Charles Frederick Holder.

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a gee-string and moccasins. The
overshirt is usually fringed at the
neck, cuffs and bottom, and generally
the breast piece is made of double
thickness. Should the overshirt be of
buckskin it is almost invariably
painted, yellow being a favorite color.
The leggings fit the limbs very close ;
they reach from the ankle upward to
the beginning of the hips, and are
fastened to a belt that encircles the
body. The same belt to which the
leggings are tied holds the ' ' [
string" in position. This garment
is a strip of cloth or buckskin
about eight inches wide, and from
three to five feet long, that passes
between the hips and hangs down
in front and behind. The moc-
casins are almost invariably made of
buckskin or elk hide, and are generally
beaded. The leggings and shirts are
also beaded, and often finely fringed.
As an outer garment there is the in-
variable blanket, which is worn almost
constantly, winter and summer. The
top of the blanket is passed over one
shoulder and under the other, and is
fastened around the waist by a belt ;
over this is worn the invariable car-
tridge belt and six-shooter, as all the
Utes go armed. The Utes do not
weave, procuring their blankets from
the Navajoes, or from the government

The costume of the women consists
of a dress that reaches from the neck
to below the knees, leggings that
reach from the knees to the ankles,

and moccasins. They all wear very
wide belts, to which they hang their
purses, awls and tools, and as outer
garments they wear shawls or blan-
kets. Some of their dresses are made
of buckskin, or the tanned skin of
wild mountain sheep. These skin
dresses are almost always painted, and
small bells and rattles are attached to
them. They also wear bead jackets,
or scarfs, some of which are executed
in very good designs.

The men wear a great main' orna-
ments, consisting of ear rings, finger
rings, bracelets, armlets, breast plates
and hair ornaments. They make
very good rings out of German silver
and turquoise, and make their own
armlets from the same materials. The
necklaces and breast plates are made
from the teeth of wild animals, or from
heads purchased from the Mexicans
and traders.

The men take good care of their
hair, parting it in the middle and
braiding it in two long queues, one of
which hangs over either shoulder.
These braids are often wrapped in
beaver or Otter skin, and bear teeth and
claws are sometimes tied to them. The
women also part their hair in the
middle, but do not braid it, cutting it
off so that it falls only to the neck.
The men wear eagle and crow feathers
in their hair, but the women do not.

Both men and women pluck out
their eyebrows, and nearly all the
men pluck out their scant beards,
although an occasional one will in-
dulge in a small mustache. The men
paint their faces almost constantly, the
women more rarely. On ordinary
occasions a man will have his face
painted in but one color, but for a
dance, a council meeting or a cere-
monial occasion of any kind, he will
use many different colors and designs.
He also paints the front portion of
the hair and portions of the clothing.
The women paint their clothing but
little, and their face painting does not
often go beyond round .spots on the
forehead. The children, especially the
boys, begin face painting very young.




The Utes are a roving people, who
dwell in tents and wander up and
down their reservation hunting, fish-
ing or visiting, carrying their tents
and belongings with them. The gov-
ernment is endeavoring to encourage
farming and permanent residence
among them, and thirty-two farms are
now being worked on the Southern
reservation ; but when the season of
farm work is over, the farmers wander
and hunt with their fellows. The
government has erected small houses
of planks or logs on the farms, but the
Indians usually prefer to live in wick-
iups, as did their forefathers, conical
shaped tents, formerly covered with
deer skin and buffalo hide, now almost
invariably made from canvas supplied
by the government. The tent poles are
erected something after the soldier
fashion of stacking arms, being joined,
and often tied, at the top, and over
this framework of poles the canvas is
stretched. An opening for the escape
of smoke is left in the top, and another
for ingress and egress in the side, this

