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Ute Indian Legends

The Coyote and the Bobcat
A Long time ago, Bobcat had a long tail and a long nose. One day while Coyote was walking, he caught Bobcat sleeping on the rocks. Coyote then decided to push Bobcat’s nose in and cut off his tail. After he had done that, he went home. At noon, Bobcat woke up. “Oh, what has happened to my nose and my tail? They are no longer long!” Then he thought to himself that it must have been Coyote’s doing. Coyote was taking a nap when Bobcat caught him sleeping. Bobcat thought to himself that he must do to Coyote what Coyote had done him. So he pulled hard on Coyote’s tail and pulled his nose until they became very long, and then he ran away. That is why Coyote now has a long nose and tail, and Bobcat has a short nose and tail.

The Sleeping Ute Mountain
In the very old days, the Sleeping Ute Mountain was a Great Warrior God. He came to help fight against the Evil Ones who were causing much trouble.A tremendous battle between the Great Warrior God and the Evil Ones followed. As they stepped hard upon the earth and braced themselves to fight, their feet pushed the land into mountains and valleys. This is how the country of this region came to be as it is today.The Great Warrior God was hurt, so he lay down to rest and fell into a deep sleep. The blood from his wound turned into living water for all creatures to drink.When the fog or clouds settle over the Sleeping Warrior God, it is a sign that he is changing his blankets for the four seasons.

When the Indians see the light green blanket over their "God", they know it is spring. The dark green blanket is summer, the yellow and red one is fall, and the white one is winter.The Indians believe that when the clouds gather on the highest peak, the Warrior God is pleased with his people and is letting rain clouds slip from his pockets. They also believe that the Great Warrior God will rise again to help them in the fight against their enemies.

The Sky People:
Hundreds of years ago, long after the cliff dwellers left their canyon top and cliff dwellings, native people cane from the south into the vast area we call Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico. These people, now known as Utes, lives here long before the Spanish explorers arrived with their large expeditions and herds of horses. The Ute families, bands, and encampments were spread out across this large area. Their customs were very similar and all spoke the same language even though they didn't often see each other.The Utes believed that the mountains were put there by Manitou. He was the Great Spirit who lived all alone in the center of the sky.

Manitou grew lonesome and wanted to create something new so he made a hole in the sky and swept all the stones and dirt from the sky's floor through the hole.Manitou looked down and saw the great mountains he had made from the dirt and rocks. Some of the dirt became the rolling plains that stretched as far as he could see. He was so pleased with his landscape that he poured down snow and rain to make the earth more beautiful. Manitou created the trees, flowers and finally the Ute Indians to live in this new world.The Utes believe that Manitou had also made all of the animals as well as the birds. It is said he made the birds by taking handfuls of leaves and throwing them in the air. Then the leaves became birds and flew away.But the worst thing of all happened. The animals soon began to fight and kill each other and that made Manitou mad, so he created the strongest animal to rule over all the others to see that they lived in peace. This was the grizzly bear, the king of all beasts.