The American Indian Site : A History

Our goals to support and interpret American Indian culture in this region have a long history and are evolving. In an effort to better represent the land and its people, a strong collaboration was made in1999 between the Native American Student Association, Colorado College and the City of Colorado Springs. Today, this comprehensive site continues to visually educate and inform visitors.

The LHA board is committed to continuing the partnership, and has welcomed new board members with indigenous heritage. Our goals reach far beyond the site to accurately showcase American Indian culture and traditions. We hope you enjoy a little history on how the site was created more than 20 years ago.

Many visitors choose to begin their tour in the Ranch’s earliest time period, Camp Creek Valley, the occupation by the Ute people between 1775-1835 (located north of the Galloway Cabin site). Visitors can explore an authentic elk-hide tipi or relax under the shade of an ancient brush shelter while docents bring this site to life. A variety of tribes used the foothills as a crossroads for hunting, trading and spending the milder winter months from the higher elevations.

In the interpretive area there are a few distinct types of Ute dwellings; an elk hide tipi and a four-post shade arbor, constructed of three to four poles joined in the center and overlaid with juniper bark and/or brush or grass. Encircling bands of willow hold the outer covering in place.

Even after elk hide tipis came into common use in the 1700’s, these shade structures remained a popular dwelling, especially in the summer for their ventilation.

When considering the materials for the site, the Ranch worked with Larry Belitz of South Dakota, a friend and resource to the ranch for more than 30 years. Mr. Belitz is a nationally recognized expert in Plains Indian objects. He has served as an Indian technical advisor on film sets such as Dances with Wolves and Return to Lonesome Dove. He’s also created and repaired historic items for the Smithsonian Museum in DC, and the American Museum of Natural History in NYC.

Additional resources and information are displayed in the Carriage House, where you will be greeted by the 3 sisters garden planters. The planters display the traditional corn, beans, and squash that will grow and mature together, not at the expense of another Sister.

Save the Date!
ANNUAL POWWOW | September 25, 2021

Translate »
Skip to content