History Colorado’s Ute Indian Museum is happy to announce the grand opening of its new Naturescape Playground on June 10, 2023. Inspired by the living history of the three Ute Tribes, the Naturescape Playground is an innovative avenue for recreation, entertainment, and education that instills respect for the natural environment, outdoor stewardship and a deeper understanding of the rich culture of the Ute people.
In addition to being the first public play structure on the south side of the City of Montrose, the Naturescape playground will increase community vitality by providing greater understanding of the historical complexity of the community, and engaging multi-generational groups in outdoor museum play and learning experiences.
The Naturescape Playground will join the other outdoor offerings at the Ute Indian Museum such as the Ute Ethnobotany Garden – which features plants that Ute people use for nutritional, medicinal, and practical purposes – and the final resting place and memorial to Chipeta, the wife of Ute Chief Ouray.
In conjunction with the opening of the naturescape, The Ute Indian Museum is hosting its third annual Community Appreciation Celebration on June 10, 2023, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
This celebration is an opportunity to thank the community for its many contributions and ongoing support of the museum. This event includes free museum admission, sales in the gift shop, a silent auction, Hands-on education activities, and a slate of incredible performances from Indigenous partners.
An exhibition of work by Gregg Deal (Pyramid Lake Paiute) a provocative contemporary artist who challenges Western Perceptions of Indigenous people, touching on issues of race, history, and stereotypes
Native American Hoop Dance presentations where visitors can learn about this cultural tradition’s deep roots in the Southwest and in its original form as a healing ceremony
A flute playing and storytelling session by Ute Eldar Norman Lopez (Ute Mountain Ute)
A “Next Generation” Kids Dance performance by the Ute Mountain Ute tribe
Screening of Bear Dance Then and Now with a Q and A with Regina Lopez Whiteskunk (Ute Mountain Ute) who is featured in the film
Living History presentations throughout the day on the everyday life of the tribes of the Great Plains by Clint Rides His Horse (Mohawk and Cheyenne).
In addition to these performances there will also be a number of booths and activities presented by community partners throughout the day such as:
Various Native American Arts and Crafts vendors
Hand painting on canvas to promote awareness of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women epidemic
Native American Fry Bread for sale
A dog petting booth from the Montrose animal shelter presented in conjunction with an exhibition on dog use before the introduction of horses
Free water from the Montrose Lions Club
Kids Bounce House
And a book van from the Montrose Regional Library District
About Ute Indian Museum
The Ute Indian Museum is nestled in the heart of Uncompahgre Ute territory, and the museum grounds include Chief Ouray Memorial Park, the grave where Chipeta was buried after her death in 1924, and a native plants garden. The Ute Indian Museum is a Community Museum of History Colorado.
The museum is located at 17253 Chipeta Road, Montrose and is open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Visit UteIndianMuseum.org or call 970-249-3098 for more information.
The information in this article is from a Ute Indian Museum press release.