Sister tribes review museum content 

Southern Ute NAGPRA Coordinator Alden Naranjo and Betsy Chapoose, Northern Ute Cultural Rights and Protection Director discuss edits to informational panels that will appear in exhibits at the newly expanded Ute Indian Museum at the 12th Ute Indian Museum Expansion Consultation Thursday, Dec. 1 in Denver.
Marissa Box looks over a draft panel that will appear in the newly expanded Ute Indian Museum in Montrose, Colo. that is scheduled to open June 2017.
Sacha Smith | The Southern Ute Drum
Sacha Smith | The Southern Ute Drum

On Thursday, Dec. 1 the three Ute tribes met at History Colorado in Denver for the 12th consultation of the Ute Indian Museum expansion. The main focus of the meeting was to give tribal reps the time to review the draft wording and visuals that will appear on panels in the museum.

History Colorado posted the draft panels and other content on the walls of an empty room giving everyone a chance to look over the information hanging on walls – similar to how they would appear in the museum. History Colorado encouraged the tribal reps to look over everything thoroughly making notes on what should be edited or added.

No time was wasted, culture representatives and Tribal Council members took to the drafts making edits to wording, spelling of names and discussing the appropriate way to spell out words in Ute.

Next, the group got to view videos that will appear in the “Removal” exhibit – which focuses on the Utes being removed to reservations. From the Northern Ute perspective, the videos portray the removal of Utes to Utah well, Betsy Chapoose Northern Ute Cultural Rights and Protection Director said. Alden Naranjo Southern Ute NAGPRA Coordinator agreed with Chapoose, but pointed out that the videos do not tell the removal stories of the Ute bands that remained in Colorado. The group discussed how to include the removal story of all bands with visuals that would help better tell the whole story.

History Colorado also talked about donations and getting the word out to the communities so those interested could donate and be recognized on a plaque that will be placed on the patio of the museum.

Council lady Amy J. Barry said it would be ideal for History Colorado to host a meeting with the tribal membership explaining the museum and the donation process. The group decided a spring meeting would be best, and History Colorado will work with the tribe on scheduling a meeting.

Lastly, the Ute representatives were given a chance to meet alone and discuss the museum opening in June 2017. History Colorado and the tribes have decided to host two opening days: one for the tribes and their members and one for the general public. The Ute Indian Museum opening for the Ute tribes – slated for Friday, June 9 – will be held a day before the general public opening.

In the tribal caucus, the tribes discussed what an opening day would look like and discussed a draft agenda that included a sunrise ceremony, presentations from the Ute tribes, drum group performances and a meal. At the last meeting, Southern Ute Chairman Clement J. Frost said that Southern Ute would donate bison meat to be served on the opening day for the tribes.

On Saturday, June 10 the public is invited to tour the museum and see a performance by the three Ute tribes. The tribes decided the performance might be a brief powwow presentation and/or a Bear Dance presentation. History Colorado is providing some funding to the tribes to help pay travel for tribal dignitaries, entertainment and food to be served.

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