Ute Mountain Ute artisan village & museum

Material Information

Ute Mountain Ute artisan village & museum
Carvalho, Mark
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
68, [24] leaves : illustrations, charts, maps, plans ; 28 cm


Subjects / Keywords:
Ute Indians -- Museums -- Designs and plans ( lcsh )
Ute Indians ( lcsh )
Ute Indians ( fast )
Mesa Verde National Park (Colo.) ( lcsh )
Colorado -- Mesa Verde National Park ( fast )
Architectural drawings. ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
Architectural drawings ( fast )


Includes bibliographical references (leaves 83-92).
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Architecture, College of Architecture and Planning.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Mark Carvalho.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
16686766 ( OCLC )
LD1190.A72 1987 .C412 ( lcc )

Full Text
An Architectural Thesis Presented by
Mark Carvalho
The College of Design and Planning University of Colorado at

To my lovely wife Ruth.

Protective, and rightly so, of their traditions, history, and customs, I hope I have not misrepresented nor expressed too much of Ute society in this thesis. For the time I have worked with them in the past, I am indebted to their warmth and hospitality.

My thanks are given to all who have helped me through these years of graduate study, and in particular my wife Ruth, and the following:
Susan Kandelin, Outside Professional Advisor
John Prosser, Faculty Advisor
Paul Heath, Pre-thesis assistance
Gary Long, HVAC and Lighting Advisor
Davis Holder, Structural Systems Advisor
Charles S. Marsh's book People of the Shining Mountains, from which most of the Ute Indian pictures come.
Dirck Carvalho, my brother, for his patient and careful help in reproduction of this document
Sam Burns, for his field assistance down in the southwest of Colorado

Thesis question 1
Independence and leadership in
nomadic societies 3-4
Land ownership 5
Indian forms and life-
Black Elk, Oglala Souix 6-7
Image abstracting 8
Society and "core elements" 10
Materials and Structure 12
Conic shelter 13
Tipi 14
Village 15
Tipi erection 16-18
Shelter form & sedentarization 22
Thesis direction 23
Ute history 24-30
Treaty boundaries (map illus.) 27b
Ute crafts 30
Bear dance 32
Ute shelter forms 34
Anasazi history 36
Kiva 36
Indian society in nature 38
1. History 41
2. Site Location 42
3. Geology 44
4. Soils 44
5. Hydrology/ Climate 45
6. Wildfire 47
7. Vegetation 48
8. Wildlife 48
9. Minerals 49
10. Infrastructure 49
Project Description
1. National Park Plan 51
2. Facility on the Loop Road 53

Program 55
Space Summary 56
Space Analysis sheets 57b-
Thesis conclusions 58
Design conclusions/ description 59
Program conclusions 64
Design Drawings 64b-
Building Code Check Bibliography


"Nomadism involves a way of life which historically has characterized human groups on a world wide sc^le, on all six inhabited continents."
The problem of designing architecture for a peoples that have no real tradition of permanent built form is unique and delicate. Delicate in how that new contribution is achieved; with sensitivity to the culture for which it is formed. Unique not only in the opportunity it offers to the designer to make a possibly new social contribution, but more over, it is unique in the sense: how does one image and create form for what one doesn't know? What is not known cannot be imaged. This is true in so far as it refers to completely dichotomous concepts or images. It is not true in as much as people know or possess images of their environment; social, natural, cultural, etc. And it is from this store of images that cognitive linkages are made to enable "image extrapolation". A simple example would be the science fiction classic Dune by Frank Herbert. From knowledge of concepts such as "desert" and "snake" and "water & life" he was able to abstract a world totally abstract and alien, yet familiar enough in its imagery, as to enthrall thousands of readers.
For any and all cultures, habitable and communal structures carry meaning beyond simple function and subsistence. But for many cultures, those meanings were held in a non-written communal tradition, a culture in which
1. Edward K. Sadalla and David Stea, NOMADS: Behavioral and Psychological Adjustments to
Sedentarization (School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Department of Psychology), Univ. of California,
Los Angeles: from EDRA5 l:Man-Environment Themes, Daniel H Carson, Ed. 1974: p. 191

history and the life of the people was not catalogued in
relics, but rather handed on in a verbal tradition of tales
told to the people by the village story teller, the keeper
of the sacred ropes, the closest thing to a written
tradition for them, which was passed down from one
generation to the next by some form of elder, shaman, or
story-teller. Those of such cultures that have survived
into the modern era, are now faced with modern decisions and
problems in many areas, one being modern built form for
modern needs, but still containing traditionally held values
and motifs. Amos Rapaport notes on the built environment
"...(it) reflects many socio-cultural forces, religious beliefs, family and clan structure, social organization, ways of gaining a livelihood and social interactions between individuals."
David Stea, in his case study "Socio Cultural Modifications and User Needs in Navajo Housing", says of built form:
"A house is more than shelter. It is a sociocultural attribute peculiar to a culture and reflects a prevailing social and economic organization as well as the culture's attitudes, values, and beliefs. Indeed, cultural factors may be among the most important determinants of house and settlement form."
To be able to give a meaningful contribution to a culture with architecture, cultural values and norms should be addressed, not only to make the building aesthetically appropriate, but also functionally appropriate. But what of
2. Amos Rapoport, House. Form and Culture (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.| Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1969) Prentice-Hall Fondations of Cultural Geography Series, Philip L. Wagner, Ed., p. 47
3. Edward K. Sadalla, Peter Z. Snyder, and David Stea, Socio-cultural modifications and user needs in Navaio housing (Lob Angelesl School of Architecture and Urban Planning. University of Califorina 19771. p. 1

a non-written tradition, usually being inner-tribally held,
protected from modern inquisitive outsiders? How does one
go about designing built environment for one culture from
another? This can be especially difficult in that often
world views are different between modern America and
"indigenous third worlders".
"very traditional societies (those usually called "indigenous" or "native")... are not so easily separated from their environments; they do not recognize themselves as "figure" against the environment as "ground". "
The issue of the environment can go beyond simple "figure-
ground" associations. The entire way of life within the
environment is often essentially different.
"Technologically, sophisticated societies place "person" and "environment" in separate compartments; they then find it possible to ignore some effects of the physical environment upon behavior precisely because they have annihilated distance in their exterior environments and totally designed and controlled their interior environments... Indigenous "third worlders", are both in and of their environment, human-made as well as natural, sometimes (as in the case of many Nomadic groups, for example) integrated by a similar and highly complex system of symbols, through which myth and reality merge."
The structuring of each culture and society is different, often slightly, but the differences can be extreme when viewing Native American cultures from modern America, be it urban or rural; the nomadic Native American cultures in particular. The concept of independence and leadership is much different in nomadic societies than our
4. David Stea, Psyeolotrical Studies of Nomads and Squatters: Two Applications of Cross Cultural Environmental Psvcologv fLos Angelesl University of California School of Architecture. 197?1, p, 4
5. David Stea, Psvcological Studies of Nomads and Squatters: Two Applications of Cross Cultural Environmental Psvcologv, p. 4

"nomadic "independence" seems more akin to a form of interdependent individualism, in which the individual is given wide latitude of decision- making powers within a well- defined network of interpersonal responsibilities and social supports."
The view of natural resources and the concept of "harvesting
for use" is different (ie. moving to avoid scarcity instead
of gathering). This constant re-adaptation to environmental
givens is reflected in the social structure of the group,
" nomads are continually moving as groups and as individuals, and the composition of the groups changes both absolutely and seasonally as the fluctuating resources demand greater or lesser concentration of manpower, the social organization of nomads has to cope with and reflect a fluidity far greater than that of any peasant situation. Compared with their sedentary counterparts, then, (one) would expect to find the social ties between neighbors in pastoral groups to be more transitory, fluid and unstable."
this being again reflected in the ability of the group to
come to consensus on decisions or the issue of leadership.
The use of space for habitable arrangement reflects the
kinship and economic dependence within the group and "...
The resulting spatial pattern, then, expresses a well-
understood balance of social protocols and subsistence
needs." 6 7 8
And perhaps the greatest difference in attitude between the two cultures is in the attitude toward the land.
6. David Stea, Psvcological Studies of Nomads and Squatters: Two Applications of Cross Cultural Environmental Psycology, p. 7
7. Edward K. Sadalla and David Stea, NOMADS: Behavioral and Psychological Adjustments to Sedentarization. p. 198
8. Edward K. Sadalla, Peter Z. Snyder, and David Stea, Soeio-cultural modifications and user needs in Navaio housing, p. 199