door-hole being covered with a flap
stretched on sticks. A small excava-
tion is made in the center of the
wickiup and used tor a tire place,
the fire being built on the ground.
A mat of limbs and small tree branches
is built around the fire place, and this
mat is covered with blankets and
skins that serve as seats during the
day and as beds at night. In the
wickiup are kept the lew utensils
used in Ute housekeeping, and here
the Ute family rests, eats, cooks,
sleeps and receives visits from friends.
The women build, and usually own.
the wickiups. When the family
moves, which is often, the women take
down the tents, roll up the canvas and
load it on packhorses, tie the ends of
the tent-poles to saddles and allow
the poles to drag on the ground.
They also load the coffee p
willow water jars, baskets, wooden
ladles, blankets and hides onto pack
horses, and they and the children ride
on top of the packs. The men ride
ahead of the cavalcade, and do not
usually load goods on their hoi
The half-grown boys and girls ride




behind the van and drive the sheep,
goats, and extra horses.

The Utes . are sometimes poly-
gamous, but not to any great extent,
owing to the equal numbers of the
sexes. Several men have two wives,
and a few have three. All the
wives sometimes live in one tent with
the husband, but it is customary to
have a separate tent for each wife and
her children. The men marry at
about eighteen years of age, the
women from fourteen to sixteen.
Courtship is of short duration. A
brave, after falling in love with a
girl, will don his best clothes and
feathers, paint his face in the bright-
est colors, load himself down with
beads and ornaments, and then fre-
quent the wickiup of the family
of his inamorata. He will converse
volubly with the girl's relatives, but
affect a profound indifference toward
her, often not noticing her when she
speaks to him. She and her friends
understand the significance of these
tactics, and the man's availability and
desirability as a husband are discussed.
The girl's parents may endeavor to
dissuade her from the proposed alli-
ance, but by long established tribal
custom the final decision is in her own
hands, and she may marry to suit her-
self. If a man believes his suit is
looked upon with favor, he goes upon
a hunt, and returns after he has killed
a deer. With the body of the deer
slung to his horse he rides to the
wickiup where dwells the object of
his longing, ties his horse to a tree
near the tent, and goes in, often not
noticing the girl. If the girl has
decided to reject him she pays no heed
to him, but if she accepts him she goes
out to his horse, waters and feeds it,
unstraps the deer and cares for the
meat and skin, cooks some of the meat
and invites him to partake of it with
her, and by so doing she has concluded
both the engagement and marriage,
for the two will begin living with each
other at once, with no further cere-
mony. The young couple usually
begin married life by dwelling in the

wickiup of the bride's mother, but
after two or three children are born to
them, should they live together BO
long, they will build a wickiup of
their own. As soon as married the
man joins the clan of the woman and
becomes one of the same people
herself, and the children, when born.
belong to her clan. In case of di\
the man may return to his own clan,
but often does not.

Divorce, or more properly separa-
tion, is very common, and may be
effected by either the man or the
woman. In case of separation each
takes his own property, and the wile
usually returns to her mother's family,
taking her children if they are very
young. If the children are almost
grown, the sons go with the father and
the daughters with the mother.
Parents are very affectionate toward
their children, but seem to have little
regard for children who have left them
because of divorce. In some cases the
easily made marriages have lasted
through life. Ignacio, the head chief,
has but one wife. He entertains a
great regard for her, and has lived
with her for many years. In some
cases a man or a woman may have
been married as many as two dozen





The morals of the Utes are very lax,
as are the morals of almost all wild
Indians. A woman is supposed to be
true to her master, but the man is free
to indulge in as many amours as op-
portunity and his inclinations will
permit, and he will not fall in his
wife's estimation thereby. If a woman
is unfaithful her husband may adopt
one of several courses. The mildest
punishment is to kill the favorite horse
of the man who has trespassed ; an-
other punishment is to whip the
woman and separate from her ; an-
other, now falling out of use, is to slit
the nose of the unfaithful wife, and
kill the offending co-respondent ; and
in rare cases the husband has been
known to kill both the unfaithful wife
and the offending man.
Usually, however, if the
wife consorts with another
Indian her punishment con-
sists of being beaten or
divorced ; but if her crime
is committed with a negro,
a white man, or a Mexican,
the punishment is death.
No half breed children are
allowed to live if it can be
avoided, and many an erring

woman has seen her child killed, and
has lost her own life for bringing into
the world a little stranger in whose
veins flowed the mixed blood of two

