July 13, 2007

Indian lore at Rocky Mountain

Archeological SitesRocky Mountain National Park has been the home to Native Americans for at least the last 12,000 years. The remains of all the known prehistoric cultures except Folsom (ca. 10,000-8000 years ago) have been found in the park. The basic prehistoric sequence is Clovis (11,000–10,000); Folsom; Early, Middle and Late Archaic (7,500-2,000); and the Early, Middle, and Late Ceramic cultures (2,000 to 300).

The major inhabitants of the Park area in historic times were the Ute and Arapaho. Ute origins may have been in the Great Basin and/or the mountainous areas of the State and we strongly suspect that Uto-Aztecan speaking ancestors of the Ute have occupied the Colorado mountains for at least 6,000 years. The Apache appear to have been in the park for at least 400 years as based on the presence of their pottery and historical accounts of a battle with the Arapaho in the 1830s in Upper Beaver Meadow. The Arapaho homeland was originally in Minnesota, and they migrated into Colorado by about 1790. No less than 36 place names in the Park are of Arapaho origin. By about 1880, the Ute had been moved to reservations in Colorado and Utah, and the Arapaho to Oklahoma and Wyoming. Due to the high altitude and severe winters, occupation for these hunter-gatherers in the park was confined to the warmer months. Major occupation may have been in the fall of the year when the high altitude elk game drives were in operation. Present evidence indicates that winter occupation was at lower altitude along the Front Range, and in Middle and North Parks.

1 comment:

Rob said...

For more on the subject, see 1,100 Indian Sites at Rocky Mountain.