"Within a nomadic tribal group land or space is frequently treated as a "free good" while the ownership of a certain quality of livestock becomes an end in itself. Livestock among herders functions similarly to land among agriculturalists...Like land, livestock ownership is equated with power and achievement...The shift from a livestock-based territory to a land-based territory requires a reorganization of personal and cultural value systems."
This dichotomy of land use/ownership views makes it especially difficult to arrive at an appropriate built form for a culture so distinct from our own. Indeed, for nomadic Native Americans, the only "permanent structures" erected were from their pre-nomadic culture, the wickiup, or brush and mud hut. After the advent of the horse, usually the
only permanent forms were the platforms for the dead, to start them on their soul journey. These latter structures were not inhabited by the living, nor was it seen as
9. Edward K. Sadalla and David Stea, NOMADS: Behavioral and Psychological Adjustments to Sedentarization. p. 201

desirable or good to be confined to a permanent built form.
Ute family with visitors in front of their wikiup which is covered with thick reeds and brush.
Quite the opposite was true.
"All our people now were settling down in square, gray houses, scattered here and there across this hungry land, and around them the Wasichus had drawn a line to keep them in.
The nation's hoop was broken, and there was no center any longer for the flowering tree. The people were in despair. They seemed heavy to me, heavy and dark; so heavy that it seemed they could not be lifted; so dark that they could not be made to see any more. Hunger was among us often now, for much of what the Great Father in Washington sent us must have been stolen by Wasichus who were crazy to get money. There were many lies, but we could not eat them. The forked tongue made promises....
The life of the people was in the hoop, and what are many littleQlives if the life of those lives be gone? "
10. Black Elk Speaks: Being the life story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux/ as told through John G. Neihardt (Lincoln | University of Nebraska Press, cl979), pp. 181-182

"After the heyoka ceremony, I came to live here where I am now between Wounded Knee Creek and Grass Creek. Others came too, and we made these little gray houses of logs that you see, and they are square. It is a bad way to live, for there can be no power in a square.
You have noticed that everything an Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything tries to be round. In the old days when we were a strong and happy people, all our power came to us from the sacred hoop of the nation, and so long as the hoop was unbroken, the people flourished. The flowering tree was the living center of the hoop, and the circle of the four quarters nourished it. The east gave peace and light, the south gave warmth, the west gave rain, and the north with its cold and mighty wind gave strength and endurance. This knowledge came to us from the outer world with our religion. Everything the Power of the World does is done in a circle. The sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball, and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power, whirls. Birds make their nests in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours. The sun comes forth and goes down again in a circle. The moon does the same, and both are round. Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves. Our tepees were round like the nests of birds, and these were always set in a circle, the nations hoop, a nest of many nests, where the Great Spirit meant for us to hatch our children.
But the Wasichus have put us in these square boxes. Our power is gone and we are dying, for the power is not in us any more.
You can look at our boys and see how it is with us. When we were living by the power of the circle in the way we should, boys were men at 12 or 13 years of age. But now it takes them very much longer to mature.
Well, it is as it is. We are prisoners of war while we are waiting here. But there is another world."
11. Black Elk Speaks: Being the life story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux/ as told through John G. Neihardt, pp. 164-166

Though Black Elk was an Oglala Souix, his words speak
the feeling of most Native Americans toward the anglo
attitude towards the built environment. Perhaps more
poignant is the underlying concern that the Native American
find a place if possible in this new society which has
engulfed him. Indeed, it is "the strong concern of Native
Americans for the generations which are to follow, which
. 12
distinguishes them from their anglo neighbors."
Given the foregoing, how does one go about designing
built environment for one culture from another? Certainly
the answer is not to simply not build. Nor is it adequate
to take the Indian tradition surficially, and simply build
round hogan-like structures. I don't think the answers
found that way would meet with any greater success than have
BIA and HUD projects of the past on the reservation.
So then, it seems that a method of image abstracting is
crucial, finding what is the essence of the original
tradition, understanding its counter-part in white culture
or in anglo words, and then applying design knowledge to
that information or image, thus enabling a construct, albeit
non-physical in origin, to become physical form.
"The success of a built environment apparently depends upon the degree of consonance between that environment (the limitations of the project) and traditional cultural prescriptions and proscriptions. "
In this light, I suggest from an architectural point of
12. David Stea and Carol Buge, Fourth World Studies in Planning. FW#4, Cultural Impact Assessment on Native American Reservations: Two Case Studies (Los Angeles I University of California. School of Architecture and Planning. 197?1. p. 19
13. Edward K. Sadalla, Peter Z. Snyder, and David Stea, Socio-cultural modifications and user needs in Navajo housing, p. 1

view, that in order to abstract appropriate forms and images from a culture so obviously different from our own, a common language or understandable element must first be found.
Given that social forms (leadership, individuality, historic tradition, house and home), and world views (use of land, man's place in/within nature) are different, the remaining element could be the physical forms or materials used for the built environment forms that the nomadic Indians used.
An analysis and understanding of the origins of use and the meaning and structure of the materials could lead to an understanding of appropriate form and design.
To say that the nomadic image is no longer applicable to
current Native American thought, or is simply a romantic
holdover from the early western history of this country, is
to ignore the relatively short time that the American Indian
society has had to shift from a long historic tradition of
hunter-gatherers to modern automobile driving America.
There are still those among the Indian community who are at
most only one generation removed from living a free,
wandering life totally unencumbered by modern machines or
state and federal boundaries. At the most, the current
children are only three generations removed from that past
tradition. If one thinks on the affect one's own
grandparents and parents have had in our own belief and
value systems, it puts the Native American readjustment
picture into a different perspective. The overwhelming
changes that have occurred in our society and technology
have outpaced even some modern Americans who have grown up

alongside that very same change. Small wonder that the Native American, set apart socially and geographically on marginal reservation lands, has been less than wholly successful at the transition from horse and travois to jet aircraft in the span of one life time (80-90 years).
In his paper "Cultural Impact Assessment on Native
American Reservations", David Stea uses the notion of "core"
elements to a society, that form the essential cultural
matrix of a people. And as that society grows and matures
and changes from one time to another, the essential
elements, though challenged to change, are in the end, still
identifiable as essential, stable elements to that society.
As change becomes too rapid or is imposed from without, the
danger becomes social collapse due to catostrophic collapse
of the root elements.
"...the "core" notion can be related to questions of the magnitude and rate of changes affecting the culture, if we consider those aspects or elements of a culture most fundamental, most central to its continuity and maintenance, as core elements, and other elements as "peripheral" to a greater or lesser degree. Peripheral changes can be absorbed much more easily t^|n alterations to the essential core."
This implies a further need to identify basic values and
images of a culture prior to building physical structures
within it. Thus "...even when the physical possibilities
are numerous the actual choices may be severely limited by
. 15
the cultural matrix..."
14. David Stea and Carol Buge, Fourth World Studies in Planning. FW#4, Cultural Impact Assessment on Native American Reservations: Two Case Studies, p. 6
15. Amos Rapoport, House. From and Culture p. 47

But to limit the search to only elements of the past
does no justice to the present and its possibilities. It is
of great importance to integrate the past and its values and
beliefs that are not in conflict with modern society with
the present concerns, beliefs and practices of a society
which are emerging as cultural responses to today's
challenges and problems,
"to consider not just artifacts and sacred places of a society presumed to be dead, dying, or ossified, but instead to give full attention to the living society."
from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Plan
16. David Stea and Carol Buge, Fourth World Studies in Planning, FW#4, Cultural Impact Assessment on Native American Reservations: Two Case Studies, p. 17