The men do the farm work, when
any is done, and hunt and fish, and
sometimes care for the horses. The
women build the wickiups, provide
wood, carry water, do the cooking
and most of the laborious work.
The female children begin to work
young, but the boys do little except
ride, herd horses, and practice shooting
with revolvers, guns, and bows and
arrows. The children are as well cared
for as their elders, and are greatly loved
by their parents. The families are
not large, but two or three children
being usually born to one mother.
The children are not named as soon as
bom, and when a name is given it is
usually hap-hazard, and may be
changed several times during a life-
time. The infants are of course
placed in kootiuhs, or pappoose boards,
and carried slung over the mother's

There is little regularity about
the Ute family life. Each one eats
when he chooses, sleeps when he likes,
and arises when he pleases. The
food consists of beef, coffee, tortillas,
and wild game. The tortillas are
cooked by holding them over the fire,
and the
meats are
cooked on
flat stones,
or held on
sticks and
cooked in




the flame. The cooking utensils are few
and crude. Ladles are hewed out of
oak knots ; willow ollas, or water jars,
are woven by the women and are very
serviceable ; drinking cups are made
from cow horns that are heated in the
fire and then flared ; and jars and cups
are procured from the Apaches and
Pueblo Indians. In eating, the In-
dians sit upon the ground, and need-
less to say, they exemplify the old
saying that fingers were made before
forks. Chunks of cooked meat are
usually kept in the wickiups, and
any member of the family may eat
of it when he chooses. They retire to
bed early, and usually sleep late. An
entire family will sleep in a single
wickiup, each one wrapping himself
in a blanket or skin, and lying with
his feet toward the fire. The inter-
course among the members of a family
is nearly always pleasant, quarrels
are very infrequent, and children are
rarely chastised by their parents.
Children hold their parents in great
respect, and brothers and sisters are
usually very affectionate and friendly
with each other.

Both men and women are inveterate
gamblers, betting on horse races, foot
races, on the Mexican game of
monte and the native game of kan-
yu-tc. This game, the only native
one, is very simple, consisting merely
in guessing in which hand one of the
players holds a bone or small object.
The one who holds the object will
make a number of maneuvers with
both hands, passing the object from
one hand to the other, and finally
holding up both hands closed. Then
the players will guess in which hand
the object is held. Gambling has a
great fascination for them, and many
a man has lost everything he possessed,
even to his clothing, by betting against
a run of bad luck. They play fair in
their games, and a dishonest player, if
discovered, might lose his life.

In handiwork the Utes are less
skillful than most of the other frontier
tribes. They make a great deal of
bead work, consisting of ornaments

for leggings, moccasins, dresses and
shirts, hat-bands and scarfs. They
make saddle bags of buckskin ami
ornament them profusely with beads.
Almost all kinds of clothing are made
out of buckskin, sheep skin, and elk
hide, and whips and lariats are also
manufactured. They make very good
arrow quivers from raw hide, ami
arrows that are identical with tlm
the Apaches, being three featli
and pointed with flint or iron. Thc\
also make a few bows, but they are
not equal to Apache bows. Their
willow work consists only of water
jars and a few baskets. They make
finger rings, ear rings, bracelets and
breast-plates, and manufacture si me
of their paints from plants and min-
erals. In the past the men were all
expert in the use of bows, arrows and
spears, but they have lost this .skill
with the introduction of fire arms.

An important but dangerous occu pa
tion among the Utes is that of the
pwu-au-guts, or medicine men. The
medicine men use very little medicine,
healing by magic, called po-o-kan-tc.
The healer procures his magic power
from dead Indians who visit him at
night from the Happy Hunting
Grounds, where he goes when he is in
trances, and from eagles, bears, and
other birds and animals. When a
man establishes his reputation as a
magician he is believed in implicitly,
and many fees of blankets or»horses
are paid to him for his sen
When an Indian is to be treated for
sickness a small wickiup, or medi-
cine tent, is erected at some distance
from the other tents, and the doctor
and his patient repair there for the
healing. The medicine man pi
his head upon the afflicted parts of the
patient's body and draws the di»
away. He ties a little bundle of herbs
to the sick person's garments, and
then chants and makes motions
over the invalid. The chant is some-
times carried on for hours, a bright
fire being built in the tent if it is to
continue during the night. The chant
is unspeakably weird, and can be heard



