Aspen Ute Foundation helps Native American Indians come to Aspen area for work opportunities as well as a chance at exposure to a healthier lifestyle than what is common conditions on Reservations. These people have their ancestral roots in this valley; meaning they are the direct descendants to generations of original inhabitants, way before the settlement of Colorado by European descendants in the late 1800’s. Being American Indians, the spiritual connection to their ancestral lands is very powerful and the reconnection with these lands is the starting point for healing and empowering each one of them with a sense of self-
If we go back in history, “white men” were the ones who came here, found silver to mine and forcibly removed the Utes from their lands in 1879 to desolate and arid land in Fort Duchesnes. Then, the Utes were forbidden to roam freely and continue their traditional lifestyle of sustaining themselves. Their identity was stripped from them, they have been cut off from their roots, their language is disappearing along with the elders’ knowledge of all local sacred ceremonial sites, knowledge of berry picking and mushroom gathering as well as medicinal plants. Their lives are shadowed by such desperation that most young adults turn to alcoholism and drug use. Diabetes affects an enormous number of them, teenage suicidal rate is among the highest in the country, with no job to be had, domestic violence is predominant.
After over a century of being cut off from their roots, the Utes see the urgency to reconnect with Aspen area for an opportunity to redirect their lives. This is where Aspen Ute Foundation comes in. We help whoever wants to get out of the Reservation; sponsor them to find jobs, housing and enable them to become part of Aspen Community.
They in time will be the link for others to do the same. This is our chance to extend a helping hand to the Utes, to respond positively to an urgent appeal for safeguarding the traditional ways of the original Indigenous people of the Aspen area.
Aspen Ute Foundation© Design by Coke Buchanan