In order to examine the nature of the materials and
methods of construction, it must be mentioned that the
notion of analyzing the Native American method of lodging
soley in objective, definable terms is not entirely
possible. In the nature of western civilization, it is
possible to separate physical matter from any spiritual
connotations, and thus analyze it soley as "it". The Native
American tradition, on the other hand does not so easily
distinguish between things of this world, and things of the
sacred realm. Theirs was an "I thou" relationship with
man as part of nature, and nature and its hidden meanings
part of human existence. Thus, from the patterns painted on
the exterior down to the manner in which the tipi poles were
to be wrapped, all held ritual if not sacred meaning. To
speak of the item removed from the traditions surrounding it
was not in their nature. To say their world was "organized
perceptually, not conceptually" falls short, for even in the practical daily observance of nature and their surroundings, all was infused with a connection, one thing to another, all interconnected; hardly a purely perceptual frame of reference- lest the temptation become too great to rationalize all function in form down to practicalities and pragmatic functionalism.
Conical shelters have been known in many parts of the
17. Anthony Anella, Between Sacred Mountains, an Architectural Thesis, (Denver | Colorado, Univ. of Colorado at Denver, 1986)

world, made of many things: bark, sod, grass, and skins, all supported on a multiple pole frame-work. Within historic times, people around the arctic circle, in Europe the Lapps, the Americanoid Yukaghir in Siberia, Indians throughout the Mackenzie Area of Canada, Eskimoes of the west Hudson Bay area, and in Labrador have all been known to use the conical lodge form for shelter. Common to all is the tapering form, a central hearth or fire, the eastern entrance and the place of honor opposite the door. Though all very similar in appearance to the Native American Indian tipi, they lack two elements common to the buffalo hunters' dwellings of North America. The tipi is not a true symmetric conical form, it is slightly tilted to the back, allowing a more efficient exhaust for smoke, and enable the top to be closed off during severe storms without stifling the internal fire. In addition to the more forward smoke hole, the tipi is distinguished by having exteriorly controlled variable smoke flaps which improve the draw, exhausting fumes from the shelter much more effectively.
Prior to the aquisition of horses out of Mexico in the early 18th century, the use of the tipi was limited in size and scope to the ability of the structure to be pulled from one locale to the next by large dogs. With the advent of the horse, much expanded mobility was available to the Indians. With the increase in their hunting range came the possibility to transport larger tents. Tipis began to be
18. Reginald and Gladys Laubin, The Indian Tipi, Its history, construction and use. (Norman: University of
Oklahoma Press, 2nd ed.,1977), p. 3

used for every type of dwelling, enabling smaller versions to even be used by hunting parties on extended trips.
Usual dimensions for a hunting or light traveling tipi was 12 feet in diameter, where as a standard family dwelling was between 18- 20 feet in rough diameter, and for a more permanent summer lodge being 23-30 feet in diameter. The tipi was an elongated oval or egg shape in plan, not truly circular, and the tip was offset to the back of the oval, leaving the "front" a long shallow slope. For the average lodge (18-20') the poles would be 21-25 feet long, while for the large lodge, poles of up to 40 feet in length were needed. The covering membrane for the tipi were tanned hides, preferably that of the bison, as it was stronger and heavier than deer or elk, and much larger in the area it would cover.
The use of the bison was one example of the merging of ritual and economy. Every part of the animal was used, down to the hooves and droppings (buffalo chips). To waste anything meant to be foolish with what the spirits had given to sustain the people. The hide was tanned, using the brains for curing the leather, the horns were utilized for utensils, the bones for awls and sewing needles, the hair for clothing and ornament, the sinue for thread and bowstrhings, the meat for daily food and jerky for extended storage, the chips for fuel, and even the paunch as a stew kettle; as many as 87 non food uses are known.
The interior of the tipi was kept as one room, not being
subdivided into smaller spaces. This not only kept the heat

distribution even, but served a social function as well.
Family and clan life were the basis for Indian life. Whole families would share the same tent and living space, just as they shared food, warmth and company. Family groups would live in close proximity to one another, with greater distances
separating non related groups within the same tribe. But
the in between spaces were not large. The idea of the hoop
of the nation is not only figurative, but literal, and very
sacred to the Indian way. The form of the village was of
one circle made up of the many small circles of individual
dwellings. Each tipi faced the East, the place of the day
break star, the place from which light and life come to the
world. And within each tipi was a sacred alter to the
spirit world which looked over them and made them strong,

sitting opposite the entrance to greet all who entered the
,.. see illus. dwelling.
The form of the tipi was undoubtably influenced by the weather, but to say that it was a purely pragmatic response to environment begs the issue of prior forms for similar circumstances; that is the dome shaped form of the wigwam and wickiup. None the less, the conical form of the tipi makes perfect use of the properties of heat, wind, and weather. The fire being central, any point on the perimeter was equally close to the warmth, with the smaller portion to the top to better hold the heat down low, close to the inhabitants. In facing the east, the early morning sun would enter the home and warm it at the time when the fire
had ebbed to its lowest.
. , 19
To erect the tipi, three poles are lashed together, being measured against the outer skin lain out on the ground. The tripod is raised and the poles set firmly into the ground, one to the south, one to the north, and one to the east for the doorway. For some tribes, four poles were used for the foundation, one to the south, one to the north, and one on each side of the doorway. The remaining poles are then lain one at a time into the crotches in a specific order. The tie down rope from the tripod is then taken in hand and four circles are wrapped around the tipi, walking "with the sun" (clockwise), one circle around the dwelling for each of the four sacred directions (also because four was the Indian lucky number). As the circles are made, the
19. Reginald and Gladys Laubin, The Indian Tipi, Its history, construction and use., ch. 4

rope is worked up the poles, and the wraps are tightened, securing the framework for the skin. The skin is then tied to a lifting pole, and raised up, the pole laying into the final pole space beside the south pole, resting snugly against the others. The skin is then rolled around from the back along both sides, and overlapped at the front (entrance). The front flaps are then secured together by stitching sticks, which pass through preset holes in each flap, working from the bottom of the smoke hole, down to the top of the entrance. The perimeter of the tent is then secured to the ground with stakes all around, and the tie down rope is secured within the tipi on a stake driven in the ground behind the fire pit.
Perhaps the most important element of the dwelling is
. 20 the interior lining (or dew cloth). The lining is a
5'- 6' wide cloth or skin which is run around the lower
portion of the inside perimeter by tying it to either the
poles directly, or by tying it to a rope which has been
previously tied at the appropriate height running from pole
to pole inside. The lining serves many purposes. It
insulates the interior by providing a still air space
between inside and outer skin. It also creates a natural
draw for the ventilating of the interior. As the fire warms
the air inside the tipi, the warm air moves out toward the
edges and rises. As it passes the top of the lining fabric,
a natural low pressure area develops between the warmer
interior air and the cooler (yet heated) air between the two
20. Reginald and Gladys Laubin, The Indian Tipi, Its history, construction and use., ch. 5

membranes. This low pressure area draws the cooler perimeter air upward with the warmer rising air, moving fresh exterior air into the insulating space, and exhausting the smoke and fumes from the fire, as well as ventilating the living area.
This most ingenious of devices serves a cultural purpose as well. The brave of the tipi would adorn the lining with colorful murals of his deeds, and of spiritual meanings important to the household. The art brightened the dwelling providing insight into the host for any visitor, while providing warmth for the family. The lining ultimately keeps the interior snug and dry from morning dampness, as it precipitates out the vapors in the morning air keeping the cool outside air from Indian and bedding. In storms, both rain and wind are held at bay by the cloth. In the rain it serves to channel the rain run-off from the poles to the outside of the tipi, and against the wind, it provides a wind tight perimeter seal, as it is tucked under furs, blankets, and bedding placed around the edge.
The tipi as pure form is lovely to view on the horizon, black silouette splaying against the sky. But as shelter, it is also beautiful in its function. The tipi is shelter stripped to its bare essence. There are no intervening walls to disrupt the central (people) space. There is no trickery in its truth to and use of materials. It is a perfect unity of structure, materials, and function (utility); no one can exist without the other two. For without the membrane, it

community/ family structure
undivided ----------- membrane
is merely a pile of sticks; without the poles, it is merely a sack; with intervening walls it serves no purpose socially nor culturally to the Indian way; with any additional material it becomes bulky and cumbersome to move and travel. Yet in its simplicity, it provides for all the human needs of shelter, warmth and home.
Though the culture and the form have gone through
massive affects from modern history, the things it stands
for in the culture remain true.
"With the destruction of the buffalo and the substitution of canvas for hides, the tipi remained much the same. But, since canvas will not hold when stakes are driven through it and will ravel out if cut into fringes, peg loops were introduced, and the pattern of the smoke flaps became trimmer and more