at a long distance. The patient's
male friends may visit him in the
medicine tent, but in most cases
women or strangers are not allowed to
come near, it being believed that
women exercise a bad influence. The
medicine man, as well as the patient,
believes fully in the power of magic to
heal, but if a cure is not effected the
patient and his friends believe that
the medicine man is not trying to cure,
that he is using his magic for evil
purposes, and they may take the un-
lucky magician's life. I know of two
instances where so called bad medicine
men, or witches, were killed. In
both cases the killing was done with
the consent of the chiefs, and in one
case a chief held the victim while his
throat was cut by the father of the
boy who had been bewitched. It is
esteemed no crime to kill a witch,
and trouble rarely follows such a deed.
The Utes believe in trance medium-
ship, in the power of a medium to
leave his body and visit the Happy
Hunting Grounds, and in the super-
natural power and magic of animals
and birds. The eagle, in their esti-
mation the king and ruler of all
birds, possesses wonderful po-o-kan-ti\
and if an eagle is killed and its heart
eaten by a medicine man, they be-
lieve the eagle's magic is transferred
to him. The eagle's feathers are
believed to impart bravery to their

wearer, and many fine
feather war bonnets have
been made by the Utes, a
few yet being found among

The Utes believe that
one God, or Great Spirit,
rules all the Indians, and
that he desires his children
to be mighty hunters and
brave warriors. They be-
lieve that their code of
morals came originally
from this Great Spirit, and
that war is a good thing in
his sight. They believe in
a future life, but not in a
future punishment. As
soon as an Indian dies it is believed
that his soul goes at once to the
Happy Hunting Grounds, a fair land
in the sky where there is no death,
where there are towering mountains,
broad forests, grassy plains and rivers
of sweet waters that flow undimin-
ished forever. h\ this Happy Hunt-
ing Ground each tribe of Indians has
its own laud, and when an Indian
dies he dwells among his own people.
In this blessed place there is no sick-
ness, the men are all strong, the
women are all beautiful, the horses
are all fleet, and existence is one long,
happy, endless round of hunting,
feasting, dancing and making merry.
The Indians who have been in trances
tell of this happy land, a strange thing
being that all give the same descrip-
tion. It is implicitly believed in, and
every Indian, no matter what his life
may be, believes that he will go there
as soon as he dies. Because of this
implicit faith no Ute fears death, and
none are cowards.

The Utes have great respect for the
memory of the dead, and while they
erect no permanent monuments, they
can remember for long periods the
burial places of friends. Their burial
customs vary according to the rank
and importance of the dead person.
If a witch is killed he may be thrown
into any hastily dug hole without
ceremony. An ordinary Indian will




be buried with some state. A horse
will be killed over his grave in order
that he may take it with him to the
Happy Hunting Grounds, and a pipe,
a jug of water and a few necessaries
will be thrown into the grave. His
female relations will cut their hair in
mourning, and when any of them
meet friends for the first time after the
burial they will stop and give the
death wail, a weird, melancholy cry,
whose significance is known to every
member of the tribe. If a chief or

important personage dies, an elaborate
funeral takes place. The women take
charge of the funeral ceremonies, and
the men, working under their direc-
tions, dig a grave, making it about
eight feet deep. The grave is then
lined with cloths and blankets, and a
couch of blankets and robes is built
in the grave, a pillow of fine furs
being made for the head. The body,
dressed in the best finery the Indian
owned when alive, is then pas
down to men who stand in the grave,

5 02



and is placed in an easy reclining
position. Tobacco, playing cards,
money, meat, fruits, saddles, revol-
vers and a jug of water are then placed
in the grave for the dead man to take
with him on his journey to the Happy
Hunting Grounds. Rude timbers are
then placed in the grave above the
body, tanned skins or canvas are
fastened to them, and then a wicki-
up is built over all. Six or seven
horses are then killed for the use of
the dead man's spirit, and sometimes
the wickiup is burned down.

