The prominent Colorado Native Americans are the Navajo, Ute, and Cheyenne-Arapahoe Indians. We find the Navajo in the southwest corner of Colorado, the Utes in the Pikes Peak area and most of Colorado, and the Cheyenne and Arapahoe on the Colorado plains.
There are two federally recognized Tribes in Colorado, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. Each of the Tribes has a constitution, code of laws, and court system that are separate and independent of state and local governments.
Colorado River Indian Tribes. The Colorado River Indian Tribes include four distinct Tribes – the Mohave, Chemehuevi, Hopi and Navajo. There are currently about 4,277 active Tribal members.
The American Library Association would like to acknowledge the indigenous history of the Denver region and Colorado more broadly and recognize the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. The land that Denver sits on originally belonged to the Arapaho tribe, as laid out in the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie.
Native Americans Today in Colorado Although the largest tribal group by origin in Colorado is the Lakota (and the fastest growing tribal group is Navajo), there are only two federally recognized tribes in the state: the Southern Utes, and the Ute Mountain Utes.
Since Colorado is a Spanish word for the color red, we are properly Coloradans, not Coloradoans. As best I know, most Colorado newspapers follow this rule, but there have been exceptions.
The Navajo Nation has by far the largest land mass of any Native American tribe in the country.
We invite you to the Southern Ute Indian Reservation in beautiful Southwest Colorado, home of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe.
The Ute call themselves Nuche meaning “mountain people.” They call their language Nuu-a-pagia. The word “Ute” is apparently a corruption of the Spanish word Yutas, which is possibly derived from the term Guaputu.
Very few Ute people are left and now primarily live in Utah and Colorado, within three Ute tribal reservations: Uintah-Ouray in northeastern Utah (3,500 members); Southern Ute in Colorado (1,500 members); and Ute Mountain which primarily lies in Colorado, but extends to Utah and New Mexico (2,000 members).
Greater Denver Area Tribes The main groups who occupied the Denver area, however, were the Apaches, Utes, Cheyennes, Comanches, and Arapahoes. At times Native peoples and Euro-Americans coexisted peacefully. Settlers often would marry Indian or Metis women creating mixed nation families.
Some alliances were formed: the Cheyenne and the Arapaho, the Ute and Comanche.
The Spanish were the first Europeans to settle in what is now Colorado. Conquistador Juan de Oñate founded an extensive Spanish territory in 1598, parts of which included modern-day Colorado.
The culture and nature of Colorado go hand in hand. This state was built on the exploitation of its mineral wealth and today these same mountains have created a cool outdoor recreation culture centered on skiing, snowboarding, biking and boating. Colorado is a land of outdoorsy people.
Colorado has been nicknamed the “Centennial State” because it became a state in the year 1876, 100 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Colorado also is called “Colorful Colorado,” presumably because of the magnificent scenery of mountains, rivers, and plains.