standardized. Also, the light weight of canvas, as compared with tanned hides, encouraged Indians to make larger tents-twenty, twenty-five, or even thirty feet in diameter."
The use of the tipi increased with the coming of the horse. Another case where a culture went through revolutionary changes due to a change in transportation system; the ability to move farther and faster, and carry more than before. For the Native American, this increased capacity affected his form of shelter much differently than our increase in mobility has affected our built and settlement forms. With the horse, the Indian was able to follow the buffalo herds, the source of his food and much spiritual life. In one hunting trip, a brave could supply weeks worth of food for his family and village, whereas before, many trips would end in failure and hardship by never even finding the herds. The shelter form turned to the ultimately mobile. The method of the form kept one in constant contact with and consciousness of nature and ones surroundings. Modern America has gone to the other extreme to where now one may arise in the morning, eat, wash, get in the car and drive to work; work the entire day, leave the building, and arrive back at home to eat and sleep, and never have to leave a controlled, conditioned man-made environment.
We live today close to Le Corbusier's city for one million, where the transportation form has determined the city form, and the building form. Buildings are fixed
21. Reginald and Gladys Laubin, The Indian Tipi. Its history, construction and use., p. 13

places to which we go, and will remain as places, regardless of our presence or absence. We even build buildings for our transportation, so much has it eaten the heart out of our settlement forms. There is now a place for every activity, special to that activity, with obsolescence planned and budgeted into the "expected life" (usefulness) of a building. As each building becomes more of a place in and of itself, more and more buildings are needed to house the various activities and functions that our society ravenously demands. We don't just exercise by strolling through the park, we build health spas and clubs in which we "do" our exercise, then we go to the building in which we eat, then we go to the building in which we dance or socialize, then we go home to the building where we eat, sleep, and bathe, etc. .
In traditional nomadic societies, (and often their modern offspring) people made a place what it was; defined its use and function by their presence there, and brought to a place its identity as a human space. For the Indians, a yearly rendezvous was just a grassy plain or meandering valley until the people arrived to make it the meeting place of races. The tipi, the built form, is just a circle of space until it is inhabited.
From Roger Barker and his associates comes a description
of settings as governing and demanding certain behavior for
each situation, and each being unique. "Each behavior
setting is associated with a "standing behavior pattern",
which is congruent with, and constrained by, the social and

spatial structures which constitute the setting." The nomadic lifestyle provides a new context for this sort of analysis, in that
"...the principal behavior settings for a nomadic group are not geographically fixed.
Settings are designated in terms of the presence of specific people, objects, and activities, rather than locale. The sedentarization process, with its consequent mobility changes, involves a shift to place-based behavior settings...In simpler language, how might the change from temporary to permanent space affect the behavior permitted in that space?"
As nomadic cultures have been forced to sedentarize, or more appropriately cease roaming, social strain has ensued, and the danger of cultural break, down follows. Not in the maudlin sense of "a world without the snail darter", nor out of quaint curiosity, nor guilt; but rather as one culture with so rich an understanding of the human condition and place within this earth; as one could be lost, so all cultures would be the less. Preservation for the sake of antiquities is a western notion. We needn't commit history to our minds, for we can always read a book about it or go see it in a museum; it's all on floppy disc. But a culture cannot be saved in a book or museum, to be thought upon at a later date. The life of a culture must be allowed to continue to grow and change to stay alive. But not change for change's sake as we are so prone to these days. There must remain a consistant core of tradition, from which to be able to guage change and directions for growth. Change with
22. Edward K. Sadalla and David Stea, NOMADS: Behavioral and Psychological Adjustments to Sedentarization. p. 196

no direction or purpose is at best chaos, and at worst cancer.
So to be able to reflect culture in built form, there needs to be an exploration into the traditions of that culture, and an attendant translation of ideas into the appropriate vernacular (understanding) of the designer, to enable the result to be for people and not simply about them. Currently we tend to let the materials dictate to us the range of possibilities, and more often than not it limits rather than expands those possibilities.
If one is to design a building which reflects the traditions (and people) of Native America, the building must be subservient to the people who use it. The building and its spaces should not dictate interior nor exterior behavior as much as they should offer opportunities for activity and function to go on there. When time is measured in moons rather than minutes, history and tradition are more important than any transitory creation.

They were known as the "Blue Sky People" by other tribes, and were the rulers of the "Shining Mountains". In times past, the Ute Indians inhabited almost all of Colorado, from the front range well into central Utah, and from the Green River in Wyoming southward across Colorado well into northern New Mexico. It is currently accepted that there were historically 7 bands of Utes: 4 northern bands the Tabeguache of the Gunnison and Uncompahgre Rivers, the Grand River band of the Colorado River country, the Uintah south of Salt Lake, and the White River Band from the Colorado River to north western Colorado; 3 southern bands- the Mouache of south central Colorado and northern New Mexico, the Capote of the San Luis Valley, and the Weeminuche band of the San Juan River valley and south eastern Utah and northern New Mexico. They were one of the first Native American tribes to aquire "magic dogs" (horses) from the Spanish settlements. They quickly became accomplished horsemen, and won the guarded respect of neighboring tribes. They were a reserved, quite people preferring the solitude of their rugged mountain home, and very protective of their domain against other tribes.
Chief Nevava of the Tabeguache (Uncompahgre) band took
part in the first treaty signed between the United States
and the Ute people. Before his death he was visited by
Ouray "the arrow" who argued that the Utes should make a new
treaty with the new government to protect the people.
Nevava refused to take part in a new treaty, "saying that
many tribes had learned that the white man's treaties were

worthless.1,1 In the end, Ouray persuaded the tribal council of his view, and was sent as the spokesman for the Utes to Santa Fe. Ouray spoke four languages, Ute, Apache, Spanish, and English. This fact, along with his oratory skills made him a convincing voice at the treaty table.
After Nevava's death, Ouray became the principal leader of the Tabeguache Utes. For most Native American tribes there was no tradition of a principal leader except in time of war. They saw no reason why one leader of a band should take presidence over leaders of all other bands. Nontheless Ouray was seen by the United States government as the "chief" of the Ute Indians. Although his career was and is controversial with some Utes, his ability to negotiate and argue won the Utes more in treaties than most other tribes recieved from the new government.
"In 1868, at the zenith of his power, Ouray succeeded in negotiating a treaty considered to be one of the most favorable ever won from the United States government by an Indian tribe. The treaty in effect barred all whites from entering the western slope of the Colorado Rockies and even dislodged many prospectors who were already there. Ouray won, almost singlehandedly, 12 years of additional feedom for his people, at a time when most tribes had reluctantly accepted reservation life. Ouray had no illusions about the capricious nature of the U.S. government. Once, to illustrate his frustration with the unreliable attitudes of the U.S. Congress, he told reporters, "Agreements the Indian makes with the government are like the agreement a buffalo makes with the hunter after it has been pierced by many arrows. All it can do is lie down and give in."
Leadership among the Indians of the United States was a
1. Charles S. Marsh, People of the Shining Mountains | The Utes of Colorado (Boulder | Colorado, Pruett Publishing Co., 1982), p. 57
2. Charles S. Marsh, People of the Shining Mountains | The Utes of Colorado, p. 64

concept the "democratic" government of the time (and still today) could not understand nor deal with. Much of the reason for this obscurity was a direct result of Indian society itself. There was no chieftian class. A leader would arise out of the tribal council only by popular support, and would remain as a leader only so long as he maintained the respect and following of the people. To romantic western writers and impatient government administrators this was niether romantic enough, nor efficient enough for practical matters (who should sign on the dotted line for everyone) thus our current image of a chief arose. But in fact, many of the popular "chieftan" names we remember, Geronimo of the Apaches, Captain Jack of the northern Utes, were war leaders, not chiefs, and had little influence on daily tribal affairs.
In 1863, a conference was held at Conejos to discuss
territorial boundaries to reduce friction between the
Indians and the ever increasing number of settlers. The
result was a definite territorial boundary, from the source
of the Uncompahgre River northwest to present day Grand
Junction, then up the Colorado River to Glenwood Springs and
south along the Roaring Fork River close to Aspen, then
south along the Sawatch Range to the Sangre de Christos, and
west to the Rio Grande. The treaty was broken at the first
annual payment. By 1868, the end of the civil war, and the
already populous San Luis Valley, necessitated
renegotiation. At this conference in Washington D.C. all
the Ute bands were represented. The result was a single

