Condition of the Colorado Indians in 1890

The Southern Utes are the only Indians now residing in Colorado except 107 Indians off the reservation who are citizens and taxed. A treaty made in 1888 is now pending for ratification by Congress, whereby the Southern Utes are to be removed to a new reservation in southeastern Utah, just north of the Navajos.

The Southern Utes are composed of 3 bands, the Capote, Moache, and Weeminuche, The Weeminuche Utes have always occupied the south half of the present state of Colorado; they were there 33 years ago. This was the wildest band of the Southern Utes, and it now occupies the western part of the reservation. They are blanket Indians in the fullest sense and are about 500 strong. Their warriors are a brave and fearless set of men. They now produce nothing except a few buckskins.

The Moaches are a small band-of Utes located on the eastern end of the reservation. They formerly occupied northwestern New Mexico until this agency was created, after 1863, when the 3 above-named bands of Indians were moved upon it and consolidated in 1868. The Moaches occupied a part of the present New Mexico from the recollection of the oldest inhabitant. They are now quite industrious, and there are more farmers among them than in either of the other bands. They raise a few farm products. The Capote Utes are the smallest band, and they are also composed of a number of farmers. This band also inhabited New Mexico with the Moaches, and their history is identical. They occupy a portion of the eastern part of the reservation. The Capotes are allied with a number of Tabeguache Indians, who lost their identity and merged with the tribe upon the death of old Chief Tabeguache, 12 years ago. The Moaches and Capotes were first under a United States Indian agent at Cimarron, N. M., after 1849; then they moved to Tierra Amarilla, N. M.; thence to this agency in 1868. Prior to 1849 they roamed over the plains of the present western Kansas, eastern Colorado, and northern New Mexico.

Between the Moaches on the eastern part of the reservation on the one side and the Weeminuches on the western part of the reservation on the other side there is very little esteem or affection, and there is almost as wide a difference as if they were stranger tribes. They are ancient enemies. The Weeminuches always occupied the country now embraced in this reservation, and the other 2 tribes occupied northwestern New Mexico until 1868. Of course, in case of a serious difficulty with white people, they band together for mutual protection. Ignacio, the chief, rules with an iron hand, and his word is law as far as their own affairs are concerned. Still, he is perfectly subordinate to the agent and is obedient and tractable, and knows what is best for his people. He is a Weeminuche and one of the best informed Indians here, being familiar with over 15 other tribes of Indians. The Southern Utes seem to exercise a restraining influence upon the Navajos who occupy the country almost due south of this reservation, and their councils are often sought by them when trouble is about to arise.-C. A. Bartholomew, United States Indian agent.

The Jicarilla Apaches were taken from the Southern Ute agency in October, 1891, and jurisdiction over them was given to the Pueblo agency at Santa, Fe, N. M., over 150 miles to the south of their reservation. They are described under New Mexico.

Total Indian Population As Of June 1, 1890

Indian Population of Reservations

Southern Ute Agency
Ute Reservation, Ute Tribe, Total Population 985, Males 484, Females 501, Ration Indians 493.

The civilized (self-supporting) Indians of Colorado, counted in, the general census, number 107, 31 males and 76 females, and are distributed as follows:

Arapahoe County, 47; other counties with 12 or less in each, 60. Their condition does not require distinct description.


Ute Reservation,

Department of the Interior. Report on Indians Taxed and Indians not Taxed in the United States, Except Alaska at the Eleventh Census: 1890. Washington DC: Government Printing Office. 1894.

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