Important Historical Events that Affected Western Colorado

Native Americans

Native American Tribes of the 4 Corners Area, ?-Present

Choose one of the following articles:

Fremont Petroglyphs

Freemont, around 300 AD to 1300 AD

Anasazi Cliff Dwelling

Anasazi, around 300 AD to 1300 AD

Navajo Sheep Herders

Navajo, around late 1300's AD to Present

Ute Family

Ute, around late 1300's AD to Present

Freemont, around 300 A.D. to 1300 A.D.

Fremont PithouseFremont PetroglyphsAncients Map

          The Fremont Indians were the 2nd Indians in the area that is now Fruita, CO. The Clovis culture was the first people in the area. But little is known about them. Starting around 300 A.D., the Freemont lived in current day Colorado and Utah. Their homes were holes with a ladder. They had logs or sticks that made a roof.  Their land crossed with the Anasazi’s.
          The Fremont didn’t eat a lot like we have today. They ate some bison, deer, and other small animals that they hunted. They hunted with bows and arrows. They grew turnips, beans, and corn so they could have more food. The turnips were red turnips.
          Some of the women’s work was hard. One of the most important things was gathering firewood. Other important things were drawing water. When I say drawing I mean gathering water. They made pottery and would paint them with fancy designs. One other job was scraping the hide of an animal. After they scraped it they would make it in to a soft cloth.
          The Fremont were very good at rock art. They painted and etched things that looked people. Some looked like lizards and hour glasses. Some even looked like bighorn sheep. One famous rock is newspaper rock. Almost every inch is covered in paintings. One bad thing is that the Fremont have disappeared around the early 1300's A.D., so no more rock art. The climate changed and they moved away or died out. All that is left of the Freemont are the rock art and their holes.

By Kayla

Anasazi, Around 300 A.D. to 1300 A.D.

Anasazi Cliff Dwelling

Anasazi Kiva

Anasazi Baskets and Pottery

          Their names are from a Navajo word meaning “The Ancient Ones”. Depending on how it is said, their name can mean “Enemy Ancestors” or “Ancient One That Is Not Us”. Their history is broken up into different periods of time. They used to call them archaic people and they later became known as the basketmakers. Now some people call them the Pueblo Indians. The Anasazi were well known for weaving fancy baskets and making pottery with fancy designs.
          Towards the late 1200's AD, the Anasazi made their homes inside of cliffs. They made their walls in their homes with dirt, rocks, sandstone, grass and adobe. They also dug pits called kivas for meeting places to hold ceremonies and covered the pits with logs. People can visit their amazing cliff homes in current day Mesa Verde National Park and Chaco Canyon.
          The Anasazi ate berries, corn, and beans they grew. The female and kids went to get the berries. They also ate meat they hunted. The meat they ate is from these animals: deer, elk, bighorn sheep, rabbit, mice, and other small animals.  

          A lot of Anasazi lived at the four corners (current day Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona.) The 4 corners area had different tribes of Anasazi Indians that lived there. The Anasazi lived in cliffs because it gave them more water access and because their enemies had a hard time to reach them. The Anasazi fought over resources because many of the trees were cut down, the area started to become overpopulated, and there was a long drought around 1300 AD. They fled their cliff dwellings because they could not get enough resources to live off of the land. The Anasazi fled to the south towards Rio Grande. They became known as the Pueblo Indians.

By Jason

Navajo, late 1300's A.D. to Present

Navajo Hogan

Navajo Map

Navajo Sheep Herders

Navajo Wool Rug

Navajo Family

          In the early 1400's AD, the Navajo started living in the area of current day southwestern Colorado, southern Utah, Northern Arizona, and northwestern New Mexico. The Ute Tribes were to their north and Apache Tribes were on their south and east. The Navajo were known as the Dine'
          The Navajo learned a lot from the Pueblo people. They would plant corn, beans, and squash seeds on areas by rivers to grow crops. They would hunt deer, elk, pronghorn, rabbits and other animals with spears and bow and arrows. The Navajo were a migratory tribe and would move up higher in the mountains in summer, and lower in the valleys in the winter.
          They lived in brush shelters and hogans. Hogans are small shelters made out of tree trunks, branches, and covered with adobe mud. The Navajo men wore breech cloths and the Navajo women wore skirts made out of yucca fiber. They also made their clothes and moccasins out of deerskin and animal furs from rabbits.

