Thursday, September 10, 2015

Montrose Visitor Center (and Ute Indian Museum), 9/10/15

Today we stopped by the Montrose Visitor Center to learn more about local sights and day-trip options in the region. 

I always enjoy these places because there are maps, magazines, brochures, postcards, etc., displayed and provided free-of-charge. Additionally, detailed staff members share first-hand knowledge about the best places to visit based on your interests and time in the area. 

The local Ute Indian Museum is currently undergoing a major expansion and is closed until summer of 2016. The museum was opened in 1956, expanded in 1998, and is located on the homestead of Chief Ouray (1883-1880) and his wife, Chipeta (1843-1924). 

The museum has temporarily relocated a very small portion of their collection to the same building as the Visitor Center. There is a gift shop with some museum items displayed. 

The Uncompahgre Ute lived in this part of Colorado for many years. Upon contact with the Spanish explorers in the 1630s, they obtained horses via trading or theft. This dramatically changed their culture, enabling them to become admired and feared horsemen (by other Native Americans and settlers alike).

Various photos are on display about the Ute leaders. Chief Ouray and his wife, Chipeta, traveled to Washington, DC, to attempt to negotiate territorial rights for the Ute. President Rutherford B. Hay is quoted as describing Chief Ourey as "the most intelligent man I ever conversed with..."  Eventually, the Ute were coerced into relocate to a small reservation in Utah. 

Below are photos of Ute Indians in 1880 and present day.

Petroglyphs. Today, Ute remain an oral and written language. 

I was glad we were able to see even a small part of the Ute collection. If we visit Montrose again in the future, we will want to visit. Information about the Ute Indian Museum can be found at their website shown below.

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