territorial allotment which included most of the western
third of Colorado. The eastern boundary ran north to south
from Steamboat Springs to Basalt, Crested Butte, Gunnison,
and over the San Juans to Pagosa Springs, and on to the
border of New Mexico; the west boundary being the Utah line.
This was to be soley Ute land, and no white man was to enter
it without Ute permission. To strong objection, the
agreement displaced the Weeminuche band whose home had been
traditionally in south eastern Utah. They were moved to the
vicinity of the Los Pinos agency; the majority, though not
all, of whom cooperated. "Chief Ouray insisted that the
Treaty of 1868 be made binding and "final forever," and the
government solemly agreed. Yet the terms of this important
agreement were honored by the government for only five 3
In August of 1873 a new council (the Brunot treaty) was called to deal with the issue of miners in the San Juan gold camps. Reluctantly and with much heated debate, the Indians were forced to cede the San Juans to the United States for "the purposes of mining only". The tribe maintained the right to hunt in the area. This amounted to about one fourth of the lands remaining to the Utes.
Events went from bad to worse with the antagonism of Governor Pitkin and the Denver Tribune's anti-Ute sentiments. The finishing blow came with the appointment of Nathan Meeker as director at the White River Indian Agency. Meeker had no love nor respect for the Indians, and had
3. Charles S. Marsh, People of the Shining Mountains | The Utes of Colorado, p. 65-69


written previously in news articles of the "mental inferiority of the American Indian". He wished to impress the Indians with the Christian work ethic, and the nessecity of civilizing ways (farming). He proceeded to move the agency (against the wishes of the Indians) four miles to the south. He then initiated a farming campaign, directing his employees (and any of the Indians that wanted to) to plow up the grassy horse pasture of a prominant Ute leader to plant corn. Meeker then proceeded to request federal troops for protection for agency employees. According to the previous treaty agreement, no troops were to be allowed on Ute land without prior consent of the Indians. This all precipitated panic news stories all over the state about the savage and dangerous Utes of Colorado, who were too few for the land alloted them anyway. Troopers were dispatched, and as they approached the Indian land, Ute scouts approached them to remind them of the treaty stipulations. As the calvary appoached, and the Indians proceeded toward them, a shot was fired. This started the Battle of Milk Creek, and spelled the end of Ute freedom in the domain of their shining mountains.
The following year, 1880, the Utes were finally and decisively removed to a reservation. Sentiment in the Colorado press had been demanding the banishment of the "savage Indians" from Colorado territory all together. All the northern bands were gathered and moved on a forced march into Utah, and resettled on a desolate section of the
previously drawn Uintah Reservation east of Salt Lake City.

The southern bands were moved north out of New Mexico to the Southern Ute Reservation in southwestern Colorado. All other Indian land was confiscated. Ouray did not accompany his northern band on their march into Utah due to illness.
He died on the Southern Ute Reservation near the present town of Ignacio, succeeded by Chief Sapiah for the Mouache and Capote bands, and Chief Ignacio of the Weeminuche band, the remaining Ute chiefs in Colorado.
For 15 years there was dissention over where the Utes belonged, until in 1895 in the Hunter Act, the Ute issue was settled, leaving the southern bands on the reservation in southwestern Colorado. The act also provided for individual family allotments of 160 acres to each family. Chief Ignacio and his Weeminuche band refused the allotment system fearing it would break up the traditional communal Indian society. Thus the legislation also provided for a separate reservation tract of land in the extreme western portion of the reservation for the Weeminuche (or Ute Mountain Utes) band to hold communally.
An agency was set up at Navajo Spring at the site of the
Indian school. Due to a lack of water in later years, the
school was moved to Ignacio on the Southern Ute Reservation.
The Ute Mountain Utes continued to live in the traditional
nomadic way, shifting north to south as the seasons changed,
living in family groups as before. In 1906, yet more land
was taken in a "land swap", in which the U.S. government
appropriated the site now Mesa Verde National Park from the
Ute Mountain Ute lands in exchange for land around the head

of Ute Mountain. Until as late as 1950, the Weeminuche lived nomadically, tending their cattle herds in the Mancos River Valley canyons. In the 1950's a court settlement suing for past inkind payments due the Indians from past treaties produced large sums for each family and the tribe. This increased wealth combined with the limited natural ecology of the canyon country influenced the forming of the town of Towaoc, 15 miles south of Cortez; the only town on the Weeminuche reservation. With the formation of the town, most of the tribe came and settled there, clustering their houses in family groups and giving up their roaming lifestyle. 4
It is significant that the Ute Mountain Utes have been able to continue living in a communal way, all land held by the group. The Ute language is still spoken in the home, english being spoken for the benefit of anglos who now work for the Indians in the various tribal departments, and the BIA which still has an office located in Towaoc. The Utes today are still a very private and reserved people, carrying on with life in a very relaxed Indian way.
Traditional Ute crafts were most notably their skillful hide tanning. Early on in their history, they traded fine skins for Spanish goods, and were noted for the fine texture and finish to their hides. They also were skilled at decorative beadwork. Moccasins, shirts, and many cerimonial articles were bedecked with colorful designs. The Utes were also known for their fine basketry, woven from fibrous
4. Personnal interviews at Towaoc, Colorado, Oct. 1986

Uic beaded moccasins. The flower designs were borrowed from the Iroquois and the French Canadian missionaries. Note the ceremonial pair with fully beaded soles.
Ute fringed, doeskin dress with the entire top beautifully beaded. The cross is a life svmbol of the winds.

plants. The designs were formed from interweaving dyed reeds in amongst the natural tan ones. The Utes
used a very simple color scheme, the traditional colors being white, red and black; white representing sun and light, the black representing night, and the red representing ground or the earth. The most notable of the baskets to tourists of the southwest are the shallow medicine baskets, although food storage and even tightly woven and sealed baskets were used for water. Traditional Ute designs were based predominantly on the triangle and combinations of that form. In their beadwork, beyond red, black and white, blue was also used with the sunset colors, warm and delightful.

Some traditional Ute designs
Among the more outward cultural activities today is the
spring Bear Dance; traditionally danced to awake the
sleeping bear in order to hasten the coming of spring and
warmth. The dance ground for the Bear Dance is formed by
freshly gathered pine sapplings which are tied and arranged
in a large circular arena, with only one entrance to the
circle which faces east. The singers who lead the dancing
with song sit opposite the entrance on the west side of the
enclosure. The singing keeps time with a form of drum and
rasp music. A small cave similar to a bear's den is dug out
of the earth at the west side of the arena; dug back under
the surface in the direction of the center of the arena. A
large skin drum with no bottom is placed on top of the
entrance hole of the cave. Wood rasps are then placed on
the top of the drum surface. As the singers chant the
traditional songs, they scrape the rasps, and the drum and
pit amplify the hollow, resonant sound throughout the arena
and all around the people; hoping to send the sound deep
into the earth to stir the slumbering bear back to life and

bring forth the spring. The dance is a beautifully simple one, with two facing lines of dancers, one men and one women, aligned on a north- south axis within the enclosure.
A task master polices the lines with a horse hair "whip", his job being to keep the lines straight and the dancers in order and step. The men start first taking two steps toward their opposite partner. Then the women follow by taking two steps forward, while the men retreat two steps. The lines gently sway back and forth while the singing guides their feet to ancient times.
Layout of the Bear Dance grounds

