Indians of Colorado

Colorado has a long history of American Indian civilization going back many centuries. The Mesa Verde cliff dwellings were constructed by proto-Puebloan peoples formerly called the Anasazi. (The word Anasazi translates to “ancient enemies,” which is no longer considered politically correct). In our library you can find numerous sources on Mesa Verde and the Puebloan Indians, including The Anasazi of Mesa Verde and the Four Corners, and The Western San Juan Mountains: Their Geology, Ecology and Human History.

In the mountains of Colorado lived the Utes, the only tribe to still have reservations in Colorado. You can find out more about the Utes through publications available from our library such as Ute Indian Museum: A Capsule History and Guide; The Last War Trail: Utes and the Settlement of Colorado; The Ute Indians of Utah, Colorado and New Mexico; Colorado Ute Legacy (VHS); and Southern Ute Lands 1848-1899: The Creation of a Reservation.

Colorado was also home to several plains tribes, including the Cheyenne, Arapaho, and others, who hunted buffalo on the eastern plains of Colorado. Some resources in our library on these tribes include Cheyenne Dog Soldiers: A Ledgerbook History of Coups and Combat; Cheyenne Texts: An Introduction to Cheyenne Literature; Treaties Between the Tribes of the Great Plains and the United States of America, Cheyenne and Arapaho, 1825-1900; and Tell Me, Grandmother: Traditions, Stories and Cultures of Arapaho People.

Finally, for an overall history of Colorado’s Native Americans, see Indians of Colorado, by LeRoy Hafen, 1957.

American Indians are still very much with us today – for resources on contemporary Native American life, see such publications as the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs Resource Directory; Native Communities and Climate Change; A Guide to Colorado Legal Resources for Native Americans; Twenty-Five Year Report of the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs (2002); Report of the Native Americans Sacred Lands Forum; and Indian Water Rights in the West: A Study. There are many more publications on Colorado’s American Indians as well, so be sure and search our web catalog.