reservation. The Ute Mountain Ute tribe is governed by a seven-member Tribal Council and a Chairman. Terms for elected officials are three years.

The seal of the Ute Mountain Ute tribe was designed in 1965 by the late Henry Joe Jacket Sr. The leader in the center of the seal represents the Ute Band. A drawing of Sleeping Ute Mountain can be seen in the background. The seal shows some of the livestock that graze the land, including bison, horses, sheep, and cattle. The golden eagle represents the Sun Dance, the tipis represent home. A map of the four corners shows the area near the Ute reservations where Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona meet.
Chief Ignacio was a leader of the Weeminuche band. When settlers demanded that all Ute people be forced out of their Colorado homeland, the Weeminuche band, along with the Muache and Capote bands, managed to stay in southwest Colorado. In 1895, Ignacio led most of the Weeminuche to the western part of the Southern Ute Reservation in protest against the government’s policy of giving land out to individual families, instead of keeping it intact for the people. It later became the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation with headquarters at Towaoc and most Weeminuche descendants live there now.

Chief Jack House was the last traditional chief of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe (Weeminuche Band). He was elected to one of the first tribal councils. He helped to establish the tribal council and the Ute Mountain Tribal Office. He led his people for more than 30 years, worked to secure water rights, and fought for the right of Ute self-determination. He worked to make sure that people living on the reservation would have access to running water. After his death, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe completed both the Dolores Water Project and Animas La Plata Water Project to make that dream a reality.