Five dances are numbered in the
Ute catalogue, each of which has a
sacred or mystic significance, although
most of them are indulged in on festal
occasions as well. The Dog Dance is
danced by men only, being a kind of
war dance. The Tea Dance, is danced
by men and women, and the Ghost
Dance, similar to the Sioux dance of
the same name, is danced by both
sexes. The l,ame Horse Dance,
is exclusively for women, and
the Bear Dance for both men
and women. The Bear Dance
is given by some one of the main Ute
tribes once each year, and is for the
purpose of assisting the bears in the
mountains to recover from hiberna-

tion, to provide food for the living
bears and the spirit bears in the Happy
Hunting Grounds, to charm the dan-
cers against danger from bears, and
is, besides, a social function. It takes
place in March, lasts four days and
one night, and is followed by a feast.
The dance is held out of doors in a cir-
cular enclosure, called ah-vick-wak-it y
the enclosure being made of green

No serious effort has been made to
convert the Southern Utes to Chris-
tianity, and but little progress has
been made in educating their young.
vSeveral boys and girls have been sent
to schools and kept there for a few
months at a time, but the best edu-
cated among them can only manage
to read in the third readers of the
public schools. They learn rapidly,
taking into consideration the fact that
before they can advance they must
master a foreign language, but they are
not kept long enough in the schools.
Parents are very averse to sending
their children to the schools, and the
school training does but little good to
children who are sent back to the old
careless tribal life and blanket cos-

The lives of these Indians are very
narrow and restricted. They are
hemmed in on a narrow reservation,
the boundary lines of which are the
boundary lines of their world. They
have no intellectual pleasures, and
aside from hunting, gambling and
dancing, they have little to occupy
their minds. A few of the more active
spirits chafe under their bonds of in-
ertia, but there has been no trouble
with the wh tes for many 3-ears.
Brawls among themselves occur, but
no more frequently than among a sim-
ilar number of whites ; but if they
become serious, killing is usually the
result. They have but little inter-
course with the whites, as they know
white men are not well disposed to-
ward them. If they are approached
in the right way they are very friendly,
and they greatly esteem the friendship
of white men whom thev like and



respect. They are staunch in friend-
ship, honest and truthful, but bitter
and implacable in enmity.

A few of the men can speak some
words of English, nearly all speak
Spanish. Some speak the Navajo dia-
lect, and many of the women under-
stand Spanish to a certain degree, al-
though few of them speak a word of
English. Their own dialect is rather
more harsh than other Indian dialects.
There are comparatively few words in
their language, but it is difficult to
master, as a word may have many diff-
erent meanings, according to the way
it is inflected. They have a system of
notation running to one hundred. After
counting to that number they begin
at one again, making a mark for each
one hundred. Considering the few
words at their command, and the
meageruess of their language, some of
them are very eloquent. The force
of the spoken words is greatly en-
hanced by their intense earnestness
when speaking upon serious subjects,
by their indescribable dignity, by
their sparkling eyes and by their
magnificent powers of gesticulation
in which they have no superiors.
Buckskin Charley, the war chief,
who, like many a white man, is
painted worse than he is by his ene-
mies, recounted to me the history of
his life, speaking in the Ute dialect,
his language being translated to
me by a competent interpreter. An
extract or two may serve to give
some idea of Indian thought and
eloquence. The first extract from
his story is an account of a battle he
took part in, and is given almost
verbatim as translated.

In an old time a great road
Line from the States to the city of
nita Fe. On the east side of that
>ad, away on the wide plains, I and
ix other Utes went once to hunt
buffalo. We killed great numbers
of buffalo, and about the middle of
one day we packed our meat and
hides onto pack horses and started
for home, wanting to reach our camp
because we had used all the water
Vol. IV— 33

we had with us. Two of our men rode
ahead, and after we had ridden a little
distance, we saw those two men turn
and ride toward us, coming as fast as
their horses could run. When they
came near us they waved their hands
and called out :

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