Other dances were common for the Utes, for as one man has told me, "Any time is a good time to dance." The celebration of life, of nature and their beautiful country, of the coming of spring and the finding of the buffalo; all things were sacred and brought much to the Indian.
The wickiup was a mud and thatch hut, made in either a
conical or a circular form. These were fairly permanent
structures, in that they were not moved in their entirety.
In the conical wickiup, the bark could be removed from the
pole assembly, and the poles could then be attached to the
dog packs and moved to the next campsite and reused. The
mud and thatch wickiup was more permanent, in that it was
not moved, and a new one had to be constructed at each new
campsite. These structures resembled a sod house in
appearance, only thatch and branches were its covering. The
difference between these two forms and the tipi are obvious;
in terms of mobility, economy of resources, independence of
current surroundings (forest or plain), and efficiency of
insulation (one by bulk, the other by layering). Another
form used by the Utes to this day is the shade house. Used
primarily as a summer shelter, it is an open framework of 4
poles supporting a sparse "roof" latticework. The
latticework is used to support cut boughs and branches which
are piled up on top to form the shade roof. These
structures are used as outdoor living spaces for the
majority of the day and for cooking and eating space;
escaping the entrapped heat of a closed shelter during the

sultry desert days of the southwest.
Various forms of shelter used by the Native American
The history of the Anasazi lays shrouded in mystery and
conjecture. Many books have been written on the subject,
some are included in the bibliography. Though my thesis
deals primarily with the Ute Mountain Ute people, some
function of the project is to relate to the Ute Tribal Park
and the artifacts and ruins there, so some mention should be
made of the Anasazi. The purpose here is not to investigate
the Anasazi beyond what is currently known, nor to give an
exhaustive account of the present knowledge. With this in
mind, the following is exerpted from the Ute Park's flyer,

giving a brief overview of the Anasazi and the Mancos Canyon area.
'The first of the Anasazi Indians migrated into Mancos canyon about 400 A.D.. They built their homes of sticks and mud plaster in caves and beneath sandstone overhangs. They hunted deer, mountain sheep, cougar and bear, and often snared mice, gophers, and rabbits for food. They made baskets, and today archaeoligists call them "Basketmakers."
Eventually, these people learned to grow crops, primarily corn and beans, and they moved to the mesa tops, building their homes in pits, closer to their fields. They began to make pottery, painted with elaborate designs.
By 700 A.D., they began building their homes on the mesa tops of wood and plaster, and then stone, adding several rooms to the old pit home.
Thousands of Anasazi lived on the mesas by 1100 A.D., and communities developed. Around 1200 A.D., many moved back into the caves and cliffs of their ancestors, constructing sometimes elaborate multi-roomed homes, housing a number of families.
Most of them left the area between 1276 and 1299, probably due to environmental pressures. Their soils were depleted, and a drought made survival difficult. They migrated south and east and lived with other Indians, probably the Hopi and Pueblo Indians of Arizona and New Mexico."
Their pottery and dwellings with their attendant buried artifacts, are the primary clues we have to their daily lives and culture. They left no written language, nor historic record other than their petrographs (pictures etched in rock). Their most familiar ceremonial form was the kiva. It is felt that this form evolved from the Siberian circular pit house, originally as the primary form of shelter. It was constructed by digging a pit out of the earth, then lining it with stones and forming a roof by laying logs across the top of the pit. This roof was then covered with thatch or sod or a combination of stick and mud. As the society developed, the structures began to be built above the surface, with stone, mortar and mud plaster.

With this reorganization of the basic city form, the subterrainian house took on a different meaning, becoming the form for the focus of spiritual activity and secret societies for both men and women. This probably gave them a direct connection to their past, keeping the society together through myth and built form. Then as they moved down off the mesa tops into the crevaces and hollows in the sandstone just below the rim of the rock canyon walls, the form of the kiva was brought with them as a cerimonial form, even though its practicality on the rock ledge is not self evident. Many internal layouts were used in the kivas, but certain elements were always present; the entrance from above, through a small opening in the roof, a central (communal) fire, a sipapo (spirit hole), a sleeping/ sitting ledge, and a single uninterrupted communal space, no interior partitions. Other additions to the arrangement such as a storage ledge and additional interior platforms were varied according to current needs for the Indian Society using the kiva.
Some internal kiva arrangements
Though the Anasazi inhabited their marvelous cliff

dwellings for only 80-100 years of their entire history, they are the most spectacular of their handiworks. This could be due to our ability to relate to their methods of construction, masonary being one of our common domestic construction techniques. Perhaps this is why we associate them with the Anasazi culture more than any other forms.
It has been noted by many that the Anasazi pottery designs give insight into their view of the Universe (more properly the world) and their place in it. The universe was seen as centering around the people. But in a much different light than modern society sees themselves at the center of their world. For the Anasazi and many Native American cultures the concept of stewardship for the land was abscent. The land was their steward. They were so much a part of the natural order that the nature spirits were the ones who guided the Indians lives, not men who determined and controlled nature. Modern society sees the natural realm as a supply market from which anyone may draw out supplies at any rate and in any amount they desire; nature exists to serve modern man. Nature existed for ancient man as the source of all life, without which not only would man die physically (from lack of nourishment), but also spiritually; nature not being a storehouse as much as the source for life.
"It is the story of all life that is holy and is good to tell, and of us two-legggeds sharing in it with the four-leggeds and the wings of the air and all green things; for these are children of one mother and their father is one Spirit."

For the Indian, a world devoid of all animals except man
would cause man to die of a great loneliness. The use of synthetics has removed modern society from nature to the point that many act as if man could servive independant of nature. By removing ourselves so far from the source of goods, we no longer appreciate the workings of the natural world; marvelling more at the assembly line than at the processes that shaped the raw metals used; concerned more with whether the celophane is intact more than with the chemicals used to raise the "food" within. Do carrots come from the dirt or the supermarket?
Within this egocentric view of the universe which the
prehistoric peoples held, man was not the glue of the world,
but only a part of the matrix. Within this view of nature
and the world, life was seen as comprising opposing forces;
niether necessarily good nor bad, just different, causing
the need for balance in the world. This was reflected in
early and current Indian pottery.
"In every case the painter began with neuter, deliberately created binary oppositions of which any pair had the potential for fragmenting the composition, and then brought all of these forces into balance until the picture was made self-contained. The balance was always a matter of linking each pair of oppositions to each other and of treating all pairs in parallel ways...(this all) contributed to the image of that universe whose substance was made up of the pairs of opposing forces."
This latter point of opposing forces giving strength and meaning to a composition (and indeed life) can be directly
5. Black Elk Speaks: Being the life story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux/ as told through John G.
Neihardt, p. 1
6. J.J. Brody, Mimbres Painted Pottery, (Albuquerque | University of New Mexico Press, 1977) p. 216

related to the design process and its resultant forms. As solutions are derived, tested and revised, it is an organic, interactive process whose ultimate aim is to achieve equipoise.
"Oppositional forces function as a unity, and they give meaning to each other... Oppositional processes are in an ever-changing and dynamic relation."
7. Altman and Chemers, Culture and Environment (Monterey | California, Brooks/Cole, 1980) p. 312

1. History.
The mesa country in the extreme southwestern corner of Colorado originally belonged to the Ute Tribe of Indians. The mesa and the surrounding canyon country was inhabited by roaming bands, primarily of the Mouache and Weeminuche bands. Within this dry and parched canyon land were the ruins now known as Mesa Verde. In addition to these ruins at Mesa Verde lie many more to the south, on the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation. Many square miles of canyons contain Anasazi ruins which are still held by the Utes as their Tribal Park. It is ancestral land for them.
The Indian Park lies to the east of Highway 666; stretching from the New Mexico border all the way north to the south boundary of Mesa Verde National Park. The Tribal Park wraps around the National Park to both the east and the west. Off the entrance road, back up a long, winding gravel road lie expanses of quiet desolate canyons, each one branching into more as the steep canyon cliffs hem them in and narrow them as they climb. Tucked neatly into the canyon walls, just beneath the cliff summits, hang the anceint empty dwellings, almost imperceptable even to the trained eye. The ruins have been left undisturbed, retaining their mystery and calm.
1. Information in this section comes from talks with Tribal Park personnel, National Park personnel in Denver (Mr. Mike Snyder), at Mesa Verde, publications of the National Park Service reguarding Mesa Verde National Park, and the General Management Plan of 1979 for the National Park.

