By Mike Rosso
The Ute Indian tribes are the oldest continuous residents of Colorado. The earliest Utes are said to have populated the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains and were hunters and gatherers.
Before the Europeans arrived, the Ute (which means “land of the sun”) were composed of seven bands; the Mouache, Weeminuche, Uintah, Yampa, Parianuc, Tabeguache and Capote. The latter were dwellers of the San Luis Valley and Northern New Mexico. The Tabeguache lived in the Gunnison and Uncompahgre River Valleys. These diverse bands now make up the present day Southern Ute, Ute Mountain Ute and Northern Ute Tribes.