Wild Safety Month

Robert L. Ortiz | The Southern Ute Drum

Your Safety Team has declared October to be Wild Safety Month. You will receive regular emails each week this month providing information on how to live and interact safely with many, if not most forms of wildlife found in this area.  Subjects will include everything from mice to mountain lions, bats to bears. These short briefings will address both direct interactions and possible disease issues. At the Health Fair in November, the Risk Management and Safety Team booth will offer you an opportunity to take a short quiz based on these emails. There will be prizes for everyone based on your quiz scores.

Many of you may not be aware, but the Southern Ute Culture Department is an important contributor on the Safety Team. They provide valuable input on issues ranging from event planning, to tree removals and in this case, interactions with our wild neighbors.  Our first installment in the Wild Safety Month emails then, are the following thoughts offered by Hanley Frost and Tara Vigil.


There are many ways that animals express their nature to Native people. For instance, the eagle is considered the most powerful medicine animal. When an eagle is in our view we know that he is sending us blessings.

  • The bear plays a major role in Ute religious ceremonies. To the Utes, the bear is our relative which offers us strength and loyalty. The She Bear brought us the Bear Dance which signifies the coming of spring-renewal and fertility. We honor the bear for the teachings she brought to the Utes, therefore we do not hunt the bear.
  • The mountain lion symbolizes strength and loyalty. It is very important not to approach her.
  • The buffalo has a spirituality that is powerful to Native people. The buffalo holds a special position of honor and respect.

There are many animals that mean a lot of things to us Natives so it is very important to let them prepare for the seasons and leave them be, do not approach the animals for your own safety as well as their safety.  They need their personal space just like you and I.  Observe them from afar.

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