Southern Ute Indian Tribe

Ute Creation Story

The Utes do not have a migration story. The Utes have always lived here in the mountains. This is the Ute Creation Story as told by Alden Naranjo, a revered Southern Ute Elder and a member of the Mouache and Caputa bands.

Ute Creation Story, as told by Alden Naranjo in Ute Indians Art and Culture, from Prehistory to the new Millennium, Edited by William Wroth. Published by the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Copyright 2000


In the ancient times only Sinawav, the Creator and Coyote lived on the earth. They had come out of the light so long ago, that no one remembered when or how. The Earth was young and the time had come to increase the people. Sinawav gave a bag of sticks to Coyote and said “Carry these over the far hills to the valleys beyond.” He gave specific directions Coyote was to follow and told him what to do when he got there. “You must remember, this is a great responsibility. The bag must not be opened under any circumstances until you reach the sacred grounds.”

“What is this I carry?” asked Coyote

“I will say no more. Now be about your task” Sinawav answered.

Coyote was young and foolish, consumed with curiosity. “What is this I carry?” he kept asking himself.

As soon as he was over the first hill and out of sight, he stopped. He was just going to peek in the bag. “That could hurt nothing.” He thought. Just as he untied the bag and opened a small slit they rushed for the opening. They were people. These people yelled and hollered in strange languages of all kinds. He tried to catch them and get them back into the bag. But they ran away in all different directions. From how full the bag was after he had gotten it closed he could tell there was only a fraction of the what he had started out with. He went to the sacred valley and dumped them out there. There was a small number of these people. But those few ones were the Utes, the real Utes from around here.

Coyote then returned and told Sinawav that he had completed the task. Sinawav searched Coyote’s face. “I know,” Sinawav sighed. “You foolish thing, you do not know what a fearful thing you have done.”

Coyote finally confessed. “I tried to catch them. I was frightened. They spoke in strange tongues that I could not understand.”

“Those you let escape will forever war with the chosen ones, They will be the tribes which will always be a thorn in the sides of the Utes,” said Sinawav.

“The Utes, even though they are few in number, will be the mightiest and most valiant of heart.”

Sinawav then cursed the Coyote “You are an irresponsible meddler. From this time on you are doomed to wander this earth on all fours forever as a night crawler.”