Ute Indians (who call themselves Nuciu, "The People") are Southern Numic
speakers of the Numic (Shoshonean) language family. At the time of Euro-American
contact, twelve informally affiliated Ute bands inhabited most of Utah
and western Colorado. They included the Cumumba (probably a Shoshone
band), the Tumpanuwac, Uinta-at, San Pitch, Pahvant, and Sheberetch
in Utah, and the Yamparka, Parianuc, Taviwac, Wiminuc, Kapota, and Muwac
in Colorado. The bands recognized, traded, and intermarried with each
other, but maintained no larger tribal organization. Band members gathered
annually at their spring Bear Dance or to take advantage of some resource
abundance, but otherwise remained in local residence groups of from
20 to 100 people.
practiced a flexible subsistence system elegantly adapted to their environments.
Extended family groups moved through known hunting and gathering territories
on a seasonal basis, taking advantage of the periodic abundance of food
and material resources in different ecozones. Men hunted deer, antelope,
buffalo, rabbits, and other small mammals and birds with bows and arrows,
spears, and nets. Women gathered seed grasses, piñon nuts, berries,
roots, and greens in woven baskets, and processed and stored meat and
vegetal materials for winter use. Utes took advantage of the abundance
of fish in Utah Lake and other fresh water sources, drying and storing
them for trade and winter use.