- 1. a member of an American Indian people of Utah and W Colorado.2. a dialect or group of dialects of the Uto-Aztecan language shared by the Utes and Southern Paiutes.
* * *North American Indians living mostly in Colorado and Utah, U.S. Their language belongs to the Numic branch of the Uto-Aztecan language family, and their name means "hill people." Their traditional homeland included western Colorado, eastern Utah (whose name derives from Ute), and parts of New Mexico. They eventually joined into a loose confederation of seven bands. Until the 19th century, the Ute had no horses and lived in small family clusters, subsisting by food collecting. They were virtually indistinguishable from the Southern Paiute. When the Ute acquired horses in the early 1800s, they became organized as loose bands of hunters, often targeting livestock. After the Indian wars of 1864–70, most Ute were settled on reservations. At the turn of the 21st century, they numbered more than 5,000.
* * *▪ peopleNumic-speaking group of North American Indians originally living in what is now western Colorado and eastern Utah; the latter state is named after them. When the Spanish Father Silvestre Vélez de Escalante traversed their territory in 1776 while seeking a route from Santa Fe (now in New Mexico) to the California missions, the Ute had no horses and lived in small family clusters. At that time there was no clear distinction between the Ute and the Southern Paiute, both of whom spoke Ute.Like many other desert peoples, the Ute traditionally subsisted by collecting wild foods. After acquiring horses in the early 19th century, the Ute of western Colorado and later of northern Utah organized into loose bands of hunters. The area had been settled by some 30,000 Hispanic mestizos under the aegis of the Spanish colonial government, and soon Ute bands began to prey on the settlers' livestock. In the southern regions of Utah, Nevada, and California, however, the Ute and Chemehuevi remained afoot; there the Ute came to be called Southern Paiute (). After the Indian wars (1864–70) most of the Colorado Ute were settled on a reservation in southwestern Colorado; those of Utah were placed on the Uintah and Ouray Reservation. Ute descendants numbered more than 10,300 in the early 21st century.
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