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In this state of natural repose, however,the ruins are especially susceptible to rapid decay given any significant amount of pedestrian traffic through them.
To date, only specially guided tours have been allowed back into the canyons, and at that, it is an all-day affair to reach the ruins by the single dusty access road.
With the development of the National Park to the North of the Tribal Park, the remaining ruins have been kept in relative obscurity, due in large part to the wishes of the Ute people, out of reverence for the past. The last traditional chief, Chief Jack House lived back in the Mancos River Canyon in his hogan, tending his horses and cattle. When the Park was first opened to visitors some years ago, his hogan was burned to the ground in protest of the intrusion of outsiders into the Park ruins. In recent times, however, the Tribe is wanting to open up their Park for the general public to see and experience. The Ute Tribe is now interested in also expanding its interaction with the National Park.
To that end, they have this year begun allowing helicopter tours to leave from the Mesa Verde rim and fly south, back into the canyon country giving visitors a bird's eye view of the ancient sites on Tribal land.
In addition, a proposal is now being considered by the Tribal Council to set up an artisan village atop the mesa on Tribal land adjoining the National Park.
Site Location.

The mesa rim road in the National Park winds around
the precipitous canyon rim, offering visitors over-look
points from which to view the ruins from a distance.
The "loop road" as it is known, was first located along
the entire stretch of the rim, actually leaving the
National Park at the section line between sections 27
and 34, (T.34.N R.15.W N.M.P.M.) on its southern most
swing it entered onto Ute Tribal land, then swung north 2
again re-entering the Park. The road was resurveyed to avoid leaving the Park proper, still keeping the
overlooks from the road in the National Park, but loosing a most spectacular canyon vista of great expanse
off the soutern most point looking south down Soda Canyon
see illus. next page , . . ..
^ ^ An error was made in the new survey
and the loop road still leaves the National Park onto
Ute land for several hundred feet.
This site, encompassing approximately 25 acres, framed by the Park boundary on the north, and the cliff edge along the south, is the anticipated location for an artisan village, and Ute Museum/ Cultural Center. It is hoped to increase exposure of the treasures in the Tribal Park to the general public and to encourage public awareness of the Ute culture and crafts. It will open up a place for the sale of Native American wares for Park visitors, and hopefully engage them in seeing traditional Indian ways and crafts demonstrated.
2. See maps next pages.
3. See illustration and view next page.
MC-4 3

The opportunities for the design to not only relate to the National Park and the arid, precipitous canyons, but to also connect with a sense of the past are myriad and offer much to the complexity of the design solution. Keeping a sense of the sacred for the Utes as well as integrating the design into the modern economic setting of the mesa top is a great challenge. This latter point is especially important in light of the delicate status of the tribal ruins as they exist today.
3. Geology.
Mesa Verde lies within the Colorado Plateau. It is an erosional remnant rising up to 2000 feet above the Dolores Plateau. The surface slopes are influenced by the tilt of the resistant sandstone beneath the surface. The mesa drops off sharply into the Mancos River Valley. The Mesa Verde group consists of the Point Lookout sandstone, the cliff capping rim of the Mesa Verde; the Menefee formation, of lense shaped sandstone beds interbedded with siltstone, shale and low grade coal, forming the steep talus slopes of the lower canyon walls; and the Cliff House sandstone, the youngest member forming the massive cliffs. Underlaying the Point Lookout sandstone is the Mancos Shale, and under it the Dakota Sandstone.
4. Soils.
The soils formed from the Mancos Shale represent
high srink/ swell potential, adversely affecting
foundations and surface roads during periods of high

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moisture; the reason being a high water absorbtive capacity in the soil matrix. That is, as clay particles have a large capacity to absorb moisture, thus swelling them, the higher the percentage of clay particles in a soil mixture, the greater the swelling capacity. Any increase in the moisture level of these soils will activate this process, therefore care must be taken to reinforce foundation walls and give an adequate base to any road beds. Septic leach fields in these areas require a larger area, and the trenches need special engineering. Near the cliff edges, sluffing of the top soil could occur if slopes dipping toward the canyon are undercut too steeply.
"...within certain areas there are soil and associated land features that will present serious engineering, economic, and environmental problems if major construction of any type disturbs or changes the present delicate balance of the natural land conditions."
5. Hydrology/Climate.
Deep gullies in the area indicate the potential for high run-off. These gullies are in a state of equilibrium. Any surface development which would increase the normal runoff will cause severe gully erosion, due to the high erodability of the soil. Development should be kept out of natural drainage ways and stabalized against soil swelling and possible frost heaving.
The Mancos River is the only perennial stream that drains the Mesa Verde, though its flow is all but
4. National Park Service publication, soils study for the Wetherill Mesa Road feasibility, p. 22

eliminated by the Mancos Water Project, except in times of spring flooding and flash flooding thunderstorms.
The subsidiary canyons are dry on the surface except during spring thaw and after thundershowers.
"Mesa Verde climate has been classified as a cold, middle-latitude, semi-arid climate. Though it lies in an area of dry climate, Mesa Verde is got as dry as the surrounding valleys and plateaus."
This is due in part to the height of the mesa towering above the surrounding landscape. As storms move in from the northwest, they are lifted rapidly by the north escarpment.6
This rapid uplift precipitates the moisture out of the clouds, giving the north escarpment the brunt of the storm strenght. January, February and March are the heaviest months of snowfall. July is the hottest month (mean temperature of 72 deg. F), but the heat is tempered by common afternoon cloud bursts. During the late summer months, the pattern is for cool mornings, warming to cloudless skies, and by afternoon cloud cover
5. from a National Park Service study for Mesa Verde National Park, p. 28
6. See illustrations next page.

Mean Maximum Temperature (Deg. F) Mean Minimum Temperature (Deg. F) TTean Mean Monthly Monthly Precipitation Snowfall (in.) (in.)
January 40 18 1.68 19.4
February 45 22 1.82 17.6
March 50 26 1.74 13.6
April El 34 1.37 4.5
May 71 43 .98 .4
June 83 52 .67 trace
July 88 57 1.76 0
August 85 56 2.16 0
September 78 49 1.69 .2
October 66 39 1.63 .9
November 51 28 1.03 5.5
December 42 21 1.62 16.0
TOTAL 18.15 78.1
307 j 4QQ15 DSC | DEC 75

with intense localized thunderstorms, causing some flash flooding.
The Anasazi well understood the demands of this arid, sunny climate. Their cliffdwellings well illustrate this; oriented to catch the winter sun's warmth within their homes, and yet tucked far enough back into the cliffside as to afford cool shade during the harsh direct heat of the summer days. Indeed, one can walk the canyon sides in mid day and be extremely hot, yet by stepping underneath the cliff rim with the mud and brick dwellings, a constant cooling breeze can be felt immediately. The effect of this natural breeze way is dramatic, and the masonary construction of the dwellings supplement the natural conditions ideally; storing warmth in the winter, releasing it slowly thoughout the night, and absorbing and dissapating internal summer heat.
The thunderstorms of summer and their attendant
lightening shows are a real danger for wildfire in the
Park. Fires are frequent in the National Park, "ranging
from 0 in several years to 36 in 1972." There tend to
be two main storm tracks across the Park. The
previously mentioned northwestern in origin, drops most
of its energy along the north escarpment. The second
track comes in from the southwest expending its energy
on the western and southern facing mesas (Wetherill,
Moccasin and Chapin Mesas). The majority of the fires

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in the Park are by far caused by lightening strikes, indicating the real need for fire protection in any development. Exposed rims would be high lightening attraction areas for any protrusions above the surrounding vegetation.
7. Vegetation.
The vegetation of the mesa is typical of the transition zone encountered in the high, arid plateau country of the Southwest. The southern and lower portion supports mature pinyon pine/ Utah juniper forest cover interspersed with sagebrush, broad-leaf yucca and bitter-brush. This complex covers about half the Park lands. This condition is true also for the site. The lower valley bottom and isolated pockets in the draws support small stands of Douglas-fir and occasional aspen.
8. Wildlife.
Besides the usual small rodent and bird
populations, there are numerous big game animals,
. . 7
predominantly deer, in the Park.
A natural winter/summer range exist here, with
occasional migrating elk herds which pass through the
Park from the La Plata mountains to the northeast.
During harsh winters, the deer too move out of the Park
down into the more sheltered canyons. Big horn sheep
have been in the Park in the past and after disappearing
some years ago have been reintroduced. Their common
7. See migration map, next page.

