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History of Southern Ute Indian, Utah
Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia (Links Added)
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The major distinction between the Utes and Paiutes living in this area was a cultural, not a linguistic, one, brought about by the environment and the technology derived from it. Often, in white documents and correspondence, the Utes and Paiutes of southeastern Utah are referred to simply as "Paiutes." There was no clear line of demarcation. From a more scholarly point of view, the Paiutes operated in family groups, and when resources allowed, came together as bands. They hunted and gathered in an austere desert land, had no centralized chieftain, no collective religious practices, and no common goal (other than survival) to unite the different groups. The Utes started with the same general cultural basis, but because many lived in an ecologically richer environment and because of the introduction of the horse, they assumed a more sophisticated, plains Indian-orientation. The Weeminuche, farthest west, were the last to adopt shades of the buffalo-hunting, sun-dance practices associated with this Plains Culture.

The historical record concerning the Southern Utes in Utah is vague until the mid-nineteenth century. Spanish and Mexican interaction with the Weeminuche was generally characterized as a love-hate relationship. Both Euro-American groups used barter and military might to encourage peaceful affiliations. They hired Utes to guide expeditions and fight their neighbors, the Navajos, while both Native American groups sold their captives on the slave blocks in Taos and Abiquiu, New Mexico. The Spanish Trail that ran through parts of San Juan County into central Utah, then through southwestern Utah and eventually to California, was another favored placed for Southern Ute slave and horse trading.


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