The Ute people do not have a migration story, as they have always lived here. Colorado is their ancestral home. Image courtesy of Library of Congress
Today, Twin Lakes is best known for its recreational opportunities, but this new episode of Colorado Experience seeks to tell the true story of the area’s history and the Ute people’s struggle for reconciliation. Image courtesy of Rocky Mountain PBS.
Photo Credit: Courtesy Rocky Mountain PBS
Photo Credit: courtesy Rocky Mountain PBS
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Fort Lewis College to prescreen ‘Twin Lakes, Ancestral Home of the Tabeguache Ute’

Southwestern Coloradans: Rocky Mountain PBS (RMPBS) and Fort Lewis College invites you to a prescreening event and discussion of a new episode of Colorado Experience. Discover the untold history of Twin Lakes, homeland of the Tabeguache Ute people – from broken treaties to modern day discussions of reconciliation. Stay after the screening for a conversation with featured guests from the episode, including current Twin Lakes residents and Ute Mountain Ute tribal members.  

RMPBS invites historians and activists alike to a reception, gallery viewing, screening, and discussion in the Lyceum Room at the Center of Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College in Durango. To reserve your seat, please register on Eventbrite.  

“Colorado Experience is such a beloved show to Coloradans, so we are excited to be showing this content in Durango and getting a chance to engage community perspectives on the episode,” says Emory Collinson, Rocky Mountain Public Media (RMPM) Director of Statewide Outreach, Engagement and Events.   

Enjoy a reception and view the gallery before the screening begins in the Lyceum Room at the Center of Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College.  

“We are so excited that the Center of Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College will be hosting the screening as well as sharing their exhibit called, “As Seeds, We Grow,” featuring student artists’ views of resilience,” says Carol Fleischer, Senior Producer of Colorado Experience. “It’s particularly poignant given Fort Lewis College’s history as an Indian boarding school.”  

The Twin Lakes episode, airing November 10 on Rocky Mountain PBS, tells the story of the Tabeguache Ute and their connection to the Twin Lakes area through the voices of their descendants, Chairman Manuel Heart and Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. In the mid-1800s, several treaties broken by the U.S. government forced the Ute people off the land. Today, residents of Twin Lakes and tribal members alike wonder what reconciliation looks like, and whether the Ute People will ever get their land back. “When a treaty was broken, it is very difficult to unbreak,” said Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk, land advocate for the Ute Mountain Utes in the episode. “You cannot unbreak something. You cannot un-say something. You have only the means to move forward.”  

Following the screening, attending viewers will participate in a panel discussion featuring tribal members and Twin Lakes residents. Featured guests include Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk, member of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe of Towaoc, Colo. and Cross-Cultural Programs Manager for the Montezuma Land Conservancy; Judy Leaming, tribal lawyer and Twin Lakes resident; and Kurt Schweigert, architectural historian and Twin Lakes resident.  

“This episode of Colorado Experience tells a vital story about an area in Colorado currently most famous for its recreational opportunities,” said Gillian Pasley, RMPM Statewide Event Coordinator. “It’s important that we examine the true history of Twin Lakes and hear from those whose ancestors were forced from their home in the name of progress. We’re thrilled to be hosting this event in Southwest Colorado, near the contemporary home of the Ute People, and we’re eager to hear their perspectives.”  

This project is paid for in part by a History Colorado, State Historical Fund grant. The contents and opinions contained herein do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of History Colorado. Major support of “Colorado Experience” is also provided by the Sturm Family Foundation and Telluride Mining Historian Rudy Davison.  

Colorado Experience “Twin Lakes” Prescreening and Panel Discussion  

Monday, Nov. 7 

Reception and Gallery

Viewing 6 p.m. , Screening begins at 7 p.m.  

Lyceum Room – Center of Southwest Studies, Fort Lewis College , 1000 Rim Drive Durango, CO 81301  

RSVP: To reserve your seat for Monday’s event, please register on Eventbrite at the following link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/colorado-experience-prescreening-panel-the-tabeguache-ute-in-twin-lakes-tickets-457234730387  

 Rocky Mountain PBS “Colorado Experience” season nine 2022 episodes include:     

  • “The Million Dollar Highway” 7:30 – 8:30 p.m., Thursday, November 3  
  • “Twin Lakes” 7:30 – 8 p.m., Thursday, November 10  
  • “Native Horses” 7:30 – 8 p.m., Thursday, November 17  
  • “Barry Fay / Red Rocks” 7:30 – 8 p.m., Thursday, November 24  
  • “Women of Santa Fe Trail” 7:30 – 8 p.m., Thursday, December 15  

   For more details on RMPBS program schedules, visit https://www.rmpbs.org/schedule/  


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