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Know the West

The Southern Utes' empire

A history of lost land ... and a big comeback


Between 1860 and 1900, the various bands of Utes lost a huge amount of territory, mostly because of treachery, force and public pressure. The Southern Utes have regained only a fraction of their original land, but they've recouped some of their losses in other ways, by asserting their rights to water and hunting grounds and by seizing control of their reservation's energy resources. And in the last decade, they've spread their influence financially through the Southern Ute Growth Fund and its many tentacles -- limited liability corporations that are wholly owned subsidiaries of the tribe. This is a mere sampling of the tribe's ventures.