Until Forever Comes: This is Ute Homeland - CSPM

Until Forever Comes: This is Ute Homeland

The Nuuchiu (pronounced New-chew, meaning “The People”), or the Utes, are the longest continuous Indigenous inhabitants of what is now Colorado. According to Nuuchiu oral history, we have no migration story and have been here since time immemorial—when we were placed within our homelands, on different mountain peaks, to remain close to their Creator. Nuuchiu Ancestors, in order to maintain transmission of cultural knowledge, taught generations through oral history about the narratives and the names ascribed to geophysical places and geological formations within their aboriginal and ancestral territory.

Tava-kaavi (Pikes Peak) is a traditional cultural property and viewed as an ancestry place of origin to which the Nuuchiu are still connected. Although Edwin James is famous for his ascent in 1820, Nuuchiu Ancestors were the first to summit Tava-kaavi due to their placement by the Creator. To honor the cultural significance of Tava-Kaavi, Nuuchiu spiritual practitioners maintain the tradition of visiting the summit and making offerings and prayers at certain times of the year. Although the three Nuuchiu bands were physically removed by force from their ancestral and aboriginal territory, the spiritual significance and teachings pertaining to Tava-kaavi remain within the oral history, prayers and souls of their descendants– the members of the Southern Ute and Ute Indian Tribe. Tava-kaavi is deeply rooted in our traditional way of life and is a permanent fixture within our identity and lifeways as Nuuchiu.

*Excerpt from statement by Garrett Briggs, NAGPRA Coordinator, Southern Ute Cultural Department, with Cassandra Atencio, NAGPRA Coordinator, Southern Ute Cultural Department

The Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum is currently in consultation with the Southern Ute Indian Tribe; the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe; and the Ute Indian Tribe, Uintah and Ouray Reservation to create an exhibit centering their history, culture, and ongoing connections to the Pikes Peak region.

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