The Mystery Behind the Strangely Bent Trees of Colorado

Date and Time: 
Monday, June 19, 2017 - 7:00pm to 8:30pm
John Anderson

Ute Indian Prayer Trees are a unique variety of Culturally Modified Trees (CMT) that were skillfully cultivated by the Ute Indians throughout much of Colorado.  The Ute began modifying trees for navigational, medicinal, nutritional, educational, burial or spiritual purposes, hundreds of years ago. 

Many Ute Prayer Trees can still be found today and some are believed to have been cultivated between 150-450 years ago.  The Ute do not have a traditional migration story, so it remains somewhat of a mystery where they may have come from or when they arrived in what they know as the Shining Mountains, but according to the Ute oral history their Creation Story says they were placed here at the beginning of time by Senawahv, the Creator.  The Ute Elders claim they were the original inhabitants of the Pikes Peak Region and have had a continuous presence for perhaps 14,000 years in what is today Colorado, with 2 Reservations still in existence in the Four Corners area (Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute Reservations).  Pikes Peak, a mountain known as Tava to the Ute, was the most sacred of all the Shining Mountains for their oral history teaches them that the Creator has the day start there first and each day is a gift from the Creator.  The Ute like many other Native Americans, believe all things in life, including trees, have a spirit and many of the UPTs discovered in El Paso, Teller and Custer Counties, point towards Tava (Pikes Peak) and other sacred places of the Ute people

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