Ute Nation

The People
According to the Tribe's Department of Vital Statistics, the enrolled membership of the Ute Tribe is presently 3,120 members. This population has grown from about 2,500 members in 1980 and is projected to increase to 4,672 by the year 2010. Eight-five percent (or about 2,650) presently live within the boundaries of the Reservation. The average family size is 4.15 people.

Most people, when they think of the "Indians" of the United States, think of them in the past tense. The Noochew are still here, have always been here, and will always be here. Their culture has helped them survive as the Nooch from the time the Creator placed them here, to today and in years to come. The Utes still communicate with the Creator and all things as their ancestors did. Most of the ceremonies are still practiced by families. It is what makes the Noochew strong. It gives them strength to continue in this world.

Noomique - Ute Language Lesson
Mique Wush Tagooven - Hello my friend
Tograyock - Thank you
Tuhaye - Good
Nooch - Ute Person
Noochew - Ute People
Pooneekay Vatsoom Ahdtuih - I'll see you again

Ute Bear Dance
In Ute culture, the Bear gave the Bear Dance to the Noochew. It was a time to gather together after the long hard winter to celebrate life. A time to see who made it through the winter, new births, marriages and deaths. It is a social dance held in the spring to celebrate new life and surviving winter. The rumble of the rasp and tin box makes the sound like the first thunder of spring and the awaking of the bear.

The dance is lady's choice. Ladies select their partners by flipping their shawl fringe at the man and line up first. The women line up to the west. The men line up facing the women to the east. They hold hands with the person next to them and both lines together dance back and forth to the music. The Cat Man maintains the lines and cuts the lines into couples on the last two days. The dance lasts four days. It ends with the last song that goes on until a couple falls or the singers get tired. The fallen couple is blessed by the Bear Dance Chief, in turn blessing the whole tribe. This kind of Bear Dance is unique to the Noochew. Everyone joins in the feast.

Information courtesy of Northern Ute Indian Tribe and Utah Division of Indian Affairs

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