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History of Northern Ute Indian, Utah
Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia (Links Added)
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During the early twentieth century, Utes worked or leased their land, performed wage labor for area whites or the Indian agency, or made do on the modest per capita distributions from the tribe. During the 1920s and 1930s they organized a business council composed of elected representatives from each of the three bands and incorporated as the Northern Ute Tribe. Between 1909 and 1965 the tribe was part of several successful federal claims cases, but most of the money judgments went to finance the irrigation project, tribal operations, or was tied up in regulated trusts and individual accounts. In 1954, following a longstanding dispute within the tribe, Northern Utes accepted a division of assets and the termination of federal recognition for people with blood quantums less than one-half. The mixed-bloods organized as the Affiliated Ute Citizens.

In the 1970s and early 1980s, Northern Utes benefited from increased oil and gas development on reservation lands in the form of jobs and severance taxes. The Northern Utes have also been key players in the Central Utah Project, receiving money and stored water in return for the diversion of their watershed runoff into central Utah. Their political clout increased in 1986 when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the tribe's right to exercise "legal jurisdiction" over all pre-allotment reservation lands, giving them an undefined amount of legal control over the land and citizens of eastern Utah. In the 1990s, the Northern Ute Tribe boasts nearly 3,000 members and is an increasingly powerful force in local and state politics. They are active in maintaining their language and cultural traditions while improving the economic situation of tribal members through education, tribal enterprises, and planned development.

See: Beverly Beeton, "Teach Them to Till the Soil: An Experiment with Indian Farms, 1850-1862,"American Indian Quarterly, 3 (Winter 1977-78); Donald Callaway, Joel Janetski, and Omer C. Stewart, "Ute," in Warren L. D'Azevedo, ed., Great Basin, vol. 11 of Handbook of North American Indians, gen. ed. William C. Sturtevant (1986); Howard A. Christy, Howard A., "Open Hand and Mailed Fist: Mormon-Indian Relations in Utah, 1847-52," Utah Historical Quarterly, 46 (Summer 1978); Fred A. Conetah, A History of the Northern Ute People (1982); Joel C. Janetski, The Ute of Utah Lake, (1991); Joseph G. Jorgensen, The Sun Dance Religion: Power for the Powerless (1972); Anne Milne Smith, comp., Ute Tales (1992); Uintah-Ouray Ute Tribe, Stories of Our Ancestors: A Collection of Northern Ute Indian Tales (1974).

David Rich Lewis


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