Interview With Ouray, Part 2

From the New-York Tribune (New York, N.Y.), October 08, 1874, page 4

Members of the Hayden Survey team load a pack mule. 1874.

With respect to the origin of the Ute Nation, Ouray stated that they first occupied a little district at the southern end of the Uncompahgre Mountains, about the sources of the Rio San Juan and Rio Uncompahgre, where, according to tradition, they were without horses, had no arms other than bows and arrows, and used stone implements exclusively, metals being unknown…
          After the advent of the Spaniards, who introduced metals, the use of stone weapons and implements gradually declined, until now none whatever are used by the tribe. Having only bows and arrows, no horses or dogs, and yet trusting to the chase for their maintenance, they acquired all their wild game by driving it into ambush…They had at this primitive time no goats, sheep, or cattle, nor was there any current means of exchange, any legal tender or money, unless the buckskin in which the medicine men… received their pay, might be called such.
          Their only enemies at this time were the plains Indians and some mountain tribes to the north of them. From these they were constantly obliged to defend themselves, but they made few aggressive raids beyond their own narrow limits.
          South of them were the Jicarilla Apaches, with whom they were always on friendly terms, and even intermarried, but curiously enough, it was always an Apache girl marrying a Ute, and never a young Ute girl giving her hand to an Apache brave. There was no law about it—only usage had contained the custom. Through these [Jicarilla Apaches] the Utes communicated with the Spaniards, who had already settled south and west of there, in what is now Eastern Arizona, and from them obtained a few horses and dogs, which by being carefully bred soon multiplied until they had accumulated sufficient stock. This was the first step toward their subsequent prosperity.

This article was written by an unidentified member of the Hayden Survey team based on his August 27, 1874 interview with Ouray.

Photo by William Henry Jackson courtesy the U.S. Geological Survey Photographic Library.


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