Being and Becoming Ute

The Story of an American Indian People

Sondra Jones traces the metamorphosis of the Ute people from a society of small, interrelated bands of mobile hunter-gatherers to sovereign, dependent nations—modern tribes who run extensive business enterprises and government services. Weaving together the history of all Ute groups—in Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico—the narrative describes their traditional culture, including the many facets that have continued to define them as a people. Jones emphasizes how the Utes adapted over four centuries and details events, conflicts, trade, and social interactions with non-Utes and non-Indians. Being and Becoming Ute examines the effects of boarding—and public—school education; colonial wars and commerce with Hispanic and American settlers; modern world wars and other international conflicts; battles over federally instigated termination, tribal identity, and membership; and the development of economic enterprises and political power. The book also explores the concerns of the modern Ute world, including social and medical issues, transformed religion, and the fight to perpetuate Ute identity in the twenty-first century.
Neither a portrait of a people frozen in a past time and place nor a tragedy in which vanishing Indians sank into oppressed oblivion, the history of the Ute people is dynamic and evolving. While it includes misfortune, injustice, and struggle, it reveals the adaptability and resilience of an American Indian people.

Sondra G. Jones holds a PhD in history from the University of Utah, where she now teaches. Her publications include journal articles and books, including the award-winning Don Pedro León Luján: The Attack against Indian Slavery and Mexican Traders in Utah.

Table of Contents:
List of Illustrations 
List of Abbreviations
     1. Introduction
          Traditionalism and Identity
          Transforming Native Identity
     2. Out of the Desert: The Núu-ci
          In the Beginning
          The Cultural Life-Ways of the Numic People
3. First Encounters: Commerce and Colonialism, to 1846
          Contact, Culture Change, and Cultural Continuities
          Competition, Alliances, and the Balance of Power
          Opening Ute Country
     4. Americans among the Utes: Trade, Trapping, and Trails
          Trading, Raiding, and Exploiting the Old Spanish Trail
          Trappers, Traders, Explorers, and Forts
          Blazing Trails, Shifting Economies, and Stealing
          Exploiting the Trails
     5. Colonization: Utah Territory
          The Mormon Invasion
          Developing Indian Policies
     6. Conciliation and Defeat: Western Utes, 1851-1855
          Ending the Mexican-Indian Slave Trade
          The “Walker” War
     7. Colonization: Kansas/Colorado Territory
          Expanding Northward: The San Luis Valley
American Juristduction, Military Presence, and First Treaties
The Golden Dream
     8. Containment: Colorado, 1855-1873
          Survival through Diplomacy and Alliances
          Land Cessions, Displacement, and Containment
          Unprofitable Servants: Agreements and Deal-making,
     9. Conflict and Removal: Utah, 1855-1879
          Acculturation and Integration
          Conflict and Relocation: The Black Hawk War
          Revitalization Movements and Final Removal
          Settling Utah and Settling in at Uintah
     10. Conflict and Removal: Colorado, 1873-1881
          Land Hunger and Escalating Tensions
          Forcing Utes Down the White-man’s Road
          Violence at the White River Agency
          The Utes Must Go!
     11. The Land Divided: Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute
         Reservations, 1881-1906
The Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Reservation
          Spiraling Tension and Conflict
          The Utes Must Go!—Again
     12. The Land Divided: Uintah and Ouray Reservations, 1881
          Relocation, Recriminations, and Conflict
          Shifting Battlegrounds and Dispossession
          Blood Quantum and Indian Identity
     13. Religion and the Perseverance of Identity: 1890-Present
          Ghost Dance
          Numic Sundance
          Peyote Religion
          “Modernizing” Ute Religion
     14. Travail: 1895-1940
          Descent into Poverty
          The Tsenegat Affair and the Posey War
          A New Deal for Indians: New Deal Reforms and the
          Indian Reorganization Act
     15. The Struggle for Rebirth and Identity: 1940-1970
          American Indians Go to War
          Land Acquisition and Land Claims
          The Push to Terminate the Utes
          Transforming Identity on the Uintah and Ouray
     16. The Quest for Self-Determination and Sovereignty
     17. Uintah-Ouray Utes: 1960 to a New Century
          Politics and Economic Rehabilitation, 1960-1980
          Politics and Economic Development
          Economic Development in a New Century
          Social Issues at the End of the Century
     18. Southern and Ute Mountain Utes: 1960 to the
         the New Century
          Politics and Economic Development: 1950-2000
          New Leadership and New Economic Battles
     19. Epilogue


Praise and Reviews:
“The author has created a superb Ute Indian history. I know of no other works in the fields of anthropology, sociology, and history that present an overview of the Ute Nation with the depth and breadth of Being and Becoming Ute.”—Gregory C. Thompson, author of The Southern Utes: A Tribal History
“Decades in the making, this sweeping narrative charts the history of the Ute people from prehistoric times into the twenty-first century, showcasing their pragmatic adaptive strategies and exploring their challenges. Jones helps readers to understand tensions and differences of opinion within Ute society between full-bloods and mixed-bloods, modernizers and traditionalists, and the difficulty of maintaining a Ute identity and cultural essence in the face of mainstreaming material and cultural forces.”
—Brian Cannon, author of The Awkward State of Utah: Coming of Age in the Nation, 1896-1945