Steamboat museum honors Ute history |

Steamboat museum honors Ute history

Tread of Pioneers exhibit features Native American tribe

Zach Fridell

The new Ute tribe display opened June 23 at the Tread of Pioneers Museum.

— According to Ute tribe history, the Ute people have lived in their region, including the Yampa Valley, since the beginning of time. Unlike many other tribes where migration routes can be traced from a place of origin, there is nothing to contradict this history of the Utes' arrival in the Yampa Valley.

Historians at the Tread of Pioneers Museum have been talking about putting on an exhibit about the Ute history in the area. The exhibit started to take shape in the past six months and opened June 23.

"It's a big story to tell, and we've been wanting to do something for 10 years now," curator Katie Adams said.

One of the main goals was to find a way to honor the Ute history and be respectful in the presentation of the artifacts, she said.

A loose collection of Ute tribes lived and moved through several Western states, ranging from Kansas to Utah and from Texas to Wyoming. In the 1880s, the tribe in the Yampa Valley was moved to a reservation in Utah where many still live.

Included in the display is a pair of leather gloves with colorful beadwork given as a gift to the Crawford family. The Crawford family was one of the first white settler families in the Yampa Valley when they moved to the region in 1875, and they received the gift as they visited Utah in the early 1900s.

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Adams said the exact history of the gift isn't clear, but it does indicate that the family had a good relationship with the Utes. Written records at the time also talk about time the family spent with the Utes.

That beadwork is one of the key forms of Ute art, and it continues to this day, Adams said.

The exhibit will be open for one year. Admission to the museum will be free during a block party today after the Fourth of July parade downtown. The parade starts at 10 a.m., and the museum will close at 1 p.m.

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