           When the Spanish came up from Mexico, it greatly changed all the tribes in the southwest. The Navajo, Ute, and Apache people quickly learned how to use the horse brought up by the Spaniards. The tribes would raid and conquer other tribes in the region and became powerful warrior people. In addition to horses, the Spanish brought the weapons of guns, metal knives, axes. The Spanish brought with them diseases from Europe which killed many Native Americans. Even though Spain and later Mexico claimed the land as part of their territory, there were very few Spanish settlers there and the land was mainly ruled by the 3 Native American tribes
          The Spaniards also brought domestic sheep. Sheep would become very important to the Navajo people. They would tend to their flocks of sheep and the number of sheep you owned became a sign of wealth and power. They would use their wool to make clothes and and fancy patterned rugs. They would use their milk for drink and they would use the sheep for meat.
          From 1846 to 1848, the United States would fight the new country of Mexico for the land in the southwest. When the United States won the Mexican American War, many things changed for the tribes. In 1849, the California Gold Rush caused many people from the eastern United States to travel west through the Native People's territories in order to get to California. This caused many conflicts with the warrior people of the Navajo, Apache, and Ute. After the American Civil War in the 1860's, the United States turned its attention west. Soon many soldiers would ride west to fight the Native American tribes that were making it difficult for the new immgrants from the eastern United States to move west. 
        In 1864, U.S. troops forced the Navajo off their land and had the Navajo march on the 'Long Walk' to Fort Sumner in eastern New Mexico. In 1868 the Navajo were allowed to return to northern Arizona and stay on their land if they stayed peacefully and followed a set of rules. They were allowed to stay mainly because it was a dry, hot, and difficult place to make a living off of the land. It also had few valuable resources at the time, so the land had little value to the United States.

        During the 1940's, the United States used the Navajo language and Navajo codetalkers during World War 2 to help send secret messages. The Germans or Japanese were never able to crack the code and it helped win the war.The Navajo People still live in the 4 corners area today.on the reservation.

Ute, late 1300's A.D. to Present

Ute Family

Ute Map

Ute Petroglyphs

          Ute Indians were amazing people that lived in this area from the late 1300's to 1881. Ute children gathered food like seeds, fruits, insects, corn, wild turnips, and roots. Then, the men went hunting and brought back buffalo, pemmican, deer, elk, bison, or small game. The women then cooked the meat over a fire and made dinner out of the vegetables and meat. For bread, the women gathered corn, and then ground it into a fine powder.  That woman would then pack it together and bake it. That’s what they did for food.
          For clothing and warmth, Ute Indian women made buckskin shirts, buckskin dresses, childrens’ dresses, moccasins, buffalo robes, and blankets. The women made the clothes out of animal skins.
          That was part of the work Utes did. They also weaved bracelets out of bent and painted porcupine quills, grinded corn, gathered food, and hunted. They hunted with hunting knives, and bows and arrows. For toys, they had dolls. For activities, they painted pictographs and etched petroglyphs on stone. For shelter, Utes made wikiups, tipis, and brush shelter. Utes moved higher in the mountains in the summer and moved to the lower valleys in the winter. In 1881, they had to move to reservations in Utah because settlers took their land after the Meeker Massacre.
          The Ute Indians were famous for riding horses. Before they had horses, they had to use dogs for carrying supplies around. The Spanish came and traded with the Utes. The Utes traded for horses. Once they had the horses, they began to take over other Indian tribes. It was also much easier for the Utes to move around once they got the horses. The Utes put their handprint on their horses’ behinds to determine whose horse was whose. A couple of famous Utes are Chief Ouray and his wife, Chippita. They are famous for objecting about being sent to reservations.

By Tessa