American Indians

Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site’s story begins with the American Indians. The Ute’s oral tradition says that Colorado is their homeland and they have no migration story. After acquiring horses from the Spanish around 1630, the Utes became skilled horsemen. Camp Creek Valley, which today includes Rock Ledge Ranch, provided a base camp for the Utes with abundant water and diverse plant life. The Ute Trail passes through Garden of the Gods and the Ranch site. In the mid-19th century, gold discoveries and further Westward expansion and settlement brought the U.S. government into conflict with the Ute. As a result, the Ute people were removed from this area to reservations in Southwestern Colorado and Utah in the 1870s.

At the American Indian Interpretive Area, we interpret the period between 1775-1835. These were good years for the Ute; they had horses with which to travel and hunt, and had little competition for the use of their land. As a result of the abundant natural resources in Colorado and the extensive trade networks that they developed, the American Indian peoples of this area could obtain a wide variety of foods, hides, building materials and manufactured goods. They used these resources to support their families and to honor their cultural traditions. Although many American Indian groups traveled through the Pikes Peak region, we primarily tell the Ute story. Today, many American Indians live, work, and go to school in the Pikes Peak Region, including Ute, Arapaho, and Cheyenne people.

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