range is along the less hospitable cliff edges to the south of the Park. Mountain lion and coyote have also been identified in the Park, with the black bear being a transient species like the elk.
The golden eagle has been reported, but is considered a transient species as well, as is the bald eagle. Two species of falcon have been sighted at the Park: the peregrine falcon (endangered) and the prairie falcon (threatened).
9. Minerals.
Coal beds are found in the Menefee formation of the canyons west and south of Mesa Verde, some inactive mine sights existing outside the Park. No significant mineral or energy resources have been identified in the Park.
10. Infrastucture.
Electric power is currently available as far south as the main visitors center on Chapin Mesa. Any need for power to the south would necessitate the extension of lines to the service point. The additional capacity could be handled given the installation by Empire Electric of an additional transformer at the main station on the mesa. Any extension of lines would need to be sub-surface, probably following the route of the road to avoid the need for additional cultural resource inventory for a new route.
The current septic system is handled on a site
specific basis for the comfort stations out from the

main complex at the visitor center.
Road access is maintained through out the Park year round with the exception of the Wetherill Mesa bus tours which are currently only run during the summer months, and the south loop road, which is only open to crosscountry skiing in winter months. The vacated south loop road is in disrepair, but the base is still intact and could be resurfaced.
The current potable water supply is served from a
two million gallon tank located at Navajo Hill (roughly
one mile north of Park Headquarters on Chapin Mesa)
served by the entrance pump station from the West Mancos
Water Supply System. This is supplemented with two
additional interum storage (on demand) tanks of 300,000
gallons each. In addition, all the gravity and
catchment supply tanks bring the total water capability
of the National Park to over 3-3/4 million gallons of
potable water. In talks with the Park's water
department, the only limiting factor to increased (or
rather extended service) is the pressure head at the end
of the lines now. The existing system is supplied with
3" pipe out of Park Headquarters to two comfort
stations, one on Wetherill Mesa, and the other at Cliff
Palace. The pressure at these points drops to nothing
when water is needed at the helipad for fire tank
filling. The Park plans to extend the system to reach
as far south as Balcony House for a comfort station.
This will necessitate the replacement of the current 3"

galvanized pipe with 6" throughout the system south of the Headquarters. Given this upgrade for increased pressure, the water supply for additional development is
believed to exist.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION 1. National Park Plan.
Mesa Verde National Park was set up to preserve the
cultural heritage left us by the Anasazi Indians of
southwestern Colorado and to safeguard the natural and
scientific resources therein. A second purpose of the
Park is to provide the public opportunities to use the
Park and learn of the ways of life of a people long
past; to experience as closely as possible their
lifestyle. The most essential element to successful
achievement of these goals is in the interpretive
programs the Park staff offer. In concert with this, is
also the need to spread out the visitor load at any
given point at any given time to enhance the visitor
experience in relating to the solitude of a people and
their world in prehistoric times.
"The best way of attaining this empathy with the Anasazi is by spending time in the ruins- listening in a quiet, uncrowded atmosphere to stories of the people in concert with the wind, the ravens, or the sound of rain, feeling the warmth of the sun, and the cold of the night."
Yearly increases in tourist load have been greatly imposing upon the practicality and ability of the Park
8. See water map next page.
9. from the General Management Plan. Mesa Verde National Park, May 1979, p. 3

staff and facilities to offer the best possible visitor experience. Facilities as well as staff are limited, and the stabalized ruins now in the tour system are over-loaded during peak visitation. (see chart)
During an average visit, a self-guided tour through a ruin, taking in the exhibits offered at the museum, and one and one-half hours of driving the ruin roads comprises most visitor experiences. According to the Park's General Management Plan, opportunities for more intimate involvement by the visitor with the Mesa Verde is desireable and needed. "If such opportunities were provided, additional facilities, programs, and staffing would be required to ensure a good visitor/ ranger ratio throughout the Park." As options offered in the plan, several things were considered; extending the operating season, extending daily hours, opening more cliff dwellings to the public, and providing additional guided tours. The most popular spots in the Park are the Chapin Mesa Museum and the ruins, especially Cliff Palace on Chapin Mesa. A minitrain tram has been suggested to physically limit the number of persons entering the park on a given day; though private vehicles would still be allowed. It is hoped that the convenience of a tramway would help smooth out the visitor load over the day, while providing ease of access to visitors.
At present, night facilities are provided and
allowed only as far as the Far View visitor center and


lodge. The loop road is closed at dusk to all access, both foot and vehicle at the Headquarters junction. The Wetherill Mesa road is closed currently to all vehicular traffic other than the bus tours provided by the Park Service. This would seem to limit any night time activity on the site, unless security arrangements could be made with the National Park.
Facility on the Loop Road.
The location of a visitor facility on the Ute land adjoining the National Park at the southern tip of the loop road would seem to aid the National Park in attaining their project goals. A facility providing additional information and exhibits of Anasazi artifacts, and the possibility of opening up tours down off the mesa into the Tribal Park ruins, many in their primitive state, could supplement the current number of "open" dwellings, and provide those who wish, a more primitive experience of the ancient ones and their environment and surroundings.
The facility or complex should be tempered in character to blend in well with the other activities currently on the Mesa. The complex could involve several ventures, all coordinated by the design of the building(s) and the arrangement on the site. Included in these anticipated activities could be an artesian village in which not only the sale of Native American Crafts local to the area could be sold, but which would engage and involve the spectator as the traditional

crafts are developed on site. Other interactive functions could take place, such as a self guided museum and display of the many Anasazi artifacts excavated from the Tribal Park, displays on past as well as current Ute culture, and more structured activities including films on the Tribal ruins, daily presentations of crafts more detailed than in the artisan shops, dance performances by Native American groups, and talks on Ute history and the people today. Ties could also be made to other future plans including horse pack trail rides into the Tribal Park, a system of interpretive nature trails, and outdoor rest stops and picnic overlooks.
These are just a sampling of the possibilities for the Ute extension of the Mesa Verde experience. The opportunities for the design to not only relate to the National Park and the arid, precipitous canyons, but to also connect with a sense of the past are myriad and offer much to the complexity of the design solution. Keeping a sense of the sacred for the Utes as well as integrating the design into the modern economic setting of the mesa top is a great challenge. This latter point is especially important in light of the delicate status of the tribal ruins as they exist today.

A. Museum Spaces
1. Anasazi
a. Anasazi relation to nature exhibits
2. Ute
3. Southwest region
4. Display Support Areas
B. Heli Tour Waiting/ Ticket Sales
C. Artisan Village
1. programs
2. crafts
3. food facility stall
D. Theatre/ Auditorium/ Amphitheatre
E. Food Facilities
1. restaurant
2. snack bar
3. picnic stop
F. Restroom Facilities
G. Emergency Facilities
1. first aid/ medical
2. fire protection
a. structural fire
b. wildfire
3. law enforcement
4. security
a. park
b. displays
c. building/ complex
H. Tribal Park Tours
1. ticket sales/ waiting
2. educational show
3. park information sales/ handouts
I. Child Rest Stop
1. activities
2. hands-on displays
J. Nature Trails
1. maps
2. explanations
3. tours
K. Outdoor Activity Areas
1. content
2. arrangement to the complex
L. Future Tie to Horseback Riding Trails

Program Summary by Space
Functional Space_______________________
Artisan Village programs beadwork
costume/ traditional dress
leather tanning
Auditorium/ Amphiteatre
stage/ performance area
Child Rest Stop Indoor Outdoor
Emergency Facilities First Aid/ Medical Fire Protection Vehicles Staff Offices Storage/Lockers
Food Facilities
Short Order Counter Deliveries Snack Counter Outdoor Picnic Stop
Heli-tour waiting
Heli-tour ticket sales
Law Enforcement Detainment
Offices (security, law enforcement)
Lecture/Meeting Room
Public Restroom

Program Summary by Space
Functional Space so.feet
Museum Spaces Conference Deliveries/ Receiving Exhibit 285 600 3690
Displays Storage Preparation Lobby/ Reception Mechanical Public Restrooms Public Sales and Storage Supervisor office 1370 350 540 300 200
Nature Trails maps/ explanations 45
Outdoor Activities Public Restrooms Childrens rest stop Picnic stop 64
Tribal Park Tours waiting Information and sales Educational Display Tour Guides Offices Showers and Lockers 75 85 45 120 250
Subtotal 7809
TOTAL 15.009

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