The oldest known continuous residents of Colorado are the Ute Indian people (Native American). The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe (the Weeminuche band) has lived on this land for over 100 years. The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe's reservation lays in southwest Colorado, southeast Utah, and northern New Mexico. There are two communities on the Ute Reservation; the tribal headquarters in Towaoc, Colorado and the small community at White Mesa, Utah.
The tribal lands are on what's known as the Colorado Plateau, a high desert area with deep canyons carved through the mesas. This is a harsh land and there are no cities to provide services for the tribe. So the tribe must be self-sufficient by looking for other means of implementing progress and creating successful enterprises such as Farm & Ranch, Weeminuche Construction Authority, Ute Mountain Hotel/Casino, Ute Mountain Pottery, Travel Center and Sleeping Ute RV Park to serve the needs of the tribal members as well as create a healthy economy in which to live. The natural resources of the land provide the tribe's income. These resources include oil and gas, grazing land for herds of tribal members, and land and water for Farm & Ranch south of the Sleeping Ute Mountain.
The present reservation consists of 582,321 acres. The Tribal enrollment in 2011 was 2,095 with the majority of the members living on the reservation in Towaoc, Colorado (Montezuma County), and in White Mesa, Utah. In 2011, the Tribe was one of the largest employers in Montezuma County with 1,578 jobs in all aspects of tribal government and operations, and at its Ute Mountain Casino and RV Park. By having a foot print in three states the Tribe is in a unique position to interact with three distinct state governments, while retaining its sovereignty as a nation. Traditional values and customs are important to the culture and life of the Ute people. Annual events include Bear Dance, Sundance and gathering of natural plant life maintaining traditional/contemporary ways of life.